Deep Purple has experience massive turnover over the years but Rainbow is an even more chaotic lineup of changes in a much smaller period of time with the only constant factor being Mr. Blackmore himself. However it is clear that Ritchie Blackmore is Rainbow. It is his project, so everything fits just fine. However most people remember the first three albums most fondly, and part of that I suspect has to do with Dio’s presence.
Before Rainbow Dio was the front man for a band named Elf, and that name alone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Dio (originally the band was named The Electric Elves). Ronnie was big into fantasy and rock and roll, it could be argued that he was the original power metal front man and because of this he has endeared himself to many.
|Dio & Blackmore|
It was on Rainbow’s second album “Rising” where my favorite Rainbow track resides, “Stargazer.” There is a variety of reasons why a song like “Stargazer” appeals to my likings. I have always loved long epic rock songs that take us on an adventure and “Stargazer” at eight and a half minutes accomplishes this. Also it tells a story about the failure of religion, and that is something I can always get behind.
The lyrics introduce a community of people building a tower for their messiah so he can fly off and reach the stars. The horrors of this blind devotions are presented from the perspective of a believer and with that Dio emotes a passion for the hopeless project, casually brushing off, or perhaps even lovingly embracing the grim sacrifices these people have to make for their beliefs, in fact every verse builds upon this suffering:
“High noon, oh, I'd sell my soul for water,
Nine years' worth of breaking my back.
There's no sun in the shadow of the wizard.
See how he glides, why he's lighter than air.”
“Hot wind moving fast across the desert.
We feel that our time has arrived.
The world spins while we put his wing together.
A tower of stone to take him straight to the sky.”
“But why? It don't rain with all our chains,
Did so many die, just to see him fly.
Look at my flesh and bone.
Now look, look, look, look, look at this tower of stone.”
By the final verse it has been revealed that the “wizard” was a false prophet as “he falls instead of rising” once atop the tower. These verses show us that not only are these people desperate, dying of thirst, but they are literal slaves to the construction of this pointless holy tower. However we do get a small silver lining at the end, after the wizard has fallen and died, a rainbow, how appropriate, can be seen on the horizon;
“I see a rainbow rising, look there on the horizon,
And I'm coming home, coming home, I'm coming home.
Time is standing still, he gave me back my will,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, going home, I'm going home.
My eyes are bleeding and my heart is weeping,
We still hope, we still hope, oh.”
|Weird but lovable Dio|
Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.
- King of Braves
|Ironically most of the images of the band Rainbow are in black and white.|