Friday, December 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Down to Earth, by Rainbow

In 1979, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was taking his brain child Rainbow in a new direction. Once original singer Ronnie James Dio left the band, Blackmore decided to switch musical styles from melodic medieval themed hard rock/metal to commercial rock. Enter new vocalist: Graham Bonnet, a soul singer with short hair and a disco suit. Pretty much the antithesis of Dio. Furthermore, Blackmore brought in ex-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and keyboardist Don Airey. Drummer Cozy Powell was the only previous Rainbow member aside from Blackmore who remained. This line-up would go to record an album called Down to Earth.

Down to Earth despite being a massive change in style for Blackmore still contains much of his signature riffs and melodic blistering solos that he has been known for. The songs do take on a much more straight simple radio friendly rock style in that the structures are more pop oriented. With the addition of Bonnet the songs also do have more of a slight Motown/soulful feel to them as well. Certain parts are still a bit more experimental and exploratory, but not as much as Blackmore's previous work.

Since You Been Gone is the one song of Rainbow's (though it was originally penned by Russ Ballard) that still gets regular airplay on the radio to this day. For good reason too. It has that ear worm of a main riff that Blackmore added to it and a vocal melody that is incredibly pleasing and enticing. Despite the fact that this is by no means my favorite Rainbow song (nowhere close) even I will admit to singing along to it every time it comes up on the radio or my playlist.

All Night Long was another single from the album. Its main riff sounds like a variation of the Rainbow tune Man on the Silver Mountain. I guess Blackmore is allowed to rip himself off, though. Unlike its inspiration though, All Night Long is less fantasy themed and more about trying to take a girl home from a rock show. It really is sleazy in all the best ways, though. It's simple, catchy, and fun; everything a radio hit should be.

I will admit that Down to Earth is not a bad album. I don't consider it a true Rainbow album, but it's good nonetheless. It has some good songs on it that I find myself enjoying fairly often. To be honest though, I feel this album was a fluke. After this album and they replaced Bonnet with Joe Lynn Turner that's when things REALLY went downhill for Rainbow. All that aside, Down to Earth is worth your time and money.

Down to Earth, by Rainbow receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. All Night Long
2. Eyes of the World
3. No Time to Lose
4. Makin' Love
5. Since You Been Gone
6. Love's No Friend
7. Danger Zone
8. Lost in Hollywood

Buy the album on Amazon:

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