Shane’s Rock Challenge: RAINBOW – 1979 – Down To Earth
By Shane Pinnegar
Notoriously difficult to work with, Ritchie Blackmore had made three albums under the Rainbow banner with Ronnie James Dio centre stage and an ever-changing assembly of musos by the time Dio and he fell out for the final time.
Blackmore wasted no time recruiting Graham Bonnett, whose Hawaiian-shirted style, short hair and smooth AOR vocals couldn’t have been more different from Dio’s rainbow-and-dragon-espousing metalhead.
This signalled a huge change in direction – no longer would Rainbow be epic heavy rockers: US radio-friendly AOR would consume Blackmore for the next decade.
Down To Earth contains two of Rainbow’s best tracks in All Night Long and Since You’ve Been Gone, but that alone wasn’t enough to secure the line-up, with Bonnett walking shortly after the album’s release, leaving the door open for Joe Lynn Turner.
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