Ritchie Blackmore

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Ritchie Blackmore, 2009
Ritchie Blackmore, 1997

Ritchie Blackmore (born April 14, 1945 in Weston-super-Mare , North Somerset ); actually Richard Hugh Blackmore , is a British guitarist and songwriter . Blackmore achieved fame above all as a founding member of the hard rock band Deep Purple , in which he laid many characteristics of hard rock and heavy metal through his playing style and the mixing of classic melodies with rock and blues . After leaving Deep Purple, he founded the hard rock band Rainbow in 1975 , in which he was able to develop his musical ideas. As a guitarist, Blackmore influenced the groups of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with his outstanding technical playing style and virtuosity . He is also considered a pioneer of the musical genre neoclassical metal . In 1997 he founded the folk rock band Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night . In 2016 he formed the band Rainbow again with new musicians, partly consisting of Blackmore's Night musicians and the Chilean singer Ronnie Romero .


When Blackmore was eleven years old, his father bought him his first guitar , on which Blackmore initially received classical guitar lessons for a year, which has strongly influenced his style to this day: “If I was going to play this thing, he was either going to have someone teach it to me properly, or he was going to smash me across the head with it. So I actually took the lessons for a year - classical lessons - and it got me on to the right footing, using all the fingers and the right strokes of the plectrum and the nonsense that goes with it. "

In the 1960s he played in a few lesser-known bands, such as B. The Outlaws (see Heinz (singer) ). The word of his skills soon got around among the music producers and so he was often heard as an unnamed studio guitarist on countless singles as an accompanist. He worked a lot with producer Joe Meek in particular . In addition to many other bands and performers, he accompanied the British shock rocker Screaming Lord Sutch several times .

Deep Purple

Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore 1970
Ritchie Blackmore 1971

At the end of 1967 Blackmore founded the band Roundabout together with keyboardist Jon Lord , from which Deep Purple emerged in April of the following year . At first he played a Gibson ES-335 , but then switched to the Fender Stratocaster as the instrument of choice. With his idiosyncratic, powerful, virtuoso style, he influenced a whole generation of rock guitarists. On the one hand he invented very catchy riffs ( Black Night , Smoke on the Water , Woman from Tokyo ), but on the other hand he shone with melodious and fast solo passages ( Speed ​​King , Child In Time , Highway Star , Burn ), which can be found on Live -Concerts often lasted for many minutes. The gaps between the frets of his Stratocaster are concave (scalloped) in order to be able to produce a clean vibrato with the fingers. In order to achieve a better sound, Blackmore often changed the pickups on his guitars. He also uses the thumb and little finger of the left hand more often than many other guitarists.

With all the recognition of his talent, Blackmore was long considered a difficult and contentious personality. His eccentric behavior on the stage can best be illustrated by Deep Purple's appearance at the 1974 California Jam : After a dispute with the television broadcaster ABC, Ritchie Blackmore lost his temper at the end of the concert and hit the lens of a television camera with the head of his guitar. He then had one of his three Marshall Towers set on fire by his roadie ; however, using too much gasoline as a fire accelerator caused the situation to spiral out of control and resulted in a violent deflagration that almost threw the guitarist off the stage; Blackmore then threw the demolished parts of the equipment into the audience. All in all, Blackmore destroyed two of his guitars during this performance, but they were Stratocaster replicas. In 1975 he left Deep Purple and founded Rainbow; his successor as guitarist was Tommy Bolin . After Deep Purple finally split up in 1976, Blackmore initiated the reunion of the band in 1984.

When there was renewed conflict between singer Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore, Blackmore decided in 1993 to leave the band a second time, this time for good. He gave his last concert with Deep Purple on November 17, 1993 in Helsinki.


In 1975 Blackmore ended his engagement with Deep Purple after disputes, among other things because the other band members persistently refused to cover the song Black Sheep of the Family . However, there had already been musical differences between Blackmore and the rest of the band during the recordings for the album " Stormbringer " . Thereupon Blackmore founded the rock band Rainbow (by recruiting musicians from the band " Elf " , consisting of well-known rock musicians such as Ronnie James Dio ), which had commercial successes particularly in the German market , only to later - after tensions between band members - again to play together with Deep Purple in a reunion (1984-1993). Blackmore's habit of performing the final movement, Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, at many concerts in conjunction with an extended guitar solo at Rainbow and Blackmore's Night, or a guitar and organ solo at Deep Purple stems from this period .

In 1995 Rainbow was revived, again under the name "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". During this time, the eighth studio album Stranger In Us All was released. His future partner, partner and wife Candice Night can be heard on this album as a background singer. Among other things, she worked as a songwriter on some pieces. The last concert of this tour and era was given by Ritchie Blackmore and his band at a festival in Esbjerg on May 31, 1997.

