Graham Bonnet is the epitome of a hard working vocalist. Active since the 60s, whether solo or part of a band, by the beginning of 2018 he’d contributed lead vocals to a staggering twenty three studio albums. As with any artist with such a long career the results are variable, ranging from the essential (his own ‘Line Up‘, Rainbow’s ‘Down To Earth‘ and the Graham Bonnet Band’s ‘The Book‘) to the workmanlike (most of the 90s releases) to the flat out awful (Blackthorne, Impelliteri’s ‘System X’). Whatever the result, it’s almost impossible not to be impressed by Bonnet’s work ethic and tenacity.
Graham Bonnet is one of the UK’s hardest working rock vocalists. In the past, he’s fronted big name bands, been a voice for hire for several widdly guitarists and even found time in between for a hit and miss solo career. When on good form, Bonnet can be terrific (as evidenced on Rainbow’s classic ‘Down To Earth and his own ‘Line Up); when he misses the mark, he has the ability to do so in a devastating way (the Blackthorn debut is pretty nasty, and somehow his solo LP ‘No Bad Habits’ from 1978 ended up being one of the worst albums ever recorded). Despite these inconsistencies, the Skegness born singer has reached legendary status.
After departing Rainbow in 1980 after just one album and tour, Graham Bonnet found himself at a career high. Returning to solo work, the third LP released under his own name, 1981’s ‘Line-Up’ is a huge step forward from his two solo discs from the 1970s. To be fair, it couldn’t be any worse; 1978’s ‘No Bad Habits’, in particular, borders on being a terrible waste of plastic.
At the end of January, rock legends Rainbow will release a six disc, career spanning box set. Much speculation has been made as to what the set supposedly contains. Even at the time of writing, Amazon UK does not share any details.
Although its been common knowledge for some time that the set will contain many unreleased gems, things have been quiet on the tracklist front, but you can now check out the full contents below. Of particular note is the inclusion of the live version of ‘Stargazer’ (previously only available on the Monsters of Rock 1980 live LP) and a DVD containing the TV broadcast version of that same headline performance, clocking in at approximately half an hour. The Donington film has been bootlegged many times, but this set marks the first time it has been issued in an official capacity.
‘A Light In The Black’ tracklist:
With the seventies drawing to a close and with three successful albums released under the Rainbow moniker, the ever-restless Ritchie Blackmore looked to make changes. In a quest to push Rainbow towards a more commercial and radio-friendly direction a big shake up occurred, resulting in the departure of three of the band’s five members. While Cozy Powell retained his position on drums, a quest for a new bassist saw the appointment of Blackmore’s old Deep Purple mate Roger Glover, while the role of keyboard player was filled by future Ten/Deep Purple member Don Airey. Certainly the most devastating loss was that of Ronnie James Dio, who supposedly had no interest in Blackmore’s new vision for the band. Since a talent like Dio’s comes along once in a lifetime, perhaps other musicians would have fought to reach a compromise; but in any band featuring Ritchie Blackmore, Blackmore’s decision is final.