The revamped version of RAINBOW has released its first new music in more than two decades. Two tracks have been made available on iTunes: an instrumental song called “Land Of Hope And Glory”, which is is a reworking of the 1902 British patriotic song of the same name from Edward Elgar‘s “Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1”, and a re-recording of the RAINBOW classic “I Surrender”, which was written by Russ Ballard and was first released by RAINBOW in 1981. The latter song features vocals recorded by current RAINBOW singer Ronnie Romero.
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore stepped away from his Renaissance-inspired brand of music with BLACKMORE’S NIGHT last year to perform a handful of shows with a brand-new lineup of the band he had formed after quitting DEEP PURPLE.
Although Ritchie initially said that he had no plans to make a new RAINBOW album — explaining in early 2016 that he wanted to “just get back to playing the old songs one more time” — he revealed to Japan’s Burrn! magazine that he changed his mind.
The current incarnation of RAINBOW includes Romero, originally from Chile but now settled in Madrid, Spain, as well as STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, BLACKMORE’S NIGHT drummer David Keith, bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert “Bob” Curiano, ex-BLACKMORE’S NIGHT), and backing singers Candice Night and Lady Lynn.
Blackmore was full of praise for Romero, who spends some of his time fronting the Spanish metal band LORDS OF BLACK and is a member of a new project called THE FERRYMEN. “When I heard him, he seemed like the right guy to sing the [Ronnie James] Dio-era songs of RAINBOW,” Ritchie told Burrn!. “He is versatile, he can sing like Freddie Mercury or Ronnie James Dio or Graham Bonnet.
“The reason I did not ask [former RAINBOW singer] Joe Lynn Turner [to get involved in the RAINBOW comeback] is because I thought European fans wanted to hear the Dio lineup of RAINBOW.
“I was very surprised that tickets [to the first RAINBOW comeback shows] sold out in 15 minutes. It was nice to know so many people wanted to hear RAINBOW at this time.”
Joe Lynn Turner last year slammed Blackmore for the guitarist’s decision to go out and perform classic DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW material with a new group musicians instead of reforming RAINBOW with a more “authentic” lineup.
Less critical of the new RAINBOW lineup was former DEEP PURPLE bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, who admitted to Metal Express Radio earlier this year that he had watched some YouTube clips of the new RAINBOW lineup performing in 2016. “Singing Ronnie‘s [James Dio] songs needs a special kind of singer and I think the young chap did a reasonably good job and I think Ritchie may well have found the guy for him,” Hughes said of Romero. “He was certainly a good fit for RAINBOW.”
The two shows RAINBOW played in Germany last June were caught on camera to produce “Memories In Rock – Live In Germany”, which was released in November via Eagle Rock Entertainment on DVD+2CD, Blu-ray+2CD, and digital formats.
After Ritchie left DEEP PURPLE for the final time in 1993, he reformed RAINBOW for one album (1995’s “Stranger In Us All”) and one tour, ending things in Denmark in 1997.
RAINBOW will embark on its first U.K. tour in twenty-two years next month.