Praised for his successful work with Deep Purple and Rainbow, the British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is often also recalled for not hiding his real opinion on other bands and artists. Over the decades he talked in interviews about many acts, including the famous Progressive Rock band Jethro Tull.
Ritchie Blackmore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of Deep Purple (Even though he didn’t went to the ceremony) back in 2016. Tull still wasn’t picked by the Rock Hall institution.
What is Ritchie Blackmore’s opinion on Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson
Already in an interview with Melbourne Radio back in 1976 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Ritchie Blackmore was already a fan of the British group. When asked which were the artists that he admired the most at the time, he said: “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.
Ritchie Blackmore used to watch Jethro Tull live at least 4 times a year
In an conversation with Steve Rosen at the end of the 70’s the musician declared once again his love for the Ian Anderson band, saying: “Say no more. Ian Anderson is a genius, especially with his later stuff. It’s horrifying to think how he wrote that stuff. But if you talk to him, he goes, ‘Oh, I just count two.’ But you can’t count two over that, it’s 9/ 5 1/2. Their guitarist, (Martin Barre) and the rest of the group have memories like computers to remember that.”
He continued revealing that at that time he used to go see the group play live at least 4 times a year and recalled one story of the concerts, saying: “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.”
“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.”
“Martin is fun, he’s got a great memory. But he hasn’t learned to improvise too well I think. He’s got a problem there with his fingers, but he’s still great. You can’t say anything against him because he’s such a nice guy. And John Glascock is a brilliant bass player, the best in the business in rock. Rainbow was after him, but we couldn’t get him. If you get him on his own he’s great and he’s a natural,” Blackmore said.
Ian Anderson played on Blackmore’s Night record
Jethro Tull leader 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.
In an interview with Classic Rock back in 2016, Anderson said that he doesn’t know Blackmore personally very well and gave talked about the guitarist’s unique sense of humour: “Ritchie is not someone who is palpably comedic. His sense of humour, it has to be said, can be cruel. But he’s definitely not mad.”