|Perceived by many as the vehicle used by ex-DEEP PURPLE guitarist RITCHIE BLACKMORE to enhance his own solo standing RAINBOW nevertheless produced some exceptional hard rock albums throughout its tumultuous career. With an ever fluid line up Blackmore remained the lynchpin throughout it all and established RAINBOW as one of the major Rock bands of its time.
Always a volatile relationship Blackmore and DEEP PURPLE had almost parted ways in 1972. The guitarist set up a band project titled BABY FACE projected to include THIN LIZZY bassist PHIL LYNOTT, former FREE vocalist PAUL RODGERS and DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice. BABY FACE never got beyond a few jam sessions and both Lynott and Blackmore persevered with their own bands.
Blackmore finally split from DEEP PURPLE seemingly in disgust at the new funkier direction of the 'Stormbringer' album and the rest of the band's refusal to record the QUATERMASS track 'Black Sheep Of The Family'. Previously the guitarist had worked with one of DEEP PURPLE's support bands ELF, whose first album had been produced by ROGER GLOVER and Ian Paice, and with this band he cut his first solo album 'Richie Blackmore's Rainbow' in 1975...
RAINBOW went into the studio in early 1976 to record their second album before heading out on more American dates running from May until August before finally hitting Europe. The European tour coincided with the release of what many regard as the finest RAINBOW recording 'Rainbow Rising' featuring the classic Dio tour de force 'Stargazer'. The British tour completely sold out and RAINBOW rounded off the year with their first Japanese dates.
Quick to capitalize on this initial success the rather lukewarm live album 'Rainbow On Stage' was released. The line up was soon in disarray as after a world tour Bain was unceremoniously fired, he went on to form the ill fated WILD HORSES, whilst Carey was also given his marching orders only to be reprieved for six months.
Bain's place was filled by ex-URIAH HEEP, TEMPEST and COLOSSEUM bassist Mark Clarke but, after 1977 recording sessions in France, Blackmore scrapped both the tapes and gave the boot to Clarke and finally Carey. The recordings were resumed with former WIDOWMAKER bassist Bob Daisley. The position of keyboard player was auditioned by ex-CURVED AIR and ROXY MUSIC man Eddie Jobson, Mark Stein of VANILLA FUDGE and PROCUL HARUM's Matthew Fisher. However, it was a relative unknown, former SYMPHONIC SLAM man David Stone, who eventually stepped in.
Before the release of the third album RAINBOW once more performed another sell out UK tour and completed the world tour in Japan during February 1978. 'Long Live Rock n' Roll' presented a much cleaner sound and heralded the beginning of RAINBOW's concentrated assault on the American market. Ditching the infamous rainbow prop the band spent many months slogging across the States. Following the tour Stone and Daisley were asked to leave and rumours abounded that Dio was next on the list.
In January 1979 Dio finally announced he was quitting. After attempts form up a solo band in Connecticut the singer later relocated to Los Angeles to head up BLACK SABBATH, his entry into that British institution marking a renaissance for the band. Meantime Bob Daisley became involved in another thread of the BLACK SABBATH tapestry, helping form up OZZY OSBOURNE's first 'Blizzard Of Ozz' band for a brace of landmark albums. He would subsequently go on to join URIAH HEEP, the GARY MOORE band and BLACK SABBATH...
GRAHAM BONNET was to pack his bags (and infamous beach shirts) toward the end of 1980. The singer would put out the commercially successful solo record 'Line Up' in 1981 before pursuing an erratic path through the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and then founding ALCATRAZZ in Los Angeles with the Blackmore worshipping Swede YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and former personnel from NEW ENGLAND for the 'No Parole From Rock n' Roll' outing.
By the time of 1981's 'Difficult To Cure' album, recorded in Sweden, was on the streets RAINBOW had another American member. New Jersey born frontman JOE LYNN TURNER had previous experience cutting four albums with RCA act FANDANGO. Bonnet's official parting shot was the inclusion of two live RAINBOW tracks on the 'Monsters Of Rock' album of the event, but in actual fact the former singer had laid down vocals for the next album, subsequently re-recorded by Turner. RAINBOW once more got to grips with North America touring on a bill with the PAT TRAVERS BAND beginning in March before touring Britain, then Japan. During the Japanese dates Airey announced he was leaving and was quickly replaced by ex-MORNING THUNDER and BOSTON man David Rosenthal who debuted on 'Straight Between The Eyes'. Despite success in Europe and Japan RAINBOW were still finding the going tough in America...
With tensions beginning to show in the DEEP PURPLE camp, bizarrely Blackmore was linked to the reformation of WHITESNAKE in 1994, but rumours of a RAINBOW reformation continued unabated. Blackmore finally walked out on DEEP PURPLE prior to some Japanese dates, being swiftly replaced by JOE SATRIANI then STEVE MORSE. In late 1994 Blackmore was rehearsing as a solo artist in Connecticut with ex-LA PAZ, SOLE ASYLUM, PRAYING MANTIS and MIDNIGHT BLUE vocalist Doogie White. The singer had first come to Blackmore's attention when the ambitious Scotsman had dropped off a tape with DEEP PURPLE's tour manager at Blackmore's last London gig with his old troupe.
Also involved in these formative steps was VIRGIN STEELE and RONDINELLI bassist Rob DeMartino. This inevitably culminated in a RAINBOW reformation with the addition of ex-ALICE COOPER and BLUE OYSTER CULT bassist Greg Smith, keyboard player Paul Morris and drummer John O'Reilly.
Before long O'Reilly had jumped to BLUE OYSTER CULT and ex-RAINBOW drummer Chuck Burgi, who had been replaced by O'Reilly in BLUE OYSTER CULT, joined the fold. Eventually Burgi returned to BLUE OYSTER CULT and O'Reilly was back in position for RAINBOW. This bizarre scenario of swapping drummers between the two acts did not end there as Burgi's place in BLUE OYSTER CULT was taken shortly after by Bobby Rondinelli- ex RAINBOW!...