Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Composer > B > Ritchie Blackmore

Profile of Ritchie Blackmore on Famous Like Me

Name: Ritchie Blackmore  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 14th April 1945
Place of Birth: Weston Super Mare, England, UK
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Richard Hugh Blackmore, (born April 14, 1945) is a noted British guitarist. Born in Weston-super-Mare, He is famous for being the guitarist in the revolutionary band Deep Purple and the highly successful band Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore


After being born in Weston-Super-Mare he moved to Heston, Middlesex at the age of two. His father bought him his first guitar when he was about 10 in 1955 and he then took some classical guitar lessons.

In the 1960s he started out as a session player and performed in several bands, Heinz & Wild Boys, Screaming Lord Sutch (other musicians who followed the Black-Outfit of Lord Sutch were Alice Cooper, Jimmy Page and Tom Jones), The Outlaws, Glenda Collins and BOZ. He co-founded hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968, and continued to be a member, and the main creative anchor, of Deep Purple from 1968 through 1975 and again from 1984 through 1993.

The First Deep Purple Years, 1968-1975

He co-founded the hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968 with Rod Evans (vocals), Nick Simper (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), and Ian Paice (drums). The band quickly scored a hit single with its remake of the Joe South song "Hush"; nonetheless, after only a few albums, Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass). The band's next studio album, "In Rock," revolutionized the band's sound, turning it in an uncompromisingly hard rock direction. Blackmore's dramatic guitar riffs, Jon Lord's classically inspired, high-powered Hammond organ, and Ian Paice's dynamic, jazz-influenced drums were enhanced by the powerhouse vocals of Ian Gillan, whom Blackmore has described as being "a screamer with depth and a blues feel." Songs on "In Rock" included "Speed King" and "Child In Time."

Two albums later Deep Purple recorded its landmark album Machine Head. The album was recorded by a mobile recording unit (Rolling Stones Mobile) in Montreaux, Switzerland. The band originally intended to record the album at a casino in Montreaux, but the night before recording was to begin the casino hosted a Frank Zappa concert (with members of Deep Purple in attendance) at which an audience member fired a flare gun into the facility's bamboo roof. A tremendous fire ensued and the casino was burned down to the ground. The entire tragedy is documented in the lyrics of what was to become Deep Purple's historic anthem "Smoke On The Water". The song opens with what many consider the most distinctly recognizable hard rock riff ever recorded.

The Machine Head album also produced such notable Deep Purple classics as "Space Truckin'," "Highway Star," and "Lazy." The live album of the Machine Head tour - recorded in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan and entitled Made In Japan - cemented Deep Purple's reputation as a dynamic and intense live rock and roll act.

In 1973 Ian Gillan left Deep Purple, and bassist Roger Glover resigned when it became clear he would be fired. They were replaced by former Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes and an unknown young singer named David Coverdale (who would later achieve star status as the lead singer for Whitesnake and Coverdale Page with Jimmy Page). The band recorded BURN, an album on which the instrumental virtuosity and dynamism of the triumvirate of Blackmore-Lord-Paice achieved new heights. Deep Purple continued to perform concerts worldwide, including a notorious appearance at the 1974 California Jam, a televised concert festival that featured The Eagles, Black Sabbath and many other rock luminaries. At the very moment Deep Purple was due to appear, Blackmore, evincing the "bad boy" theatrics for which he would become infamous, locked himself in his dressing room and refused to go onstage. Previous performers had finished early and it was still not sundown, the time at which the band had originally been scheduled to appear. Blackmore felt this would dull the effect of the band's light show. After ABC brought in a Sheriff to arrest him, Blackmore acquiesced, but during the performance he destroyed an ABC TV camera in retaliation after the cameraman repeatedly edged too close to him. Shortly thereafter, in the concert's most dramatic moment, the stage erupted in flames after Blackmore's amplifier stacks exploded and blew him to the front of the stage. ABC was furious, but the band escaped its wrath by immediately departing via helicopter.

Deep Purple's next album, Stormbringer, not only disappointed critics and fans, but was publically denounced by Blackmore himself, who disliked the funky soul influences that Hughes and Coverdale injected into the band. After that he departed Deep Purple to front his own rock group, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

The First Rainbow Years, 1975-1984

After Deep Purple, Blackmore formed well-known progressive-metal/hard rock band Rainbow from 1975 through 1983. The band originally consisted of former Elf lead singer Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Blackmore, bassist Craig Guber, drummer Gary Driscoll, and keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule. The band's debut album, "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow", was released in 1975 and featured the minor hit "Man on the Silver Mountain".

The album's music was different than Deep Purple's: the riffs were more directly inspired by medieval music, and Ronnie James Dio wrote lyrics about castles, kings, swords, and damsels in distress. Dio possessed a powerful voice, good range, and the capacity to sing rough-hewn hard rock or lighter ballads. It is also interesting to note that although Dio never played a musical instrument on any Rainbow album, he is credited with writing and arranging the music with Blackmore in addition to writing all the lyrics himself.

Blackmore fired everybody except Dio shortly after the album was recorded and recruited Cozy Powell, formerly of the Jeff Beck Group, to play drums, as well as two unknowns: a bassist named Jimmy Bain and a keyboard player named Tony Carey. This lineup went on to record the album Rainbow Rising, probably the most popular Rainbow album among hard rock devotees.

Blackmore kept Powell and Dio, but replaced the rest of the band before recording the next album "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll." Blackmore had difficulty finding a bass player for this record and he even played bass on all but three songs on this album (Gates of Babylon, Kill the King, and Sensitive To Light). To the astonishment and chagrin of many Rainbow fans, Dio was fired after the tour for this album, but he managed to land on his feet by replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath in 1980. Later, in 1983, he formed his own band DIO with ex-Rainbow member Jimmy Bain on bass.

