By Adam Waldman
On April 9, 1978, Rainbow released their third studio album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. The album (which was Ronnie James Dio’s last with Rainbow) peaked at #89 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll saw the continued shuffling of the Rainbow lineup by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. In addition to Dio, the album features Cozy Powell on drums. Bassist Bob Daisley contributed on a few of the tracks, but Blackmore handled most of the bass parts himself. Keyboard contributions came from Toney Carey and David Stone. The album also features guest appearances by the Bavarian String Ensemble, and string players and flute player on “Rainbow Eyes.”
Even before the album was completed at a recording studio in France, the band was playing “Kill The King” with regularity on tour dates dating back to the middle of 1976. In a rare occurrence, the song appeared on a live album (1977’s On Stage) before the studio version was ever released. Surprisingly, the only tracks from the album that were played in a live setting were “Kill The King,” the title track and (on occasion) “L.A. Connection.”
During his solo shows between 2004 and 2010, Dio used to play the title track, “Kill The King,” and “Gates Of Babylon” in concert. Needless to say, this album is one of the most underrated in hard rock history. It never even got the recognition that it deserved from Rainbow, much less from music fans.
In an article in Classic Rock Magazine, it was revealed that the crowd picture on the inside of the album was actually from a Rush concert (not Rainbow). The banner that fans were holding superimposed a Rainbow album title over the actual wording, and the Rush t-shirts in the crowd were airbrushed to black.
In 2009, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll Story was released. It featured the Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album and a book about the making of it. Jerry Bloom, the author of Blackmore’s biography (Black Knight) wrote the story on the inside cover.
To celebrate Record Store Day in 2012, a picture disc of Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll was released in the United States. Later that year (in Europe), a deluxe edition of the album was released. It featured rough mixes of the songs from the album’s July 1977 recording sessions. The one exception being “Gates Of Babylon,” which was the final track recorded, and had not yet been written.
Despite the lack of commercial success, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll remains one of the greatest hard rock albums of all-time. From the aforementioned well-known tracks, to the hidden gems like “Lady Of The Lake,” “Sensitive To Light” and “Rainbow Eyes,” it’s hard to find a better collection of songs.
Rainbow fans are certainly familiar with the entire Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album, but for those who aren’t, showcasing just one song would be disservice. Do yourself a favor and spend around 40 minutes or so listening to the album in its entirety. You will not be disappointed!…