The story behind the split between Ronnie James Dio and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is unveiled in Greg Prato’s book, The Other Side Of Rainbow. Excerpts from the book, as shared on Bravewords, shed light on the circumstances that led to the departure of the iconic singer from the band.
Wendy Dio, the wife and manager of original Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, opened up about the firing, stating, “He got fired. You don’t have much choice there. I think Ronnie saw it coming.”
David Stone, who served as Rainbow’s keyboardist from 1977 to 1979, expressed his sadness about the situation. He described Ronnie as a genuinely nice person with no ego, easy to get along with, and “just one of the guys.” Stone believed that Blackmore liked to have control over everything, including dictating what Ronnie should sing and the lyrical themes. This control severely limited Ronnie’s creative freedom. Stone added, “Ronnie was like me – ‘We’re working with a rock god here, so we have to accord him that kind of respect.’ I think Blackmore should have stuck with Ronnie. He should have probably let Ronnie have a little more leeway when it came to songwriting and creativity. And he had a great band around him – all he had to do was let the band be a band. But he was a real control addict, and there was going to be none of that.”
When asked if Ronnie and Ritchie ever spoke again after the split, Wendy Dio simply responded, “I don’t think so.”
Mark Clarke, who briefly served as Rainbow’s bassist in 1977, shared his perspective on Ritchie Blackmore’s unpredictable nature. He remarked, “No, nothing about Ritchie Blackmore ever surprises me, mate. When Ritchie is involved with anything, nothing surprises me. I was surprised that it lasted so long.”
In regards to the speculation about the lyrics of the Dio song “Rainbow In The Dark” being about Ritchie Blackmore, Wendy Dio clarified, “I don’t think so, no. Heaven And Hell was – ‘The world is full of kings and queens that blind your eyes and steal your dreams, it’s heaven and hell.'”
Charlie Benante, the drummer of Anthrax, expressed his disappointment that the early days of Rainbow, specifically the first three records, cannot be witnessed or heard again. He described it as a unique moment in time that can only be cherished through memories.
In conclusion, Wendy Dio’s revelations provide insight into the strained relationship between Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore during their time in Rainbow. The clash of creative control and limited artistic freedom ultimately led to Ronnie’s departure. Despite the passage of time, the impact of Rainbow’s early years remains unforgettable to fans and musicians alike, forever preserved in their timeless music.