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Ritchie Blackmore once put roadies watching Graham Bonnett so he didn’t cut his hair

Ritchie Blackmore Graham Bonnet


Ritchie Blackmore once put roadies watching Graham Bonnett so he didn’t cut his hair

The legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore created Rainbow after the left Deep Purple in 1974. The first singer of the band was the late Ronnie James Dio that was later replaced by Graham Bonnett, when Blackmore wanted the band to sound more pop and commercial.


Bonnett sang with the band only from 1979 to 1980 recording the successful album Down to Earth and then left to pursue a solo career. However, there was a tension between the singer and Blackmore due to his haircut. As he remembered in an interview with The Guardian back in 2017.

Ritchie Blackmore recalled he had roadies watching Graham Bonnett so he didn’t cut his hair:

“We were a long-hair band. In 79, everybody wore denim and had straggly hair. But he looked like a Las Vegas casino man. He had such a great voice, we thought: ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter. We’ll rough him up a bit round the edges.’ But he never took to that.”

Three months before Rainbow’s first show in the United Kingdom with Bonnett, Blackmore told him to let his hair grow. When the day arrived he wanted to cut his hair.

“We had a roadie guarding his dressing room, to stop him getting out. Because he was threatening to have his hair cut. It was very petty. But it had become an obsession with me. But he got out of the back window and went and got his hair cut. I didn’t see him until we went on stage, and, sure enough, he’d had his hair cut really short. He was doing it just to annoy me.”

Naturally Blackmore was furious and wanted to break his guitar on Bonnett’s head. But since they were performing to thousands of fans that day he managed to control his anger and play.  “It’s the principle. I took it as an insult. I don’t think I spoke to him again after that.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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