In June 2016 three concerts were played under a completely new line-up. This was perceived positively by the public and critics. Since there was a hint from Blackmore in advance that if the mood between the band and the audience was good, they might do more than these three concerts, it remains to be seen whether the Rainbow project will continue.

Blackmore's Night

Since 1997 Ritchie Blackmore has been playing with his wife and singer in the renaissance rock band Blackmore's Night , which became very popular in the German medieval scene in particular . Old castles and palaces are often performance venues. He is often accompanied by the German medieval music formation Geyers as the opening act.

The song "Loreley" from the album "Ghost of a Rose" (2003, SPV) was used as the theme music for the ProSieben series Die Burg .

Private life

In May 1964 Blackmore married Margit Volkmar (born January 3, 1945) from Germany. They lived in Hamburg in the late 1960s. The son Jürgen R. Blackmore, born in 1964, comes from this marriage. After the divorce, he married Bärbel Hardie, a former dancer, in September 1969. The marriage lasted until the early 1970s. The many years in Germany mean that he has been fluent in German since then, especially since the musician continues to tour frequently in German-speaking countries.

Blackmore has been married to Candice Night for the fourth time since October 2008 and lives on Long Island ( New York ) in the United States . Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night have been the parents of a daughter (Autumn Esmerelda) since mid-2010, to whom they dedicated their album Autumn Sky , which was made during Candice's pregnancy, and since February 7, 2012 of a son: Rory Dartanyan.


“A lot of people ask me, 'Which direction are you going in? What's your message? ' I have no message except to drink a lot. And I have no idea where I'm going, I just play - and have been for more than 50 years. "

- Ritchie Blackmore

Band membership

Band membership

Ranking positions

The Rolling Stone listed Blackmore in 2011 as 50th of the 100 best guitarists of all time . In a list from 2003 he was ranked 55th.

Discography (excerpt)

Deep Purple


  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)
  • Rising (1976)
  • On Stage (1977)
  • Long Live Rock'n'Roll (1978)
  • Down to Earth (1979)
  • Difficult to Cure (1981)
  • Straight Between The Eyes (1982)
  • The Best of Rainbow (1981)
  • Bent Out of Shape (1983)
  • Finyl Vinyl (1986)
  • Live in Germany 1976 (1990)
  • Stranger in Us All (1995)
  • Catch the Rainbow: The Anthology (2003)
  • Live - Cologne Sports Hall September 25, 1976 (2006)
  • Live - Düsseldorf Philipshalle September 27, 1976 (2006)
  • Live - Munich Olympiahalle October 20, 1977 (2006)
  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Live at Budokan, Tokyo 1984 (2006 by masterplan)
  • Live - Nuremberg Exhibition Center September 28, 1976 (2007)
  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Black Masquerade Live in Düsseldorf 1995 (CD / DVD 2013)
  • Memories in Rock (CD / DVD 2016)
  • Live in Birmingham 2016 (2017)
  • Memories in Rock II (CD / DVD 2018)

Blackmore's Night

  • Shadow of the Moon (1997)
  • Under a Violet Moon (1999)
  • Fires at Midnight (2001)
  • Minstrels and Ballads (2001)
  • Past Time With Good Company (2002)
  • Ghost of a Rose (2003)
  • Best of Blackmore's Night (2003)
  • Beyond the Sunset - The Romantic Collection (2004)
  • The Village Lanterne (2006)
  • Winter Carols (2006-2007)
  • Paris Moon (November 2, 2007) DVD & CD
  • Secret Voyage (June 27, 2008)
  • Autumn Sky (September 3, 2010)
  • Dancer and the Moon (June 14, 2013)
  • All Our Yesterdays (September 18, 2015)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ritchie Blackmore | Dinosaur rock guitar.
  2. ^ Heavy Metal Music in Britain , edited by Gerd Bayer, 2016, p. 81
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music , by Colin Larkin, 2011, p. 2006
  4. ^ Ritchie Blackmore | Dinosaur rock guitar
  5. Events 1969 . In: Sixties City . Archived from the original on March 30, 2010. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved May 24, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.sixtiescity.com
  6. New Blackmore's Night CD "Autumn Sky" , Ritchie Blackmore - the Minstrel's web site , viewed September 17, 2010
  7. ^ Birth announcement on Ritchie Blackmore's website. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 22, 2010 ; Retrieved August 9, 2010 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.blackmoresnight.com
  8. in ARD magazine Brisant , September 16, 2010
  9. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 8, 2017 .
  10. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time - David Fricke's Picks. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .