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Ritchie Blackmore

He is known as the "Man in Black".

He is one of the great and influential guitarists in the genre of hard rock and Heavy Metal.

He is also the guitarist who created the Neoclassical genre in Metal.

He has a distinctive, precise, and moving sound that just penetrates our bones.

(Photo: Bob King)

So let's take a look at some interesting facts about legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore:

1. He was born on April 14, 1945, in Weston Super Mare, England in the given name - Richard Hugh Blackmore.

2. At the age of 11, he got his first guitar. His father gave it to him on the condition that he take his guitar studies seriously. Indeed, Blackmore began taking classical music lessons for a year.

3. Blackmore hated school, he dropped out of school at the age of 15 and began working at Heathrow Airport as an assistant to a communications technician.

4. He continued to learn to play the guitar, when he took electric guitar lessons from the session player Big Jim Sullivan.

5. In the early sixties he started working as a session guitar player for producer Joe Meek, while simultaneously performing with several bands including "The Outlaws".

6. He co-founded "Deep Purple" in 1968 with keyboardist Jon Lord, after receiving an invitation from drummer and singer Chris Curtis.

(Photo: John Minihan)

7. Ritchie was the one who suggested the name "Deep Purple" for the band, it was the name of his grandmother's favorite song, which was written by pianist Peter DeRose back in the 1920s.

8. In the early years of the band Blackmore used to play the "Gibson ES-335" guitar, but from 1970 he switched to the "Fender Stratocaster" that he plays to this day.

(Photo: Jorgen Angel)

9. He noted that during these years Eric Clapton was the one who helped him develop his vibrato playing style.

10. In its early years "Deep Purple" combined classical music, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and pop. During this time Jon Lord was the one who led the band and wrote most of the material, but Blackmore's playing undoubtedly left a mark on the band's sound, as can be heard in the 1968 album Deep Purple.

11. After three albums with Deep Purple's first lineup that included Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Rod Evans, and Nick Simper, Blackmore, Lord, and Paice decided to change the band's musical direction. Indeed, in 1970 bassist Roger Glover and singer Ian Gillan were enlisted and released the band's first studio MKII album - "In Rock". Already in the first song of the album "Speed King" you can hear how Blackmore has become dominant and the one who is essentially responsible for the heavy sound of the band.

(Photo: Chris Walter)

12. During this time Blackmore began to incorporate more and more classical motifs into his playing, combining blues scales and minor scales in his solos, as can be heard in the album "Machine Head" among others.

13. During the recording of the album "Who Do We Think We Are" in 1973 the frictions between Blackmore and singer Ian Gillan intensified, this led to Gillan and Glover leaving the band.

14. In 1974 Blackmore and "Deep Purple" reinvented themselves with the addition of David Coverdale & Glenn Hughes, combining Hard Rock motifs with Blues, Soul, Funk, and boogie in the excellent album "Burn". Blackmore continues to be one of the dominant members of the band and he adapts his playing to the new style, while maintaining the combination of the classic motifs and the heavy riffs.

15. After the release of the album "Stormbringer" in 1974, Ritchie expressed his dissatisfaction with the album in public. He disliked the musical direction the band was drawn to, and the fact that it included elements of funk and soul.

(Photo: Fin Costello)

16. What ultimately led to Blackmore's departure was related to the fact that the band refused to record cover versions of two songs Blackmore offered: "Black Sheep of the Family" by the band "Quatermass" and Sixteenth Century "Greensleeves", both of which will appear on Rainbow's debut album.

17. Blackmore named the band "Rainbow" after the famous bar "Rainbow Bar and Grill" in Los Angeles where he spent time with singer Ronnie James Dio when they formed the band.

(Photo: Fin Costello)

18. Rainbow's first lineup included all the ELF band members from which Dio came from, but Blackmore fired everyone except Dio after recording their debut album, recruiting drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Jimmy Bain to record the band's second album: "Rising".

19. Following the release of Rainbow's third album 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll', professional disputes began between Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio over the band's musical direction. These disputes eventually led to Dio's departure.

20. From that time on, "Rainbow's" lineup changed under Blackmore's 'revolving door policy, which controlled the lineup with a high hand and which aimed to make the band's materials accessible to a larger audience.

21. Already the first album after Dio's departure - "Down to Earth" included more commercial material that hit the song charts, such as the song "Since You Been Gone".

22. The trend continued on subsequent albums such as "Difficult to Cure" which yielded the band's biggest hit "I Surrender", but at the same time Blackmore preserveג the classic roots, with sections like the theme song that included parts of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

23. In 1984, after two more albums with "Rainbow" - "Straight Between The Eyes" and "Bent Out Of Shape", Blackmore joined "Deep Purple's" successful MKII lineup reunion, which resulted in the excellent album "Perfect Strangers". He remained in the band until 1993 when in 1990 he recruited Joe Lynn Turner, former lead singer of "Rainbow", with whom the band releases the album "Slaves and Masters".

24. During this time of Blackmore with "Deep Purple" he has performed twice in Israel. The first performance was held on September 28, 1991, in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, and the second at Tzemach Beach. Although expectations from the show were high, there was disappointment among the Israeli audience. Blackmore was not focused at both performances and at the one in "Tzemach" he even refused to go up for an Encore.

25. After leaving "Deep Purple", Blackmore formed a new "Rainbow" lineup and released in 1995 the album "Stranger in Us All".

26. In 1997, Blackmore abandoned the rock world and the Fender Stratocaster, forming with his Jewish partner Candice Night the band "Blackmore's Night", in which he plays mainly Renaissance and folk music, also Jewish music such as "Hava Nagila" and " Maoz Tzur".


27. The piece "Carry On… Jon" of "Blackmore's Night" was written in memory of his friend - Jon Lord, after he passed away.

28. In 2016, Blackmore returned to activity with "Rainbow". They made several appearances in Europe and even recorded two new songs - "Waiting For a Sign" in 2018 and "The Storm" in 2019.

29. Blackmore is ranked 16th on Guitar World Magazine's list of the greatest guitarists in metal since 2004.

30. In 1993 musicologist Robert Walser defined him as the most important guitarist for the development of the neoclassical genre, by combining classical music with metal.

31. His solo in the song “Highway Star” is ranked 19th on the list of the greatest solos of all time by Guitar World magazine.

32. Blackmore stated that he loves pop music including "ABBA".

33. Blackmore has released throughout his career 13 studio albums along with "Deep Purple", 8 studio albums along with "Rainbow" and another 11 studio albums together as part of the "Blackmore's Night" project.

34. He has influenced an entire generation of guitarists, especially those from the neoclassical genre, such as Yngwie Malmsteen and John Petrucci.

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