The Singles Box Set 1975-1986
Review score: 79%
Review Date: February 2014
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
What’s this review copy I see before me? A shiny limited edition 2014 box set of retro singles from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow? It looks so cool – shame I have to give this one back!
The CDs in this very collectible box set come packaged in high quality replica sleeves replete with the original artwork from way back when. Lovely thing for collectors, rock memorabilia enthusiasts and, of course, Rainbow fans. The presentation box is rigid with a lift off lid and features the classic Rainbow logo in all its Spinal Tap-esque glory. The tracks themselves are remastered,as you would expect.
The early days of Rainbow began when Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and recruited most of a band called Elf. Amongst the early line up was a certain Mr Ronnie James Dio. Many, many lineup changes would take place over the years, with famous names such as Graham Bonnet, Roger Glover, Dougie White, Joe Lynn Turner, Bob Daisley and Cozy Powell swapping in and out of Rainbow.
And so the Singles Box Set takes on an evolutionary journey. The earlier Dio era tracks have similar high fantasy themes to his later work solo and with Black Sabbath – wizards and all that. If you listen to Blackmore’s Night and their modern take on Renaissance / medieval music, you might find it quite interesting to compare and contrast their work with the Dio era Rainbow singles. Have a listen to early classics such as Man on the Silver Mountain, Snake Charmer and Sixteenth Century Greensleeves for example.
Power chords, huge riffs and rocking melodies abounded throughout the lifetime of the band, whose hard rock sound would tread deep tracks in the snow for future generations of rock and metal bands to follow. If you want to hear what some would call groundbreaking seventies hard rock then check out Kill the King and Long Live Rock and Roll – great hard rock songs which showcase the late Cozy Powell’s hardcore drum work. The live version of mega-blues track Mistreated is worthy of your playlist.
Over the years, Rainbow evolved to become more radio / chart friendly, with an arguably milder rock sound reminiscent of Foreigner and all that emerging around 1979. A good formula for commercial success in the 80s, albeit at the expense of young fans seeking a harder edge to their music who followed Ronnie over to the revitalised Black Sabbath for the Heaven and Hell album.
The later Rainbow work is good, and listening to it with fresh 21st century ears is very entertaining. Pop-rock numbers such as All Night Long and Since You’ve Been Gone are classics tunes which deserve a place in rock history, and of course I Surrender was probably the band’s best known and best selling single ever.
Me, I’m rather partial to chilling out with laid back numbers Stone Cold and Street of Dreams. Just keep that to yourself ok, don’t want anyone to think I have gone soft in my old age. Wink!
This Rainbow Singles Box is a must-have for collectible for fans of old rock music. Not only that, it’s a history lesson about the evolution of a great band, charting a chapter of guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore’s career from his 1970s departure from Deep Purple through to the mid eighties reunion of the classic Deep Purple Mark 2 lineup.
What’s in the box?
There were 19 discs in total in my review copy, they contained:
- Man On The Silver Mountain / Snake Charmer
- Still I'm Sad / The Temple Of The King
- Man On The Silver Mountain / Snake Charmer / If You Don't Like Rock N Roll / Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
- Starstruck / Run With The Wolf
- Kill The King / Man On The Silver Mountain / Mistreated
- Long Live Rock 'N' Roll / Sensitive To Light
- L.A. Connection / Lady Of The Lake
- Since You Been Gone / Bad Girl
- Since You Been Gone / No Time To Lose
- All Night Long / Weiss Heim
- I Surrender / Vielleicht Das Nachster Mal (Maybe next time)
- Difficult To Cure / Can't Happen Here / Jealous Lover
- Magic / Freedom Fighter
- Can't Happen Here / Jealous Lover
- Stone Cold / Rock Fever
- Death Alley Driver / Tite Squeeze
- Street Of Dreams / Anybody There / Power
- Can't Let You Go / All Night Long / Stranded
- Bad Girl / Spotlight Kid / Man On The Silver Mountain