And this morning we'll tell you about the album that predicted the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus back in 1981 (well, not really).
We are referring to the album "Difficult to Cure" the fifth studio album by "Rainbow", which was released on February 3, 1981.
This album continues the trend that started after the album "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" from the Ronnie James Dio era and passed through the previous album "Down To Earth". A trend led by the vision of "The Man in Black", Ritchie Blackmore, who frantically sought a hit that would conquer the world's radio stations.
The change in perception comes to Blackmore after "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" who manages to enter the top ten on the UK charts and even spawn some singles with minor hits like "LA Connection" and of course the theme song.
Blackmore was not content with the aforementioned minor success and sought to make significant changes in the sound and direction of the band. As a result, Blackmore and Dio parted ways. Dio later joined "Black Sabbath", while Blackmore began realizing his vision. It started with the addition of singer Graham Bonnet and a reunion with his longtime friend Roger Glover who took the bass role. The changes Blackmore made and the friendlier sound adopted by the band paid off, with the 1979 album "Down to Earth" producing two radio hits in the form of "Since You Have Gone" and "All Night Long", which help the album climb to sixth place in the British chart.
But as you're already guessing, Blackmore was still not content with the relative success of that album and push the band even in a more commercial direction, with one of the role models for hin being "Foreigner". Cozy Powell smelled the commercial change and was the first to "abandon ship". He managed to hold on for one more album after Dio left, but was no longer willing to accept the fundamental change in style and sound. Immediately after, singer Graham Bonnet also left the band, both of whom will eventually find their way to the "Michael Schenker Group".
Work on the material for the album begins while singer Graham Bonnet is still in the band. There is even an early version of the song "I Surrender" with Bonnet on vocals. But it was precisely this song that created the controversy between Bonnet and Blackmore and would eventually lead Graham to leave the band.
The musicians selected to replace Powell and Bonnet, are drummer Bob Rondinelli and singer Joe Lynn Turner, both of whom were fairly anonymous until then. Turner's band "Fandango" from New York just broke up and he wandered between auditions and studios in search of a new lineup. One day he got a call from a guy named Barry Ambrosio who started asking him questions about "Deep Purple" and "Rainbow." It seemed strange to Turner and he asked Berry why he was asking him all these questions. Berry replied that he was currently standing next to Ritchie Blackmore asking to find out if he would be willing to audition. Turner thought he was laying with him, but Ritchie Blackmore grabbed the phone and a few days later Turner had already arrived at the Long Island studio where he met Blackmore and Glover. The two played him songs intended for the album and ten minutes later he had already started singing them. He knew his performance was good because he saw Glover and Blackmore beyond the studio glass shaking their heads in a positive way. They later asked him to sing "I Surrender". He asked if he could improvise and Glover and Blackmore confirmed. After his performance, Blackmore walked into the studio with some beers and told Turner he got the job.
When singer Joe Lynn Turner joined the band, most of the musical parts, that were tuned to Bonnet's voice had already been recorded. As a result, Turner was forced to sing in a higher-than-usual tone and only because of this he deserves a compliment for his performance on this album.
It can be said that Ritchie Blackmore's vision came true, as the album became one of the band's most successful, not least thanks to the excellent production of Roger Glover who not only played bass, but also sharpened and crystalized the songs in his role as producer.
This album produced Rainbow's most successful single of all time - "I Surrender", which also won a nice clip and reached number three on the UK charts. This song was written by musician Russ Ballard who even helped "Rainbow" create another hit from the previous album - "Since You've Been Gone". It is interesting to note that according to a version given by Biff Byford from "Saxon", Russ Ballard first offered the song to the producer of "Saxon", but in the end, it was sold to "Rainbow".
But the album is certainly not just the hit "I Surrender". It features other worthy songs like "Spotlight Kid" written by Ritchie Blackmore in collaboration with Roger Glover and features excellent drumming by Rondinelli. The song with the fast pace was Ritchie Blackmore's favorite opener in the band's shows. Blackmore's guitar playing is wonderful and his solos are classic, brilliant and amazing. All is left to wonder, whether the lyrics are a sort of autobiography about "The Man in Black".
"No Release" starts with a cool intro full of reverb combined with distortion. It develops into a number with "Zeppelin" influences. Turner's singing in the first verse reminds us of Paul Rodgers's. Overall this song seems to have much more potential if Blackmore had given up the unnecessary applause section in the middle of it.
"Magic" is simply a sweet and melodic "magic", on the verge of Pop, with amazing singing by Turner. It is also the third single released from the album, written by Brian Moran.
The instrumental piece "Vielleicht Das Nächste Mal" is a bluesy, weepy piece that manages to excite, with perfect Blackmore playing and excellent keyboard work by Don Airey, who also co-wrote it with Ritchie Blackmore.
This is not the only instrumental track on the album. There's also the theme track "Difficult to Cure", which is a kind of reproduction of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which has even received writing credit here. Ritchie Blackmore used to improvise on this piece at length during the band's performances. At the band's performance at Budokan, Japan in 1984, this piece was even played accompaniment by an entire orchestra, a sort of nod to "Deep Purple's" "Concerto for Group and Orchestra". If we have already mentioned the mother band, then this piece was also played at "Depp Purple's" performances, after their reunion.
"Can't Happen Here" opens up the second side of the vinyl in a storm, with its catchy riff and rhythmic and sweeping chorus, that includes vocal harmonies with a gospel scent. This is the second single released from the album and the choice was clear and in line with Ritchie Blackmore's ambitions to break through into the mainstream. The song was written by Ritchie Blackmore and its lyrics are a kind of sarcastic protest on environmental issues.
It is interesting to note that the b-side chosen for this song is "Jealous Lover", an excellent track that was recorded after the album's release and was not included in it. The lyrics to the song recorded on Ritchie Blackmore's 36th birthday, were written by Joe Lynn Turner in five minutes, during an argument between him and Blackmore over another song. It was also released later that year as part of an EP of the same name and includes another new instrumental track that was not included on the album "Weiss Heim".
"Freedom Fighter" continues the commercial line, influenced by 1980s Rock. This is the first song that singer Joe Lynn Turner wrote lyrics for. In contrast, in the song "Midtown Tunnel Vision" written by Turner, Blackmore and Glover, has a scent of "Rainbow" from the days of Ronnie James Dio.
The album cover looks very relevant in the face of the Covid-19 virus. It was initially offered to "Black Sabbath" for their "Never Say Die!" album, but was rejected.
It is interesting to note that the recording technician on the album is Flemming Rasmusse, who was then only 23 years old. Fleming was also one of the owners of the studio where the album was recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, and his work on this album would earn him world fame. "Metallica" who was enthusiastic about the sound of this album, will come to this studio three years later and ask to record the masterpiece album "Ride The Lightning" with Flemming as a producer. Fleming will also produce Metallica's next two albums, "Master Of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All".