The lineup on the first record consisted of Ritchie Blackmore on guitars, Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Craig Gruber on bass, Micky Lee Soule on keyboards and Gary Driscoll on drums. However the entire band was fired by Blackmore with the exception of Ronnie James Dio after the first album was released. It would become a common occurrence throughout the band’s career as Ritchie Blackmore changed lineups consistently.
Over the years Rainbow released eight studio albums. Seven of the eight studio albums were released between 1975 and 1983 in a consistent pattern. The eighth Rainbow album was released in 1995 entitled Stranger In Us All. It would be the last Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow album ever released. The band has also released nineteen live albums with most of them being issued in the 2000s. Of course there are also the multiple compilation releases.
Our Top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs takes a look at some of the best material the band released during their magnificent run in the 1970s and 1980s.
# 10 – Man On The Silver Mountain
What better way to start out our top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs list than with the opening track from the band’s debut album. “Man On The Silver Mountain,” was released in 1975. The song was released as a single but it failed to chart. No matter, it’s a great piece of rock and roll history. The song was written by Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio.
# 9 – Power
I always liked the version of Rainbow that featured Joe Lynn Turner on lead vocals. The great song “Power,” was released on the album Straight Between the Eyes. The album was released in 1982. The lineup on the album consisted of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Roger Glover on bass, Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, David Rosenthal on keys and Bobby Rondinelli on drums.
# 8 – Jealous Lover
The great Rainbow song “Jealous Lover,” was released on a four track, 12″ EP in 1981. It was a very popular song when it was first released but has since faded from the spotlight like many of the other Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow vocals have. Just listen to that great guitar lick and tell us you don’t think this is one of their best.
# 7 – Starstruck
The Rainbow Rising album is so good, it was very difficult not to fill this entire top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs list with all the tracks from that fabulous album. The lineup on Rainbow Rising featured Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Jimmy Bain on bass, Tony Carey on keyboards and the legendary Cozy Powell on drums.
# 6 – Since You Been Gone
Continuing with our Top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs list we turn to the band’s big commercial hit “Since You Been Gone.” The song was released on the Down To Earth LP. The album was released in 1979. It was the only Rainbow studio album to feature lead vocalist Graham Bonnet. Subsequent live albums released by the band did also feature Bonnet from his touring days behind the Down To Earth album.
# 5 – Catch The Rainbow
The great song “Catch The Rainbow,” was released on the band’s debut album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The album was released in 1975. At over six minutes, the song had the longest running time of any song on the record. “Catch The Rainbow,” closed out side one of the album. It is by far one of the most loved songs of Rainbow fans. Ronnie James Dio performed one of his most legendary vocals on this one
# 4 – Kill The King
Two of the four top songs on this top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs list hail from the great Long Live Rock n’ Roll album. The incredible record was released in April of 1978. The album would be the last record to feature lead singer Ronnie James Dio. “Kill The King,” was the opening track on side two. The song was written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell.
# 3 – Gates Of Babylon
“Gates of Babylon,” was another great track from the Long Live Rock n’ Roll album. The Long Live Rock n’ Roll album featured Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Bob Daisley who would also work with Ozzy Osbourne played bass on the album. Tony Carey and David Stone shared keyboard duties on the record. Stone played on “Gates Of Babylon.” Rounding out the record was the great Cozy Powell on drums.
# 2 – Stargazer
“Stargazer,” is easily one of the all time great Rainbow Songs. The song was released on the Rainbow Rising album. “Stargazer,” is probably the most epic piece of music released by Rainbow. It featured a marvelous orchestration of strings performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra with Rainer Pietsch conducting. Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar solo is to die for in this one. It is also Cozy Powell’s shining moment in the band as he performed a masterful drum solo at the start of the piece and then laid down one of his most raucous grooves throughout the rest of the song. Just listen to his opening fills, spectacular!
# 1 – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
It was really tough to choose a Rainbow song to place in our number one position because there are so many great ones. We picked “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” because of the songs’ wonderful anthem sung by Ronnie James Dio with such passion. The brilliant guitar solo by Blackmore halfway through the piece cemented this one for us. While “Stargazer,” may stand as their greatest musical achievement, “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” represented their overall sound the best, as just a great rock and roll band defined by musicians who were the best at their instruments. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was the title track to their legendary 1978 album Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. The song was also the album’s opening cut.
Updated Dec 2, 2020
Top 10 Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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