Why Ritchie Blackmore didn’t like The Rolling Stones

Ritchie Blackmore, a foundational member of Deep Purple and the creative force behind Rainbow, stands as one of the most influential guitarists in the annals of music. His impact resonates across generations, guiding the success of both bands to global record sales. Beyond his musical prowess, the British virtuoso is remembered for his unfiltered candor, consistently sharing genuine opinions about fellow musicians.

This candid approach was not a product of post-success contemplation; Blackmore was outspoken from the early days of Deep Purple. An intriguing chapter in his expressive critiques involves his less-than-favorable view of The Rolling Stones, a sentiment expressed as far back as the 1970s.

At the core of Blackmore’s disapproval was his perception of The Rolling Stones as “idiots” who, in his eyes, were pilfering riffs from Chuck Berry. In a 1978 interview with Trouser Press, Blackmore didn’t mince words: “I considered them idiots. It was just a nick from Chuck Berry riffs. Chuck Berry was OK. Sometimes I’m outspoken, but I don’t have any time for the Stones. I can see why they’re respected and their rhythms are very good, very steady on record. I respect them, but I don’t like them.”

When questioned about his stance on the blues, Blackmore expressed a nuanced perspective, deeming the genre too limiting for his taste. He explained, “I find them a little too limited. I like to play the blues when I’m jamming, but then I want to get on to other things. That depth, which comes out in Paul Rodgers, too. I do like a blues base to some things; that can be very interesting with classical overtones.”

Critiquing The Rolling Stones came at a cost for Blackmore, particularly in his friendship with Mick Jagger. Despite previous praise from Jagger, the guitarist’s publicized criticisms led to a rupture in their relationship. Reflecting on the fallout, Blackmore recalled in a 1975 interview with Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone, “All the big groups knew and raved about me. We played with the Stones once and Mick Jagger said in an interview that I was the best guitarist he’d ever seen. The next [time] I slagged the Stones in print, and that was the end of that friendship.”

Interestingly, despite the discord, Deep Purple recorded parts of their albums “Machine Head,” “Who Do You Think We Are?,” and “Burn” using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, a studio-on-wheels originally owned by Jagger’s band.

In a twist of fate, it was revealed by ex-Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet in a 2023 interview with VRP Rocks that Blackmore, despite his reservations about The Rolling Stones, drew inspiration from their song “Out of Time.” Bonnet shared, “I remember one night he [Blackmore] came and he said to me, ‘Do you know that Rolling Stones song ‘Out of Time’? He said, ‘I’ve got this idea.’” This inspiration led to the creation of “All Night Long,” a song co-written by Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover, featured on Rainbow’s “Down To Earth” (1979) album.

In the complex tapestry of rock history, Ritchie Blackmore’s candid expressions and artistic choices remain a captivating thread, adding depth to the narrative of musical evolution and interpersonal dynamics.

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