monitors Rock Flashback: Ritchie Blackmore

(Getty Images/Dave Hogan)

It’s one of the all-time great rock history factoids: in November 1974, a guy claiming to be [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Deep Purple[/lastfm] guitarist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ritchie Blackmore[/lastfm] had an excellent adventure in Iowa City, Iowa. It’s said that he conned food and shelter out of several gullible Deep Purple fans, and ended up borrowing one guy’s Porsche, which he crashed. (The real Blackmore was in San Francisco at the time, only learning later of Heartland havoc being wreaked in his name.)

It’s Blackmore’s 66th birthday today, so let’s revisit some of the highlights of his career.

Blackmore was a founding member of Deep Purple in 1968, and brought the riffage on classic albums including Machine Head, Made in Japan, and Burn through 1975. He joined the onetime Deep Purple concert openers [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Elf[/lastfm] at that point — a band most famous for featuring [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ronnie James Dio[/lastfm] on lead vocals — and changed the name to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rainbow[/lastfm].

But it wasn’t until four years later, 1979, that Rainbow assembled its most famous lineup: band members at that time included drummer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Cozy Powell[/lastfm] and ex-Deep Purple bassist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Roger Glover[/lastfm]. Dio had left the year before, replaced by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Graham Bonnet[/lastfm]. Bonnet wasn’t around long, eventually replaced on lead vocals by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Joe Lynn Turner[/lastfm]. That edition of the band scored its lone Top 40 hit in the States, “Stone Cold,” coming in 1983, a year before Blackmore broke up the band to return to a new edition of Deep Purple.

In 1997, Blackmore and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Candice Night[/lastfm] formed [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Blackmore’s Night[/lastfm], intending its sound to be “[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mike Oldfield[/lastfm] meets [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Enya[/lastfm].” (Blackmore and Night, who later married, had a fabulous meeting story: members of Deep Purple played a soccer game against the staff of a radio station where Night worked.) They’ll be on the road for a handful of East Coast dates in May.

Here’s a live performance of “Man on the Silver Mountain,” from the first Rainbow album, with Dio on lead vocals. The sound’s not great, but crank it up anyway.

For more Rock Flashbacks, hit this.

<em>Like revisiting the past? Check out more Rock Flashbacks <a href=”http://wnew.radio.com/category/rock-flashback/”>here</a>…</em&gt;


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