With Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore's classic riffs - like the timeless opening salvo of 'Smoke on The Water' - and his blistering solos helped invent the principles of intense guitar-led composition and dramatic performance that spawned successive generations of heavy rock bands.
Blackmore quit Purple at the height of their stardom to form Rainbow with Elf's Ronnie James Dio, going on to record classic '70s rock albums like 'Rising' and 'Long Live Rock'n'Roll' before a new leaner sound redirected them into the singles charts with AOR classics like 'Since You Been Gone' and 'All Night Long'. Rainbow were also one of the great live bands, and their ever changing line-up featured some of the most accomplished players of the day, including former Purple colleague Roger Glover and legendary and much missed drummer Cozy Powell.
Ritchie's public image was of a moody and tyrannical dictator, however friends describe him as an intelligent, frank yet shy man of sensitivity and dry humour. So what was the real story behind the convoluted, often troubled but always fascinating history of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow?