Other Great Metal Influences, Part 8; Rainbow

I happened to be listening to the Rainbow “Anthology” album the other day and it was responsible for this posting. While there are many who will argue that Rainbow was better in the 1980s, when Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner provided the lead vocals, many will also argue that their best period was in the mid to late 70s when Ronnie James Dio was the front man. After listening to the forementioned album, I have to agree with the latter case.

It is true that in the Bonnet/Lynn Turner eras, Rainbow had more success commercially. My compilation CDs have the hits “Fool For Your Loving” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” located somewhere on them with no tracks from the Dio era. However, many Rainbow officianados have equated “Man On the Silver Mountain” and “Long Live Rock and Roll” with those other hits even if the charts didn’t. My argument and it is agreed by many, is that the Dio era was their most creative period and it is why I have chosen to include it here.

When Rainbow was first formed in 1975, the band’s creator, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, brought his love of classical music which fused with lead singer Ronnie James Dio’s love for the medieval themes of swords and sorcery. This proved to be a winning combination for the band which gave them a unique sound that did not lose it’s hard rocking edge. Further proof can be heard in the early Rainbow albums such as “Rising.”

In the mid 1980s, long after Dio’s departure from Rainbow, more and more heavy metal bands began to copy the medieval theme first started by Rainbow. Ronnie James Dio spear headed this theme himself at the time when he founded and fronted his own band Dio where he achieved commercial success of his own. This is why Rainbow can be counted as one of the great influences of the metal we came to love in the 80s and why the songs penned by Ronnie James Dio will still be counted as classics long after his passing. It is also why I sing the praises of Dio so much in “Rock And Roll Children.”

Next post: The Sweet

To buy Rock And Roll Children go to: www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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6 Responses to “Other Great Metal Influences, Part 8; Rainbow”

  1. metalodyssey Says:

    I love, yes, love Rainbow. I wish Ritchie Blackmore would re-form a Rainbow lineup… with Joe Lynn Turner. I guess I shall, as Steven Tyler has sung: “Dream On” with that wish!

    My favorite Rainbow lineup is the original, with Ronnie James Dio… however, each Rainbow lineup just seemed to introduce an entire different vibe that was and always shall remain so damn cool. Graham Bonnet was fabulous on “Down To Earth”… and Doogie White is just flat-out underrated as a vocalist, in my Metal opinion.

    Excellent write-up. \m/


  2. Both Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner were great vocalists for Rainbow although I have to admit I know little about Doogie White, some metal refresher is needed here. A Rainbow reformation with Blackmore and Lynn Turner would be very interesting, I’d buy the album. Actually my siter would buy it and copy it for me.
    Thanks for the compliment on the write up


    • metalodyssey Says:

      Doogie White was the vocalist for Rainbow’s 1995 album: “Stranger In Us All”. Doogie also was the vocalist on the Yngwie Malmsteen album from 2002 titled: Attack!!

      I can’t pinpoint why, yet Dio fronted Rainbow reminds me of Summertime and all the other Rainbow lineups remind me of Fall and Winter. Go figure. This crazy stuff always happens with my brain… I’ll equate bands or specific albums/songs to the 4 seasons of the year. I never did claim to have both oars in the water… LOL!


      • I think we all do that, especially with songs and ex girlfriends. Some will say that it is because heavy metal has a negative impact on the brain, but I think that is bull.


  3. I’ve never tried the non-Dio Rainbow yet. Dio era Rainbow is definitely must-have stuff for any trad-Metal or Power Metal fan though.

    The voice, the lyrics, the interplay between the keys and lead guitar… so, so influential and so, so good in and of itself.

    Three really brilliant records.


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