British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore co-founded hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968. He made 12 classic albums with the band between 1968 and 1974 before leaving to join Elf (with Ronnie James Dio) in 1975. Renaming the quintet Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, the group issued eight significant albums (and weathered several lineup changes) over the next nine years. In 1984, Blackmore disbanded Rainbow and joined a re-formed version of Deep Purple, participating in six albums between 1984 and 1995 (including 1984's mega-successful Perfect Strangers). With new outfit Blackmore's Night, in 1997 he resurfaced with Shadow of the Moon; Under a Violet Moon followed a year later. ~ William Ruhlmann & J. Scott McClintock
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