Ritchie Blackmore was born in England in 1945. Ab accomplished guitarist by 1967, he was invited, along with Flowerpot Men keyboardist Jon Lord, to form a backup band for a solo project by ex-Searchers drummer Chris Curtis. The band was called The Roundabouts by its management. The original band consisted of Chris Curtis on vocals, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Dave Curtis on bass and Bobby Woodman on drums. This lineup didn't last long, as Chris Curtis was unable to focus on this new project and quickly lost interest. He eventually quit the music business entirely, and went to work with Inland Revenue until he died in 2002.
Dave Curtis and Bobby Woodman also were soon gone, leaving Blackmore and Lord as the only two original members. They soon brought in bassist Nick Simper, who had played with Johnny Kidd's New Pirates, as well as vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice, who had played together in The Maze. Though they initially kept the Roundabouts name, they eventually renamed themselves Deep Purple, after the title of a favorite song of Blackmore's grandmother.
Deep Purple Mark 1 came together in 1968, and in 1968 and 1969 recorded three albums. Blackmore and Lord then decided that they wanted a heavier, as well as more classically oriented, sound. To that end, they replaced Evans and Simper with Episode Six vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. The Mark 2 lineup of Deep Purple has always been considered the "classic" lineup. After several albums, including Concerto for Group and Orchestra, In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, the live Made in Japan, and Who Do We Think We Are, Gillan and Glover left, to be replaced by Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes and unknown vocalist David Coverdale. These two new performers gave a "funkier" sound to Deep Purple in the Mark 3 lineup, which displeased Blackmore. After two albums, Burn and Stormbringer, Blackmore decided to try something different, and he left Deep Purple in early 1975.
Deep Purple had toured in the United States with a New York band called Elf opening for them. Elf featured vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who shared Ritchie's interest in gothic mysticism. Blackmore took Elf over, dismissed the guitarist, and formed Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Their first album was released in 1975, with several others following over the next several years. By 1984 the band had undergone several lineup changes. Dio left in 1978, and was replaced, first by Graham Bonnet, then by Joe Lynn Turner. After Dio's departure, the band changed its sound from a mystical heavy metal style into a "radio-friendly" pop rock sound. Blackmore was the only consistent member of the group.
In 1984 Blackmore decided to put Rainbow on hold when the opportunity arose to reform the classic Mark 2 lineup of Deep Purple. They wrote and recorded two new albums, as well as touring extensively. In 1988 Blackmore fired vocalist Ian Gillan and replaced him with former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This lineup lasted for only one album, then, under pressure from the rest of the band, their management, and their record label, Blackmore brought Gillan back. Blackmore still had differences with Gillan, both musically and personally, and after the next album with the classic Mark 2 lineup, he again departed.
In 1995 he returned with a new lineup of Rainbow. This lineup featured vocalist Doogie White, a fairly decent hard rock voalist, but nothing like his predecessors Dio, Bonnet, and Turner. One album (Stranger in Us All) and one tour, then Blackmore once again disbanded Rainbow. His next project was a shock to his long-term fans. In 1989 Deep Purple had played in a soccer game against the staff of a radio station in New York. At this game Blacmore met one of the radio personalities, Candice Night. They discovered that they both had an interest in Renaissance art and music, and became romantically involved as well. Ms. Night co-wrote some of the numbers on Stranger In Us All, then she amd Blackmore together started writing music based on a renaissance madrigal style. This project, known as Blackmore's Night, has released several albums since 1998, and has kept Blackmore busy. On the first album, Shadow of the Moon, Blackmore played acoustic guitar, accompanied by keyboards and mandolins. On one of the numbers, "Play,Minstrel, Play", Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull played the flute.
Blackmore's Night: Official web page