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Classic Review: Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

Label: Polygram Records
Year released: 1978
Duration: 39:27
Tracks: 8
Genre: Metal/Hard Rock

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 6, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

Rated 4.07/5 (81.46%) (41 Votes)

Ever wonder where Power Metal started? The style that dominated the 80's, croaked in the 90's and has enjoyed resurgence in the new millennium? Many have read how Hammerfall's Glory to the Brave resurrected the genre, but let's go back a ways, and maybe figure out where it began.

Rainbow's Long Live Rock 'n' Roll has all the elements commonly associated with the Power Metal of today: guitar/bass/keyboard/drum instrumentation, clean vocals (supplied by Ronnie James Dio), lyrical themes ranging from kings ("Kill the King") to faraway lands ("Gates of Babylon") to fantasy ("Lady of the Lake") to rainbows ("Rainbow Eyes" — what did you expect? Dio's involved). The songs are mainly mid-tempo, "Kill the King" is the fastest of the bunch, with hooks and riffs aplenty. Tracks 1 through 6 represent a continual Hard Rock/Heavy Metal crunch-fest that the keyboards support, but don't overwhelm. "Gates of Babylon" features a nice middle-eastern tinged intro and then Ritchie Blackmore just drops a huge riff on the listener at the beginning of "The Shed (Subtle)." Points are deducted for "Sensitive to Light," which sounds like it should have been on a Kiss album, and "Rainbow Eyes," a slower song with just Dio's vocals, Blackmore's guitar and strings, that goes on FOREVER. 3 1/2 minutes would have been better than 7 1/2. Minor complaints when held up to the first 6 tracks.

This album represented the pinnacle of the Dio/Blackmore collaboration. Blackmore would continue with Rainbow cranking out radio-friendly Hard Rock while Dio would stop by Black Sabbath's place to record the excellent Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules albums before going on to his solo career.

So did Power Metal begin in 1978 with Long Live Rock 'n' Roll? Admittedly, the album is more Hard Rock than Heavy Metal and sure, Judas Priest recorded Sad Wings of Destiny in 1975, but when I picture a young Timo Tolkki or Hansi Kursch getting their ideas, I think I hear some Rainbow playing...

Power Metal fans, you owe yourself a listen.

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