BLOW IT OUT YOUR OZ: 4/14/18
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll is the third studio album released by the British hard rock band Rainbow, led by legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple fame. The album was released in 1978 and was the last to feature original lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio.
“Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” is the title track on Rainbow’s third studio album released in April of ’78. The band was led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and had Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. For this album the group also featured the late great powerhouse drummer Cozy Powell who would later join Black Sabbath and record three albums with them. Bob Daisley was also a member of this Rainbow line up. Since the 1980s, Daisley has contributed to a wealth of recordings as bassist, lyricist and producer, including an album by Black Sabbath, a solo album by original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward and he was in an out of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band several times over the years and actually recording 5 albums with the Prince of Darkness. The album was produced by master producer Martin Birch who became renowned for engineering and producing albums by Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath! Rainbow was an absolute juggernaut at the time: casually slapping aside the hobbled (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin) or the recently defunct (Deep Purple) elder statesmen of heavy metal, while also establishing the pace for fellow younger powers such as Judas Priest, UFO and the Scorpions to try and keep up with, during the second half of the ’70s. They gave them all a run for their money, while schooling them in the process.
“Kill the King” was the fifth track on Rainbows third album “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” that just turned 40 (like KILO) this April. Already a staple part of the tour setlists, opening Rainbow concerts since mid-1976. “Kill the King” appeared on the live album On Stage in 1977. In the 1977–78 concerts the title track and “Kill the King” were the only songs performed. From 2004 to his death in 2010, Dio’s solo shows featured a live version of “Kill the King”, “Gates of Babylon”, and the title track. The album, among other Rainbow releases, is often cited as a strong influence on formation of Power metal genre, especially on its fantasy-themed lyrics and aesthetics. Kill the King in particular is sometimes called “the first Power metal song”.
The original vinyl release was in a gatefold-sleeve, with a lyric-sheet insert. The crowd picture is actually from a Rush concert, with the wording on the banner the fans were actually holding replaced by the Rainbow album title and the visible Rush T-shirts airbrushed to black.
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll has been remastered and rereleased several times starting in April 1999, then in 2009 on the “Rock Landmarks” series. And again on 12 April 2012 as a special picture disc album version as part of Record Store Day 2012.
Sadly shortly after the album’s original release Blackmore was starting to grow weary of his original Rainbow vision – shifting towards a more commercial sound in the years ahead.
However, Ronnie James Dio had little interest in pursuing this more predictable, chart-conscious hard rock direction. Already starting to grow frustrated under Blackmore’s iron hand and inscrutable personality, Dio didn’t think twice about defecting to Black Sabbath when guitarist Tony Iommi came calling.
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll continues to be widely celebrated as the final essential album of Rainbow’s career.