Rainbow was formed by Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, after he left Deep Purple in 1975. He invited most of the Deep Purple supporting band Elf to join him in Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio vocalist, featuring bassist Craig Gruber, keyboard player Mickey Lee Soule, and drummer Gary Driscoll.
First album of the band named Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was recorded in Munich, Germany on February 20th 1975 to March 14th in Musicland Studios. The album was quickly embraced by European fans and some of the songs Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteen Century Greensleeves and Still I'm Sad became very popular between Deep Purple fans.
The bassist Craig Gruber was fired in that time and this took more then a month to find a new bassist for the band - Rising. This pushed the others to live the band except Ronnie James Dio in September 1975, because they didn't fulfill Blackmore’s requirements. Blackmore knew the drummer Cozy Powell (ex Jeff Beck Group) and invited him to participated Rainbow, but the band still needs new keyboardist. Blackmore found him in face of Tony Carey. New bassist Jimmy Bain came just on time to form the Rainbow and start their fist tour.
For the short time Ritchie Blackmore did all these changes and the band started touring in November 1975. They did couple dates in North America and then went to record a new album.
The first concert was in Montreal, Canada second in Heampsted, NY, USA. The band went in the Musicland Studios again and recorded their second album – Rising in February 1976 which in some votes was the greatest heavy album of all time in a 1981.
Following its release, the band embarked upon a successful world tour, culminating in a sold out European jaunt which spawned a best-selling live album entitled On Stage , released in 1977. This album was recorded into Le Chateau Studio in Paris in May 1977 but couldn't finish the forthcoming album. Firings of those two members, Tony Carey and Matt Clark, caused the recordings to be postponed in to the future.
Blackmore and Dio found a new keyboardist Don Airey and the band recorded their forth album – Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll – 1978. Right after this album Dio left the band. Ritchie Blackmore decided to fire Robert Daisley – bass guitar. In the evening of the day Glover joined the band, in November 1978.
The departure of Ronnie James Dio gave Ritchie Blackmore a chance to reinvent Rainbow, which he does to a certain extent on Down to Earth. Adding former Deep Purple colleague Roger Glover as bassist and Graham Bonnet as vocalist, Blackmore tones down some of the excess of the Dio years, particularly in terms of fantastical lyrics, and turns to straight-ahead hard rock, only occasionally adorned by prominent synthesizers. In general, their material is fairly solid, and "Since You Been Gone" easily ranks among the band's best songs, but overall the record is a little generic and sounds very much of its time -- namely, the late '70s, when album rock still ruled the arenas. Nevertheless, Rainbow has a distinct idea, primarily through the guitar artistry and mystical sensibility of Ritchie Blackmore. He sounds invigorated on the album, turning in muscular performances and strong solos on each cut; clearly, the reunion has revitalized him. Unfortunately, Bonnet tends to oversell his vocals, screaming a little bit too often, but he doesn't distract from the fact that Blackmore, Glover, and drummer Cozy Powell turn Down to Earth into a fine hard rock platter. It might not offer anything unique, but it delivers the goods.
After this album Powell left, and Difficult To Cure (1981) marked a clear decadence. New vocalist Joe Lynn Turner co-wrote with Glover and Blackmore most of the tracks of Straight Between The Eyes (1982) and Bent Out Of Shape (1983). In 1984 Blackmore dissolved Rainbow and rejoined Deep Purple.
If Blackmore had been a mad visionary, Ronnie James Dio became a mystical guru during his solo career. Holy Diver (Vertigo, 1983), The Last In Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987), with Sunset Superman, and Lock Up The Wolves (Warner, 1990) are terrible albums of uninspired music. Diamonds (1992) is an anthology.
1995 Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and reestablish Rainbow. The band released "Stranger in Us All" in 1995 and did a USA tour. After the tour Ritchie Blackmore decided to start solo career and that was the end of the band.