Biography / Ritchie Blackmore


"Ritchie is not a money man.[…]. What he is really concerned with is the music. He wants to progress all the time…"
-Ronnie James Dio

Before Deep Purple formed in 1968 Ritchie Blackmore (14/4/1945 in Weston-Super-Mare, England) had already contributed to several records by artists such as The Outlaws and Screaming Lord Sutch. Deep Purple MK I also featured the musical talents of John Lord (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums), Rod Evans (vocals) and Nick Simper (bass). Though being a British band Deep Purple had their first success in the USA, when the single "Hush", taken from their debut album "Shades Of Deep Purple", reached number 4 in the charts there. After two more albums with this line-up Jon and Ritchie decided they needed a new singer and bassist to enable them the musical progress they were trying to achieve.

Thus Ian Gillan (voc) and Roger Glover (bass) joined the band. The first album they did together, the "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" seemed to indicate that Jon Lord had won the battle against Ritchie about which musical direction the band should take: Heavily orchestrated music or a guitar-orientated hard rock style.

But their next album would reveal the path they were to choose… "In Rock", released in 1970, was an aggressive rock album on which Ritchie could at last express himself the way he wanted to.

Deep Purple MK II wrote such rock classics as "Speed King", "Child In Time", "Black Night", "Highway Star" and "Smoke On The Water", just to mention a few.

In 1973 David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes replaced Gillan and Glover. The first MK III release, "Burn" featured a bluesier style of rock music. Being unhappy about the soul-influences Glenn brought into the band, Ritchie decided to leave in 1975 to form Rainbow.

Having recorded "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" he decided only to keep the singer Ronnie James Dio and replace the rest of the band. Rainbow went through a constant change of line-ups, recording albums like "Rising" and "Long Live Rock'n'Roll" with Dio, "Down To Earth" with Graham Bonnet and "Difficult To Cure" with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals.

In 1984 Ritchie and Roger Glover, who had joined Rainbow in 1979, were approached to reform the legendary Deep Purple MK II line-up, so after a final tour in Japan that same year Rainbow ceased to exist.

The comeback album "Perfect Strangers" was followed by "The House Of Blue Light" in 1987 and an extensive tour ensued, during which they would record the live album "Nobody's Perfect". After Joe Lynn Turner had sung on "Slaves And Masters" Gillan returned in 1992 to do the vocal duties on "The Batlle Rages On".

During the tour in 1993 Ritchie got more and more dissatisfied with Gillan's performance and unprofessional attitude, so he decided to leave the band after the last Eurpean show, played in Helsinki.

In 1995, with a new-formed Rainbow, Ritchie records "Stranger In Us All". For the first time Candice's talent as a songwriter is used on one of his records.

The successful tour that same year takes the band across Europe and Japan, where they receive their golden record after the first show in Tokyo. Ritchie gets awarded best guitarist in both Japanese and German magazine reader's polls. "Black Masquerade" is nominated song of the year in Japan and to honour this the Osaka Hard Rock Cafe creates a special drink of the same name. -It tasted nice!

The second leg of the "Stranger In Us All Tour" in 1996 sees the band playing South America and, once again, Europe. Later that year Ritchie and Candice begin recording the first Blacckmore's Night album, "Shadow Of The Moon". In early 1997 Rainbow tour the USA. During this tour "Shadow Of The Moon" is released in Japan, selling very well. On 31 May Rainbow play their last show at the Esbjerg Rock Festival in Denmark. Throughout their show ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell is watching them from the side of the stage, very apparently wanting to play. They want to conclude the show with "Smoke On The Water", featuring Cozy Powell on drums, but unfortunately there is a curfew, so the concert ends with "Maybe Next Time". Perhaps a better song to end the show with, had it not been for the fact that Cozy passed away soon after…

In November 1997 Blackmore's Night start their "Shadow Of The Moon Tour", playing in Japan and Europe - to sold out venues. In the autumn of 1998 they return to Europe, playing castles, churches and theatres - more appropriate settings for their enchanting music.

In 1999 "Under A Violet Moon" is released and they return to Europe to do a castle tour. Later that year they play the USA, followed by an Italian tour in January 2000. In spring/ summer that year another European cacstle tour follows.

The year 2001 has seen the release of Blackmore's Night's third album "Fires At Midnight", which has sold very successfully so far, and the CD single "The Times They Are A Changin' ".

All the shows of this summer's German tour have been sold out and we are now eagerly waiting for the shows in the northern parts of Europe…

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