Rainbow was 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.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow

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.”

“Man on the Silver Mountain”
Released: September 1975 (US)

Blackmore retained Dio for an ongoing Rainbow with a new group of musicians: 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.


Rainbow released their second album, Rising, on May 17, 1976, on Oyster and Polydor.

Released: August 1976

On Stage

On July 7, 1977, Rainbow released the live double-album On Stage.

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

Rainbow released their third studio album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, on April 14, 1978, on Polydor.

“Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Released: 24 March 1978
“L.A. Connection”
Released: 22 September 1978

Down to Earth

Rainbow released their fourth studio album, Down to Earth, on August 3, 1979, on Polydor.

“Since You Been Gone”
Released: 31 August 1979

“All Night Long”
Released: February 1980

Difficult to Cure

Rainbow released their fifth album, Difficult to Cure, on February 9, 1981, on Polydor and Mercury.

“I Surrender”
Released: 23 January 1981

“Can’t Happen Here”
Released: June 1981

Released: 1981 (Japan)

Straight Between the Eyes

Rainbow released their sixth album, Straight Between the Eyes, on April 12, 1982, on Oyster and Polydor.

“Stone Cold”
Released: March 1982
“Death Alley Driver”
Released: 1982 (Japan)

Bent Out of Shape

Rainbow released their seventh album, Bent Out of Shape, on August 24, 1983, on Oyster and Polydor.

“Street of Dreams”
Released: 19 August 1983
“Can’t Let You Go”
Released: October 1983


  • 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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