ENGLISH GUITARIST & MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST
Ritchie Hugh Blackmore was born in Somerset on the 14th of April 1945. Moving to Heston with his family at two years old, his mother opened and managed a store whilst his father worked as an assistant at their local airport. Extremely reserved as a youngster, Blackmore struggled socially and academically at school.
Repeatedly failing his high school entrance exam, it wasn’t until Blackmore rejected academia altogether that he began to find his footing. Receiving his first guitar from his father at 11 years old, whilst working as a mechanic, Blackmore would attend a music school in order to learn the basics of the guitar and hone his craft.
One of the 20th century’s greatest guitarists, Ritchie Blackmore is widely known for his work with Deep Purple, playing the iconic riff on the band’s anthem ‘Smoke on the Water’. With many more collaborative projects and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction under his belt, Blackmore stands as a principal figure in the sound of Rock and Metal.
During the 1960s, Blackmore gained notoriety for his session work with the English producer Joe Meek and his early collaborations with the likes of Heinz, Screaming Lord Sutch and Glenda Collins. Inducted into Deep Purple in 1968, the guitarist helped lead the charge for Rock and Metal throughout the 1970s. Powering the group throughout their commercial peak, Blackmore saw numerous hits and no less than seven gold LPs before his 1975 departure from the band.
Initially aiming for a solo career at this point, it was ultimately with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow that the guitarist would break out of Deep Purple’s shadow. Kicking off with their self-titled debut that year, the group later forged ahead as simply Rainbow to increasing mainstream appeal, working with vocalists such as Joe Lynn Turner before calling it a day in 1984.
Next, Blackmore entered an intriguing period that saw him reunite with Deep Purple for five records over ten years, followed by a mid-90s Rainbow resurrection. Disbanding Rainbow again after 1995’s Stranger in Us All, by 1997, the rock legend formed Blackmore’s Night with his partner Candice Night. Although the group’s debut, Shadow of the Moon, focused mainly on acoustic tracks, later offerings would incorporate everything from medieval to renaissance music. The pair have continued to churn out LPs to this day.
Following his 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction with Deep Purple, Blackmore’s Rainbow reformed once again in a revitalised form for a number of festival appearances in both 2016 and 2017. Captured on the live LPs Memories In Rock: Live In Germany and Memories In Rock II, these records mark an emotional snapshot of a man whose musical journey has taken him from a shy underachiever to a towering icon of rock.
Did You Know?
Ritchie Blackmore was an incredibly withdrawn boy. Such was his introversion, his parents once hoped to surprise him with a birthday party hosting every child their son knew. However, Ritchie got wind of this and promptly sealed himself in his attic for the entire day, waiting for everyone to leave.
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