Many people consider Ritchie Blackmore to be one of the most important rock guitarists in history. Blackmore, a founding member of Deep Purple and subsequently Rainbow, contributed to the evolution of rock music with his distinctive playing style and creative use of classical music elements.
Beyond his guitar, Blackmore’s influence may be heard in how he approaches songwriting and orchestration. He was renowned for paying close attention to every last detail and being open to trying new sounds and musical genres.
Blackmore began his musical career in 1960 at the age of 15, when he played in a number of local bands and worked as a session musician for Joe Meek’s music projects.
Eight years later, he participated in the formation of Deep Purple, one of the greatest and most influential bands in music history. His original association with the band lasted until 1975, at which point he left to found Rainbow, another significant and well-known band.
Blackmore stated which guitarist was his current preference in an interview he gave to International Musician magazine that same year.
Ritchie Blackmore was already regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world in 1975, in large part as a result of Deep Purple’s commercially successful albums “Deep Purple In Rock” (1970) and “Machine Head” (1972).
Blackmore frequently stated that Led Zeppelin’s debut album had a major influence on the group, changing their sound and causing it to become heavier on their early 1970s releases. Yet, as Blackmore noted, Led Zeppelin first acquired that from Jeff Beck’s Group, the guitarist who Blackmore previously declared to be his favorite.
He said, “I like Jeff [Beck]. He’s my favourite guitarist. There are a lot of guitarists around that get overlooked. When you’re a guitarist yourself you tend to get so buried in what you’re doing.”
He said, “Being a guitarist, I obviously know a lot of tricks of the trade. But whenever I watch Beck I think ‘How the hell is he doing that?’ Echoes suddenly come from no-where. He can play a very quiet passage with no sustain and in the next second suddenly race up the fingerboard with all this sustain coming out. He seems to have sustain completely at his fingertips. Yet he doesn’t have it all the time, only when he wants it.”
Blackmore said that he and Beck had been friends before they became famous when paying respect to Beck. When they were still teens, they participated in recording studio sessions together. In an interview for his 2015 documentary “Ritchie Blackmore Story,” Blackmore had previously discussed the incident. Blackmore said, “It is strange how we all come from the same area. Like I said, with Jimmy Page, he was in the same village, it’s like a village. Really not even a town. Clapton was a few more warm miles out and course (Jeff) Beck was in another area, but course, the same age.”
“Then 64 or 65, I met up with him (Jimmy Page), we did a couple of sessions actually with him. One was with Jeff Beck. Jeff took the solo and everybody was raving about the solo, that was a really good solo.”
“I noticed I was playing and he was looking at my hands. I’m like ‘why you are looking at my hands?’ and he responded ‘I don’t know where we are. I’m just following your chords’”