“Rainbow: English Castle Magic” by Martin Popoff

Author: Martin Popoff
Title: “Rainbow: English Castle Magic”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date:
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Rainbow would be the creative outlet that Ritchie Blackmore launched after he found himself continually discontent with the way things were going as a result of being a member of Deep Purple. He decided to start again fresh with new people and felt this was better than being at odds with the group and from this his first order of business would be to team up with the young but enigmatic Ronnie James (then a member of Elf). The music the pair would create would not be as steeped in the Blues as Purple was but instead be a Hard Rock exposition filled with images of dungeons and dragons and mysticism as that was what both Dio and Blackmore were interested in. From the onset of the group’s creation the lineup would be a revolving door of talented individuals and this book by Rock Historian Martin Popoff is loaded with the details on all of them and the times that they served as members of this truly incredible, but short-lived group. It’s a band that put the talents of musicians like Cozy Powell (drums), Graham Bonnet (vocals) and Joe Lynn Turner (vocals) into the limelight and helped launch their own careers that had levels of acclaim to them based on their endeavors in Rainbow.

Like many of Popoff’s books this is laid out as an album to album focus. Taking “Rising” for example and defining the goings-on and commentary from around the time of that album. It makes for a great historical read but don’t expect more than the album covers as far as graphics go as this is more about the information. So far it has worked well as the author has done volumes on both UFO and Blue Oyster Cult which were quite interesting. With Rainbow it is a little more interesting as the band had such a revolving door of players and as a result there are numerous opinions to take into account as you hear tales of studio work and touring, the gossip and the dramas, the breakups and the discussions of a never to take place reunion. Everyone who was a part of the band seems to get some dialogue in the book but the most notable absence is anything from drummer Cozy Powell. He was killed in a car crash back in 1998 and as a result opinions from him were just not possible. The book does well in documenting the varied changes that Rainbow went through musically as morphed from traditional Hard Rock and became at times commercially viable Rock & Roll. It’s an in-depth look into a group that provided more impact to the scene than many realize and featured some of music’s greatest performers.

Official Website: www.MartinPopoff.com

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