One of the undisputed all-time world champion
s of hard rock guitar
Blackmore was born in London
. A self-taught guitarist, by the mid-1960s
was working with group
s such as the Outlaws
and Screaming Lord Sutch
. In 1967
was approached by keyboard player Jon Lord
to put together a new group.
In 1968 they formed Roundabout, together with a bassist, a drummer and Chris Curtis as
a vocalist, but within a month the project collapsed and Blackmore and Lord decided to have
another go. This time they recruited Rod Evans for vocals, Nick Simper on bass and
Ian Paice for drums. Thus was born Deep Purple.
A year later following some reasonable chart success the vocals were taken over by
Ian Gillan and bass by Roger Glover. In this line-up the band started to produce an
entire new type of music, centred around Blackmore's ever increasing talents on lead guitar
and Gillan's amazing vocal abilities.
Deep Purple enjoyed 5 years of unprecedented success and almost single-handedly invented the
guitar rock genre of music. In 1975 they suffered from the apparently obligatory
"musical differences" and Ritchie left to form Rainbow. He quickly teamed up with another
rock 'n' roll god, the drummer Cozy Powell,
and with singer Ronnie James Dio (later of Black Sabbath) Rainbow shot to success almost as
quickly as Deep Purple had done.
In 1984 Rainbow was "put on hold" as Deep Purple decided to reform. Again they enjoyed
international success with several albums and a world tour before Gillan once again left in
1989. Deep Purple continued without him, with Blackmore at the helm, and then in 1992
Ian Gillan was persuaded to return. The personality clash proved too much for Blackmore and
a year later he quit to resurrect Rainbow.
In 1996 Blackmore was incorporated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and starts to put
together a new band Blackmore's Night, where he remains to this day. Blackmore's influence
on nearly every rock guitarist since the early 1970s has been considerable, and while there
are now players who are faster and/or more impressive, as one of the founding fathers of
rock/metal Ritchie Blackmore went where no guitarist had gone before, a fact borne out by
the fact that most histories of rock music place both Rainbow and Deep Purple somewhere
up in the top ten greatest bands.