40th Anniversary of the classic Rainbow album.
Text by Phil Ashdown
The 9th April 1978 saw the release of British rock band Rainbow’s third studio album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, which peaking at No7 in the UK Charts.
The band had been touring worldwide since the release of Rainbow Rising in 1976 and used the song Kill The King to open the shows. Fractures within the band lead to just three core members, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer Ronnie James Dio and drummer Cozy Powell to enter The Strawberry Studio in Château d’Hérouville, France in April 1977 to commence work on the follow-up. The bass guitar parts ended up being played by Blackmore himself after Mark Clarke was dismissed. Keyboards were initially played by former member Tony Carey until permanent replacements could be found. A break in recording was needed for auditions and rehearsals for the imminent tour so the band recruited Bob Daisley on bass and David Stone on keyboards. An extensive tour of Europe during Summer and Autumn 1977 took place which included a show at London’s Rainbow theatre (Rainbow at the Rainbow!). A return to the studio to complete the album with producer Martin Birch in December also included the creation of one more song Gates Of Babylon.
Two singles from the album were released in the UK, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll and L.A. Connection, both of which broke into the Top 40. Although Daisley and Stone are listed on the album credits for their contributions, they joined the band partway through the recording sessions and only appear on three or four songs. Stone wrote parts of “Gates of Babylon” but was never credited.
On the original gatefold sleeve is a crowd picture from a Rush concert, with the wording on the banner the fans were actually holding replaced by the Rainbow album title and the visible Rush T-shirts airbrushed out.
It would turn out to be the last album to feature legendary singer Ronnie James Dio who would leave after the completion of touring duties, not happy with the more commercial direction Blackmore wanted to take the band. He would go on to replace Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. Geoff Ginsberg wrote that Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll “would turn out to be the last great album Rainbow would ever make, although they did enjoy a great deal of chart success in the post-Dio era.”
Many cite the two ‘classic’ Rainbow albums as being a strong influence on the birth of the Power Metal genre due to the fantasy lyrics and stylings, with Kill The King in particular sometimes being called one of the first ‘power metal songs’.
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Cozy Powell – drums
David Stone – keyboards
Bob Daisley – Bass
- Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
- Lady Of The Lake
- LA Connection
- Gates Of Babylon
- Kill The King
- The Shed
- Sensitive To Light
- Rainbow Eyes
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