British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore started out as a session player and then was a cofounder of the hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968. With Deep Purple , he made the albums Shades of Deep Purple (1968), The Book of Taliesyn (1969), Deep Purple (1969), Concerto for Group and Orchestra (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , 1970), Purple in Rock, Fireball (1971), Machine Head (1972), Purple Passages (1972), Made in Japan (1973), Who Do We Think We Are? (1973), Burn (1974), and Stormbringer (1974) before leaving the group in April 1975. Blackmore proved himself as one of the best guitarists of his time. He played on a scalloped Strat (see his rig).
In Los Angeles in 1975, he took over the New York band Elf , replaced the guitarist, and renamed the resulting heavy metal quintet Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
Personnel would change frequently during the band's existence. The first edition featured Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald Padavona, July 10, 1949, Cortland, NY) (vocals), Gary Driscoll (drums), Craig Gruber (bass), and Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards).
They made the first album, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Driscoll, Gruber, and Soule then departed and were replaced by Jim Bain (bass), Tony Carey (keyboards), and former Jeff Beck Group drummer Cozy Powell (b. December 29, 1947, Cirencester, England) for the second album, Rainbow Rising (1976), and the third, On Stage, which made the U.K.
Top Ten. (From the third album on, the band was credited only as Rainbow). Carey and Bain then left and were replaced by David Stone (keyboards) and Bob Daisley (bass) for the fourth album, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (1978), another Top Ten U.K. hit, after which Daisley and Stone left. In 1979, Blackmore , Dio , and Powell added former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover (b. November 20, 1945, Brecon, South Wales) and Don Airey (keyboards), and started to make the fifth album, the U.K. Top Ten Down to Earth, but Dio left during the recording sessions and was replaced by Graham Bonnet .
The album included two U.K. Top Ten singles, "Since You've Been Gone" and "All Night Long." Powell and Bonnet left in 1980 and were replaced by Bob Rondinelli (drums) and Joe Lynn Turner (vocals), and the lineup of Blackmore , Glover , Airey , Rondinelli , and Turner made the sixth album and fourth U.K. Top Ten LP Difficult to Cure in 1981. The album produced the U.K. Top Ten single "I Surrender." Then Airey left and was replaced by David Rosenthal. In 1982, Blackmore , Glover , Rondinelli , Turner , and Rosenthal made their seventh album and fifth U.K. Top Ten, Straight Between the Eyes. The eighth album, Bent out of Shape, was released in 1983 and featured the band's first U.S. Top 40 hit, "Stone Cold."
In 1984, Blackmore disbanded Rainbow and joined a reformed version of Deep Purple , participating in the albums Perfect Strangers (1984), The House of Blue Light (1987), Nobody's Perfect (1988), Slaves and Masters (1990), The Battle Rages On (1993) and Stranger in Us All (1995). With new outfit Blackmore's Night , in 1997 he resurfaced with Shadow of the Moon; Under a Violet Moon followed a year later.