Listen: Graham Bonnet & Marty Friedman rework the Russ Ballard classic ‘Since You Been Gone’

In many ways, Russ Ballard’s ‘Since You Been Gone’ feels like a song that just won’t die. From its humble pop-rock beginnings on Ballard’s own (drastically overlooked) ‘Winning’ LP from 1976, the song has passed through several talented hands.

That same year, it was recorded by South African pop band Clout who, by some weird turn of fate, didn’t turn it into a hit, despite their recording making great use of vocal harmonies and sounding like a great follow up to their massive ‘Substitute’. Over in the US, pomp rockers Head East recorded it for their fourth album, and although their arrangement mirrors the Ballard recording in most respects, John Schlitt’s massive vocal presence suggested the song could really rock in the right hands. It was also recorded by Cherie & Marie Currie, twin sisters who managed to take Clout’s harmonies and Head East’s sass and deliver something a little closer to a classic recording, but it was still a case of close…but.

Enter Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, with a recenty reshuffled line up and a sound geared further towards something more commercial than their previous work. They were allegedly handed the Clout recording and told it would suit them. They hated it, but gave it a shot anyway. The result was a massive hit; a single that became a radio staple, and one of the tracks for which Rainbow would become best known, surely to Blackmore’s eternal chagrin.

Following his departure from the band, the song followed Bonnet everywhere. He re-recorded it with Impellitteri, and performed it live with Alcatrazz, Blackthorne and as a solo performer. It’s become one of his calling cards, to the point where many would associate it more strongly with him than its original writer and performer.

There’s now another new version of the track to enjoy! This time, it teams Graham with ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. In terms of recording, the rockier edge comes closest to capturing the Rainbow spirit, easily more so than Blackthorn. It isn’t just a piece of pure nostalgia, however, since the various vocal filters applied throughout lend the recording a more contemporary feel. This means that, in some ways, Graham’s vocal doesn’t quite match the power of the 1979 cut, but the sense of melody remains very strong. As for Marty: he approaches the now very familiar melody with a very restrained hand; a tone that’s sympathetic to the Blackmore performance, but understandably, never a direct copy. His featured solo, in particular, is flawless, despite being much busier than a couple of previous recordings, and it’s great to hear him throwing extra notes beneath the final verse. In this respect, he brings more to the track than the seasoned vocalist, but between them, this really works. It’s a shame about the really flat drum sound, but you can’t have it all…and not everyone gets to be Cozy Powell.

Listen to the collaborative recording below.