Blackmore continued with Rainbow. Powell stayed and was joined by former Purple bassist Roger Glover, keyboard player Don Airey & ex- Marbles vocalist Graham Bonnet. The resulting (Glover produced) album 'Down To Earth' featured the bands first major chart successes 'All Night Long' & 'Since You Been Gone' but the live showed that Bonnet - although a powerhouse - struggled with the bands quieter numbers & lacked Dio's range. The band headlined a hugely successful inaugeral Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donnington in England, supported by Judas Priest & the Scorpions but this proved to be Powell's last show as he left for the likes of the Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake & ELP.

The next album saw yet another line-up as Bonnet was replaced by American Joe Lynn Turner, while Powell was replaced by Bobby Rondinelli. The album 'Difficult to Cure' featured the huge single 'I Surrender,' a blockbuster version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and the extraordinary guitar piece "Maybe Next Time." The tour showed that Turner had the chops for the gig, equally at home on the rockier & slower tunes. The "Difficult to Cure" tour was the first tour in which Rainbow headlined in the U.S.

Rainbow's next studio album was 'Straight Between the Eyes.' Featuring new keyboard player David Rosenthal, it was more cohesive than Difficult to Cure and even more successful in the United States. The band, however, was alienating some of its earlier fans. The single 'Stone Cold' was pure radio rock and the tour skipped the UK completely. The show - featuring huge robotic eyes in the lighting rig - was a great success: Blackmore finally seemed to be gaining the success he had so eagerly sought.

'Bent Out of Shape' saw drummer Rondinelli ousted in favor of Chuck Burgi. Hugely underrated, the album was a fine piece of commercial rock featuring the single 'Street Of Dreams,' a song banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip. The resulting tour saw Rainbow return to UK theatres and finally to Japan where a full orchestra performed in conjunction with the band.

By the mid-1980s, Deep Purple was poised to re-form and snatch Blackmore and Glover away. A final Rainbow album, 'Finyl Vinyl,' was patched together from live tracks and "b" sides of singles. Perhaps its greatest virtue was that it made Blackmore's haunting instrumental "Weiss Heim" widely available for the first time. Subsequent bootlegs showed the band might have been better served had it released instead a 'Live In Tokyo' album.

The Second Deep Purple Years, 1984-1994

In April 1984, eight years after the demise of Deep Purple, it happened. It was announced on BBC radio's The Friday Rock Show that the "classic" early 70s line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice was reforming and recording new material. The band signed a deal with Polydor in Europe and Mercury in North America. The album Perfect Strangers was released in October 1984 and surprised everybody in being the finest Purple album since 'Burn.' A tour followed, starting in New Zealand and winding its way across the world into Europe by the following summer. It was a tremendous success. The UK homecoming proved mixed as they elected to play just a single festival show (with main support from The Scorpions). The weather was famously bad but 80,000 turned up anyway.

In 1987, the line-up recorded and toured in support of the eclectic and experimental album, 'The House of Blue Light.' A live album, 'Nobody's Perfect' (1988), was culled from US shows on this tour, while in the UK a new version of "Hush" was released to mark the band's twenty year anniversary. In 1989, Ian Gillan was fired from the band as his relations with Blackmore soured. His replacement was former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This line up recorded just one album, 'Slaves & Masters' (1990). 'Slaves & Masters' split opinion among fans and band alike, Blackmore's disaffected bandmates later humorously deriding it as "the finest Rainbow album Deep Purple ever made," while Blackmore insisted that it was the best effort of the reunion era. The shows saw Purple dusting off 'Coverdale' era classics as well as 'mark II' material.

Neither the album nor the tour were critically or commercially successful. Turner was fired, Jon Lord and Ian Paice arguing that Deep Purple needed Gillan back in the fold. Blackmore relented and the classic line-up recorded 'The Battle Rages On' in 1993. In spite of swelling animosity between Blackmore and Gillan, this album produced what are arguably two of the finest arrangements of the reunion era: "Anya" and "The Battle Rages On." During the support tour in mid-1994, tensions between Gillan and Blackmore reached a climax. Blackmore walked out never to return. The brilliant guitarist Joe Satriani stepped in to help complete the band's live dates (in Japan). Satriani was never asked to join full time although he wished it. The band auditioned guitarists, and Steve Morse of Dixie Dregs impressed them enough to get the gig.

The Second Rainbow Years, 1994-1997

Richie Blackmore reformed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple a second time in 1994. This Rainbow line up with the great Doogie White lasted into 1997 and produced the stellar Stranger In Us All cd. His current venture is quite different (but also extremely successful), as he teamed up with Candice Night to create the Renaissance-style group Blackmore's Night.


Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster, often with the middle of its three pickups ripped out or disconnected. His most famous riff (and forbidden in many guitar stores) is probably the one from Smoke on the Water. The riff is properly played without a pick, using two fingers to pluck two adjecent strings held in a IV interval. In his soloing, Blackmore combined blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from European classical music and established what some call the "neoclassical" school of guitar, often heard in so-called Neo-classical metal.

The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by a world famous Hollywood Bar and Grill called the Rainbow that catered to rock stars and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Ritchie spent his off time from Deep Purple with Ronnie James Dio, a vocalist in the band ELF. Elf toured regularly as an opening act for Deep Purple.

See Also

  • Rolling Stone's List of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time
  • Blackmore's Night
  • Deep Purple

External Links

  • Interview with Ritchie Blackmore
  • Interview with Ritchie Blackmore about acoustic renaissance work
  • The Official Ritchie Blackmore and Blackmore's Night website
  • Photos Blackmore's Night Concert Amsterdam 2005

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ritchie Blackmore