Rainbow were an English hard-rock band formed by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore following his initial exit from Deep Purple in 1974. The band released two albums and a live double-LP on Polydor-subsidiary Oyster between 1975 and 1977, followed by five further studio albums on the parent label between 1978 and 1983. Blackmore was the one constant throughout the nine-year existence of the band, which functioned as a springboard for the subsequent careers of vocalists Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, and Joe Lynn Turner.

Members: Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ronnie James Dio (vocals, 1975-79), Craig Gruber (bass, 1975), Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards, 1975), Gary Driscoll (drums, 1975), Cozy Powell (drums, 1975-80), Jimmy Bain (bass, 1975-77), Tony Carey (keyboards, 1975-77), David Stone (keyboards, 1977-79), Mark Clarke (bass, 1977), Bob Daisley (bass, 1977-79), Graham Bonnet (vocals, 1979-80), Don Airey (keyboards, 1979-81), Roger Glover (bass, 1979-84), Bobby Rondinelli (drums, 1980-83), Joe Lynn Turner (vocals, 1980-84), David Rosenthal (keyboards, 1981-84), Chuck Burgi (drums, 1983-84)

Rainbow started in late 1974 as an alternative vehicle for Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, then at odds with the direction of his main band. He wished to record the Steve Hammond composition “Black Sheep of the Family,” recorded earlier by the Purple-associated power-trio Quatermass. To record that song and a new composition, “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves,” he enlisted American hard-rockers Elf, a frequent Purple opening act whose first album was produced by Roger Glover.

In March 1975, the two parties convened in Munich, Germany, and recorded Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, released that August on Oyster (UK) and Polydor. The album features seven originals co-credited to Blackmore and Elf singer Ronnie James Dio, including “The Temple of the King” and “Catch the Rainbow.” Deciding he wanted to make Rainbow an ongoing concern with Dio but not the rest of Elf, Blackmore fired the musicians and recruited drummer Cozy Powell (Jeff Beck Group, Bedlam), bassist Jimmy Bain, and American keyboardist Tony Carey. They toured the album with a 40-foot computerized rainbow fixture composed of 3,000 light bulbs.


  • Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975 • Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow)
  • Rising (1976)
  • On Stage (live 2LP, 1977)
  • Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (1978)
  • Down to Earth (1979)
  • Difficult to Cure (1981)
  • Straight Between the Eyes (1982)
  • Bent Out of Shape (1983)
  • Stranger in Us All (1995 • Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow)


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