Ritchie Hugh Blackmore
b. April 14, 1945
Blackmore began his musical career at age eleven when he received his first guitar and began to take classical music lessons. As his skills grew, he started as a session player for Joe Meek’s Music Productions. He also played with many bands including Screaming Lord Such, Glenda Collins and BOZ. He then went on to co-found the band, Deep Purple with keyboardist Jon Lord. After adding vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nick Simper and Ian Paice on drums, Deep Purple was signed to EMI in the United Kingdom and United States.
Blackmore continued to be a major creative part in the band from 1968-1975 and then again from 1984-1993. After leaving Deep Purple the first time, Blackmore formed Rainbow. Rainbow released several albums featuring a variety of different band members including singers Graham Bonnet, Ronnie James Dio and Joe Lynn Turner. By the mid-1980’s Rainbow put out their final album as Deep Purple began to reform.
Deep Purple went on to produce more albums, including Perfect Strangers (1984), The House of Blue Light (1987), Slaves & Masters (1990) and The Battle Rages On in 1993. However, due to tension among the band members Blackmore left Deep Purple for good in 1994. He then reformed Rainbow which lasted until 1997 when he then got together with Candice Night to create Blackmore’s Night.
As for Ritchie’s musical style, he has been classified as “neoclassical” and will most often play a Fender Stratocaster, on which he takes out or disconnects the middle three pickups. Although he does not often use effects, he occasionally used a wah-wah pedal and variable control treble-booster for sustain, and was known to discard the pick and play with his fingers.
Blackmore is considered one of the most influential English guitarists of all time, along with Clapton, Page, Beck and Tony Iommi.