Drummer Cozy Powell died in a car crash on April, 5, 1998.
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (Polydor) 1975
on the Silver Mountain" (4:37)
Egomaniac Ritchie Blackmore recorded this album as a solo effort with Ronnie James Dio and his current band Elf, minus their guitarist of course. I read that the last Elf record "Trying to Burn the Sun" and this record were recorded around the same time and certainly were released the same year. Anyhow, of the three Dio-era Rainbow albums, this is my least favorite, but it's still a great album. Of course "Man on the Silver Mountain" was a hit for the band and is still played on the classic rock stations.
Magnitude 9 recorded a smoking version of "Man on the Silver Mountain".
"Rising" displays the classic Rainbow lineup and is, in my opinion, one of the best albums ever recorded! The bass player is Jimmy Bain (later to play with Dio in...well, DIO), keyboards are done by Tony Carey, plus the consummate drummer Cozy Powell (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, etc. etc. etc.). Of course guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is a legendary guitarist and Ronnie James Dio is one of the greatest heavy metal vocalists of all time. "Starstruck," "Stargazer" and "Tarot Woman" are all awesome and some of my personal favorite Rainbow songs! As I stated, "Rising" is one of the best heavy metal albums to come out of the 1970's.
Rainbow - On Stage (Polydor) 1977
The King" (5:31)
This album, while being a great live album, always bugged me slightly. Why the heck did they not include "Stargazer," the band's best song ever, and one that they definitley played during this time! OK, it is available on some expensive imports but why did they not include it on "On Stage." Argh! Well, besides that minor irritation, "On Stage" features some great extended versions of "Catch the Rainbow" and "Mistreated," a song from Blackmore's Deep Purple days. "Kill the King" is song which would show up on their next studio album, but made it's debut on this live album and is another great song. Of course no concert featuring the mighty Dio would be complete without Ronnie crying out, "I'm the man, I'm the man, You're the the man...We're all the maaaaaaaaaannnn." HA! Ronnie James Dio rules!
Rainbow - Down to Earth (Polydor) 1979
Up to this point Rainbow had been the brilliant brainchild of Ritchie Blackmore featuring the amazing Ronnie James Dio on vocals. However, after the Long Live Rock and Roll tour, Ronnie was given his walking papers and new vocalist Graham Bonnet was brought in to give the band a more mainstream sound. Rainbow was something of a supergroup at this point with Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover handling bass duties, as well as producing, consumate drummer Cozy Powell pounding on the skins, and Don Airey on keys. However, what results is something a bit more commercial than the neo-classical metal that was "Rainbow Rising" or "Long Live Rock and Roll." The result was a hit with the single "Since You Been Gone." However, I still think there are some classic Rainbow moments on this disc, especially in album closer "Lost in Hollywood" and album opener "All Night Long". These are both excellent songs with those smokin' Blackmore licks that made me love those first three albums so much.
Graham Bonnett later went on to form Alcatrazz with guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, who became a legend on his own, as well as doing an album with Rainbow's Joe Lynn Turner! Alcatrazz also introduced the world to Steve Vai, who of course became world-famous by playing with David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake. Graham went on to sing for Impellitteri, but never managed to reach the heights of success of some of the musicians he worked with in Rainbow or Alcatrazz.
Rainbow - Difficult to Cure (Polydor) 1981
1. "I Surrender"
Yet another new Rainbow lineup, this time featuring Joe Lynn Turner, who helped defined the band's 80's sound for the next three albums. Ritchie's former Deep Purple band-mate Roger Glover joined in on bass duties and keyboardist Don Airey,(ex-Jethro Tull) was on board as well. Overall a decent CD, but not one of my favorites. "Spotlight Kid" is perhaps the heaviest and my favorite song. The two instrumentals are a nice addition.
Rainbow - Bent out of Shape (Polydor) 1983
This album sounds just like the one before it. "Street of Dreams" sounds just like "Stone Cold!" A legend like Ritchie Blackmore is capable of so much more than this. I guess if I forget who this band is made up of, this is not such a bad disc. Vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, who has been with Rainbow for the last three albums, went on to join Yngwie Malmsteen and later rejoined Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. (Joe is a good vocalist but could never even touch the greatness of Ian Gillan or Ronnie James Dio)
1. "Spotlight Kid"
"Finyl Vinyl" was suppose to be Rainbow's farewell recording. It is basically a compilation of mostly live tracks with a few "new" studio tracks thrown in. (Actually, two of the studio tracks are from the rare "Jealous Lover" EP with only "Bad Girl" being an exclusive track). The songs featured are from the various different Rainbow line-ups, all the way back to original vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner are both represented here as well. As such, listening to this from beginning to end is a bit odd. The different eras of Rainbow were very different, making for an uneven record.
The original vinyl pressing had a gatefold cover with tons of photos of the various incarnations of Rainbow. The original CD pressing of "Finyl Vinyl" is a single disc and omits two live tracks "Street of Dreams" and "Tearin' Out My Heart". This is the copy I own, as well as the vinyl version. There is now a remastered, 2-CD reissue with all the tracks.
Rainbow - Stranger in Us All (Fuel 2000) 1998
to the Moon" (4:16)
Ritchie was in and out of Deep Purple through the years. Apparently his ego is beyond that of even Yngwie Malmsteen's which has caused some serious fights between him and Gillan. In any case, at this point, Ritchie was out of Deep Purple and put out this solo disc with a bunch of unknown musicians. I actually like it better than any of the Joe Lynn Turner-era discs as it retains some of the gothic medieval ambiences of Rainbow's earlier material.
Rainbow - Live In Munich 1977 (Eagle Records) 2006
Recorded live at Munich Olympiahalle, Germany October 20, 1977 and originally aired on German TV. There is no need for a long drawn out review here. Rainbow in '77 were at the top of their game and this CD is a testament to that fact. Ritchie Blackmore was in charge, so there is plenty of those long, extended jams, as well as a very cool drum solo from Cozy Powell. The only thing that is really missing from this set list is "Stargazer" which was left out in favor of new song "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll". I would have rather they removed any other song than "Stargazer"! Still, as it stands this is a fantastic live recording. The line-up for this CD was: Guitar - Ritchie Blackmore, Vocals - Ronnie James Dio, Bass - Bob Daisley, Keyboard - David Stone and Drums - Cozy Powell.