Ian Anderson’s opinion on Ritchie Blackmore
The Jethro Tull founder, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ian Anderson is on the road with the band since 1967 and had the opportunity to see many other artists playing over the decades and releasing new material.
He talked many times, especially about his contemporaries that also started their careers in the late 60s. One of them is the legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, best known for his work with Deep Purple and Rainbow.
What is Ian Anderson’s opinion on Ritchie Blackmore
Deep Purple started in 1968 as a Rock band that could also have their music labeled as Progressive, since the group’s music was heavily driven by Jon Lord’s keyboards. But after the release of the 1970 album “Deep Purple In Rock” they changed their songwriting, shaping their sound to a Hard Rock approach, that was more focused on the incredible guitar riffs created by Ritchie Blackmore.
Anderson started his musical career with Tull one year before Deep Purple and had the chance to see them evolving over the years. He was even interviewed for the documentary “Ritchie Blackmore Story“, released in 2015.
Ian is a good friend of the guitarist and praised him, saying (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “He is measured, he is thoughtful. He knows the value of clear space, of daylight between the notes. It’s not all about (shredding), it’s about phrasing. It’s about time. The spaces are as important as the notes that they separate.”
For Ian Anderson Deep Purple was more than a regular Rock band
In that same interview he praised Deep Purple, saying that they were much more than a regular Rock band and also described Blackmore’s personality.
“It became obvious to all of us that they were not just another flash-in-the-pan pop rock band. But there was something more of substance. Ritchie will take you on a couple of hours journey of guitar playing which will cover a lot more ground. It’s not just like tipping a pot of multi-colored paint over somebody. This is about drawing people into your dark mysterious web.”
“My gut feeling is that Ritchie is probably at his best when he tends to actually live out the rather quiet, withdrawn, artistic and thoughtful person that I think really is what he is ultimately about,” Ian Anderson said.
Ritchie Blackmore is a big Jethro Tull fan
It turns out that Ritchie Blackmore is a big fan of Jethro Tull and even said back in the 70s that he used to go see their concert about four times every year. In 1976 he was asked by Melbourne Radio (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) which were the artists that he admired the most and he picked Paul McCartney and Ian Anderson. “I admire Paul McCartney and Ian Anderson. Especially Ian Anderson, his songs are just beyond me”.
“They’re beyond the public, by the way he sells to them. If you lived in America you would be suprised because he draws as many (people) as Led Zeppelin and all the rest. An excellent artist on stage in every way. But his writing is something that never ceases to amaze me, brilliant. I’d love to be in that way that he can put across a melody. I just write riffs and chord progressions. But I’m working on it,” Blackmore said.
Also in the late 70s, he spoke with Steve Rosen and shared once more his love for Anderson and Jethro Tull. The guitarist said that the multi-instrumentalist and singer was a genius and that he was really horrified of how talented Anderson was to have released the material that Tull had released recently at the time. During that same interview he revealed that he used to go see them performing multiple times every year.
“In fact the last time I went and saw them was in Paris. They put me right in the front row. I thought, ‘Why do they want me in the front row right in front of Ian Anderson?’ So it came to the last number and Ian leaps off the stage. He lands in my lap and starts singing to me.”
Ritchie Blackmore continued:
“The spotlight is on me and I’m trying to act cool because my girlfriend was there. Whenever he brings out a new LP I say I hope it’s not as good as the rest of them. Because then I’ll feel a little bit better that I can’t write like that. And sure enough, he comes out with another blinder. He gets so involved he writes a symphony. Funny enough, we had a blow with them and they were lost. Barrie Barlow, the drummer, can’t keep a straight beat,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
In the same conversation he revealed that Rainbow tried to get Jethro Tull’s ex-bassist John Glascock at that time. Blackmore praised him saying that he was the best in the Rock business. However they weren’t able to convince him to join the group.
Ian Anderson played on Blackmore’s Night record
Curiously, the two musicians already had the chance to record together. Ian Anderson played on the track “Play, Ministrel, Play” from the 1997 album “Shadows Of The Moon”, Blackmore’s Night debut album. The medieval music band was formed by Blackmore and his wife Candice Night after Rainbow came to an end in the 90s.