Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (sometimes stylised Ritchie Blackmore's R-A-I-N-B-O-W) is the first album by British rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's solo band Rainbow, released in 1975.


 [hide*1 Recording


During studio sessions in Tampa Bay, Florida on 12 December 1974, Blackmore originally planned to record the solo single "Black Sheep of the Family"- a cover of a track by the band Quatermass from 1970. The newly composed "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" was to be the B-side. Other musicians involved included singer/lyricist Ronnie James Dio and drummer Gary Driscoll of blues rock band Elf, and cellist Hugh McDowell of ELO. Satisfied with the two tracks, Blackmore decided to extend the sessions to a full album.[1]

For the album the other members of Elf, keyboardist Micky Lee Soule and bassist Craig Gruber were utilised. The album was recorded in Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany during February–March 1975. Though it was originally thought to be a solo album, the record was billed as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and later progressed to a new band project. Blackmore and Dio did promotional work for the album. Shortly after the album was released, all Elf members,excluding Dio, were sacked, and Blackmore recruited new musicians for subsequent Rainbow albums. This first line-up never performed live, and the live photos used in the album art are of Blackmore while with Deep Purple and of Elf playing live.

The last track of the album "Still I'm Sad" is an instrumental cover of a song by The Yardbirds from their 1965 album Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds. "Catch the Rainbow" uses a similar chord progression and vocal melody to Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" from the 1967 album Axis: Bold as Love.

Release and reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Rolling Stone (unfavorable)[3]

The original vinyl release had a gate fold sleeve, although later budget reissues on Polydor reduced to a single sleeve. The album's songs have been performed by subsequent Rainbow line-ups.

The album was widely praised for its fantasy/heroic-like lyrical content and the innovative rock style.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was re-issued on CD in remastered form in the US in April 1999. The European release followed later in the year.

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio considered this release his favourite Rainbow album.[4]

Despite the title implying the record being a Ritchie Blackmore solo release, in later years Blackmore has jokingly stated that Dio's contributions warranted a re-titling of "Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio's Rainbow".[5]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All music written by Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio except where noted

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Man on the Silver Mountain"   4:42
2. "Self Portrait"   3:17
3. "Black Sheep of the Family" (Quatermass cover) Steve Hammond 3:22
4. "Catch the Rainbow"   6:27
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Snake Charmer"   4:33
6. "The Temple of the King"   4:45
7. "If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll"   2:38
8. "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves"   3:31
9. "Still I'm Sad" (The Yardbirds cover) Paul Samwell-SmithJim McCarty 3:51

Note: On the cassette version of the album Side One features the last five tracks while Side Two plays the first four. On the case insert and on the cassette itself, "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" is written as "Sixteen Century Greensleeves".




  • Shoshana – backing vocals
  • Produced by Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio
  • Mixed by Martin Birch
  • Recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, 20 February – 14 March 1975


Year Chart Position
1975 UK Albums Chart[6] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[7] 24
Billboard 200 (USA) [8] 30
New Zealand Albums Charts[9] 40
RPM100 Albums (Canada)[10] 83


Country Organization Year Sales
UK BPI 1975 Silver (+ 60,000)[11]


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