More on Graham Bonnet Week

I kicked off the week with the Down To Earth review and I’m going to elaborate on Bonnet’s penchant for teaming up with legendary guitarists (Blackmore, Schenker, Malmsteen…..). The review schedule will be:

Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979)

Rainbow - Down To Earth

Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979, Polydor)

  1. All Night Long
  2. Eyes Of The World
  3. No Time To Lose
  4. Makin’ Love
  5. Since You Been Gone
  6. Love’s No Friend
  7. Danger Zone
  8. Lost In Hollywood

Total Time – 36:39

Band Lineup:
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar
Roger Glover – Bass
Don Airey – Keyboards
Cozy Powell – Drums

Ritchie Blackmore official website
Graham Bonnet official website

Let’s kick off Graham Bonnet Week with my favorite Rainbow album, and Graham Bonnet’s only Rainbow album, Down To Earth.

After gaining critical acclaim and a strong fanbase, Ritchie Blackmore set his sights on the U.S. charts. Ronnie James Dio (vocals) left the band due to a difference of opinion on the new commercial route Blackmore was steering the Rainbow ship. As Dio went on to front Black Sabbath, Blackmore enlisted former Marbles singer, and solo artist, Graham Bonnet, to be the voice of a more “radio friendly” Rainbow. This would be Bonnet’s first big Rock gig of many to come.

Down To Earth is the transitional Rainbow album, bridging the medieval Dio era to the chart successes of the Joe Lynn Turner era. By the time Bonnet joined the band, the material was already written by Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover, all he had to do was lay down the vocals. What you get is a mix of two styles: the trademark Progressive/Hard Rock music with lush guitar and grand keyboards and more pop oriented lyrics. The lyrics of love won and love lost were major departures from Dio’s tales of castles, dragons, and rainbows. This change gave the band it’s first taste of the U.S. charts with singles All Night Long and the Russ Ballard penned Since You Been Gone. Throughout the album, Graham delivers a memorable vocal performance, a blend of pure power and pop sensibility.

I’m a fan of all Rainbow eras but this album is my favorite because of Graham Bonnet’s vocals and the mixing of styles. Graham’s vocals just jump from the speakers, he belts out his range of vocal power with seemingly little effort. Obviously, the big hit, Since You Been Gone, is catchy as hell. Same with All Night Long. Looking beyond the singles, Eyes Of The World is the mysterious blend of Dio era music with pop lyrics, Lost In Hollywood is straight up Hard Rock, and Love’s No Friend is the moody power ballad. I like the album as a whole, every song a favorite, can’t find a weak link. The “lost” Rainbow album is one of the best Rainbow albums.