The guitarist Ritchie Blackmore started his career in 1960, when the so called “British Invasion” was about to start with bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who. Although he was already in the music business playing in some bands and as a session guitarist, it was only when he helped to form Deep Purple in 1968 that he first achieved fame.
In the following decades he became one of the most influential guitar players in the world because of his work with Purple and with his own band Rainbow. In the two groups he had the chance to perform with amazing musicians, including two legendary vocalists: Ian Gillan and Ronnie James Dio.
Over the decades he became known not only for his musical skills but also for being a sincere person. He talked about many other artists and once mentioned a guitarist and singer that he liked.
The guitarist and the singer that Ritchie Blackmore said he likes
In the music business since the beginning of the 60s, Ritchie Blackmore had the chance to see the evolution of Rock and Roll up-close. His work with Deep Purple in the early 70s was crucial for the popularity of Hard Rock music and inspired many new groups that were appearing during that era.
One of them was Queen, group that was formed in 1970 but only had the chance to release their self-titled debut album in 1973. Blackmore admired the group and during the interviews for his documentary in 2015 “The Ritchie Blackmore Story” he praised the guitarist Brian May and the late singer Freddie Mercury.
“(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) Queen, I first heard them doing a song about a train. This is about 1974 or 1975. I can’t remember the title. But I was very impressed with the guitar playing and of course the singing. I’ve noticed that Freddie Mercury has a cross between Ronnie Dio and almost like an opera operatic type of voice. To me he was a true star. He knew exactly how to milk an audience, what a musician.”
“Some of the stuff they put down all those four part harmonies. Very, very clever stuff. And of course there’s Brian, who is probably one of the nicest guys in the business. A brilliant guitar player to boot. I’ve worked with Brian on other stuff. He is such a nice man. He is a bit too tall but he can’t help that. Wonderful band, excellent band. I was very surprised that they did so well in America,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
Blackmore was an inspiration for Brian May and Queen
The Queen members were inspired by a different variety of music genres. But they also were interested in the British Hard Rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Those groups inspired their heavy sound that was mixed with melody and harmonies, making them one of the best-selling groups of all time.
Brian May always praised Blackmore’s guitar playing and even said that he was “way ahead” of everyone. He said that in an interview with Total Guitar, saying: “Another great hero of mine. He’s crazy. I think he’s one of the most dangerous guitar players ever. And I mean that is in the best possible way. He was there way ahead of any of us,” Brian May said.
By the time Queen released their first album in 1973, Deep Purple already had released 7 albums and some of their most successful ones. The Queen co-founder and guitarist Brian May is such a big fan of Blackmore that he was also interviewed for the musician’s documentary in 2015.
He said that he is a “fireball” and “beyond belief” when playing the guitar. According to him, he doesn’t where Blackmore’s technique came from. Also that he is the one who originated the “wild electric guitar”.
“It’s not just speed (That is Blackmore’s secret). There is a lot of people that can play fast now. But they can’t be Ritchie Blackmore.”
“I think Ritchie will be remembered as a somebody wild and untamed to the end of his days. I think that’s a magnificent thing to be. When people get things all in perspective, Ritchie will be right there as one of the cornerstones of what Rock and Roll is today,” Brian May said.
One of Deep Purple’s most famous songs is “Smoke On The Water” because of the catchy guitar riff. Those chords are usually the ones that aspiring guitarists first learn how to play but according to Brian May, although they seem to be quite easy, no one can play them like Blackmore plays.