Music Masters from the 70’s: Rainbow

Although my definition of classic rock may differ from yours, I think you’ll agree that the band in this segment is worth a listen. From your local library to the cyber-centric Wikipedia, you can read about dozens of platinum-selling bands all worthy of their legendary status. You can also hear their music on the airwaves or the magic of digital media. I think that’s great. I also think it’s enriching to explore some of the less well known music masters. The ones often lost in the noise, figuratively speaking.

Looking back, of all the live acts I could inveigle my mother into taking me to see as an 8 year old boy in Brussels, Belgium, I figured a band called Rainbow would be a sure thing.

I figured wrong.

Nonetheless, the first time I heard Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on an old LP 33 (that’s code for big plastic disc), I was hooked. Mellow rock, as my young friends described it back then. No blistering fast guitar riffs. No incomprehensible, screaming-till-my-ears-hurt vocals. Just a smooth rock sound from a band of studio musicians. And far away from pop or disco.

That was 1978 – three years after Rainbow emerged – and a time when the likes of Ted Nugent, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who, Bad Company, and other famous bands continued their rise to stardom.

As the lead guitarist and confounder of Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore had a brainstorm and decided to form his own solo band with vocalist Ronnie James Dio (the late heavy metal singer/songwriter worthy of a segment all his own).

Despite Blackmore’s propensity for firing more talent than Donald Trump, (the band cycled through two dozen members between 1975 and 1984, including 3 vocalists and 4 drummers), Rainbow thrived from ’79 to ’84. With the introduction of Joe Lynn Turner on vocals (sort of a Lou Gramm/Foreigner sound), Rainbow achieved the pinnacle of their success.

The following songs are among my favorites:


“Since You Been Gone” from the album Down to Earth (1979)

“I Surrender” from the album Difficult to Cure (1981)

“Stone Cold” from the album Straight Between the Eyes (1982)

“Street of Dreams” from the album Bent out of Shape (1983)


Remember – food will nourish the body, but great music can nourish the soul. Don’t believe me? Check out the tracks for yourself, and let me know what you think.

J. Melby