The founding member of Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore has to be one of the most influential people in the world of Rock music. The British guitarist is best known for his jam-style hard rock with guitar riffs and organ sounds and as a prolific guitarist who created riffs and solos in a classical way.
He was part of the band from 1968 to 1975 and from 1984 to 1993. While playing, many other fellow guitarists have given their opinion on his playing. On top of that, he himself has never hidden his original thoughts. He has always been sincere with his statements. One of the people who gave thoughts on Ritchie’s playing is the legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen himself.
Ritchie was a great influencer. His entry of fast-paced riffs and solos got hold of many people. Van Halen himself was a big fan of Blackmore. Van and Blackmore had a very strange first meeting. Also, it was alongside Gary Moore and Don Airey.
It was revealed by Don Airey back in 2020. In an interview with Mulatschag TV, he said that he arranged that meeting when he was a member of Rainbow. He remembered,
“There was once when Gary Moore first went to L.A he befriended with Eddie because for the first time in his life he had someone that seriously frightened him. They came to a Rainbow gig at Long Beach. And they both looked so young, especially Eddie.”
“Eddie wanted to meet Richie. I suddenly saw Richie coming and I said ‘Hey Richie! I want you to meet two people. This is Gary Moore and this is Eddie Van Halen’. Richie kind of stormed off (laughs). I don’t know what he thought. (That maybe) I was trying to set him up or something.”
Now on the opinion, Van Halen had on Ritchie Blackmore. It is not really a big surprise, as Eddie was a fan of Blackmore. He particularly liked his whammy bar and fast guitar. He is still known for his speed and fashion.
Back in 2015, while talking with Billboard magazine, Van revealed his favorite guitar riff. He recalled that it was the classic song ‘Burn’ by Deep Purple. It was released in 1974. Not only that, but he also praised Blackmore’s guitar playing.
He also talked about Blackmore too. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2011, he revealed that he loved him. On top of that, the vibrato bar used by Ritchie was loved by him. He said, “Ritchie Blackmore I liked because of his vibrato bar use on ‘Deep Purple in Rock’. Also, they come out with great riffs. I mean, come on, “Smoke on the Water” is one for the history books.”
The feelings they had for each other were complimentary too. Ritchie also loved how Van handled the instrument. He complimented him a lot. In an interview with Guitar World back in 1991, he gave his opinion on Van. He said,
“It depends on my mood. He is probably the most influential player in the last 15 years ’cause everybody’s gone out and bought one of those, what does he play, Charvel, Carvel … Kramer, with the locking nut. Yes, with the locking nut! So everyone’s gone hammer-on crazy! So he’s obviously done something, he’s a great guitar player. But I’m more impressed by his recent songwriting and keyboard work, I think he’s going to be remembered—he could be the next Cole Porter.”
Even after Van Halend’s death at the age of 65, Ritchie went on about how important he really was. He was interviewed by Classic Rock Magazine, where he said, “Eddie Van Halen was a brilliant guitarist who started a technique of guitar playing which was emulated by a whole generation of guitarists.”
“He was one of the nicest musicians I ever met in the music business, very shy and not at all conceited about his ability as a guitar player. Frank Zappa said [Eddie] reinvented the guitar. I agree. He will be sadly missed but his brilliant legacy will always be remembered, the ultimate guitar hero.”