1978’s “Long Live Rock N’ Roll” was the last album Ronnie James Dio recorded with Rainbow. It featured classic songs such as “Long Live Rock N’ Roll,” “Kill The King,” and “Gates of Babylon.” As the late vocalist recalled in a 1994 interview with Mark Kadzielawa, however, the recording of that album was not a joyful experience (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). He stated that Ritchie Blackmore’s songwriting ambitions were a major factor in his decision to leave the group. Why, according to Dio, “Long Live Rock N’ Roll” was an unhappy album.
“A very miserable album. The band was rapidly approaching its dissolution. We changed people regardless. The addition of Bob Daisley to the band was fantastic. But prior to that, Mark Clarke was a member of the band. In addition, he received a very low grade. This (album) was, I suppose, another opportunity for Ritchie to kick people in the teeth.” The musician continued his explanation of why he left Rainbow by stating that he did not want to create the type of music that Blackmore desired at the time. Dio claims that the guitarist desired to be a Pop Star. “I do not write like that. I desired to retain my roots and intelligence. He desired songs about romantic relationships. That’s it, Ritchie. Ronnie James Dio advised, “Have another love affair, as none of your marriages have been successful.”
The album featured Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore, Cozy Powell (Drums), Bob Daisley (Bass), David Stone (Keyboards), and Tony Carey (Keyboards). Graham Bonnet, who only recorded “Down To Earth” (1979) with the band, replaced Dio. He was later replaced by Joe Lynn Turner, who recorded “Difficult To Cure” (1981), “Straight Between The Eyes” (1982), and “Bent Out Of Shape” (1983). With both vocalists, Blackmore was able to achieve Dio’s goal of shifting the sound and songwriting towards a more pop-oriented style.
Why Ronnie adored the debut album by Elf. In the same interview with Mark Kadzielawa, Ronnie James Dio praised the 1972 self-titled debut album by Elf, the first band with which he gained prominence. According to the musician, he enjoyed that album so much because it marked the beginning of his career. This album was arguably the most significant to me. For me, this is the happiest photo because everyone you see on the back of the album is someone I grew up with. We originate from a small town. We were raised with the same ambition.” “It was the start for me. The band guided me to this location. The band that Ritchie Blackmore listened to and adored during our time with them. He asked me to perform the Rainbow thing with him from this band. This is the most important because it started everything,” said Ronnie James Dio. Curiously, two legendary Deep Purple musicians produced the album: drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover.
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