Happy Birthday Ritchie Blackmore! (April 14, 1945)

blog cover image

(Title image created by DALL-E 3)

Hi WA Friends!

Let's celebrate Ritchie Blackmore's birthday, the man who has been called the "Dark Knight" and the "Prince of Darkness" (not a reference to Satanism)!

I published this post a day early because our WiFi might be offline tomorrow. I could have used the new WA blog post "schedule" function, but I wanted to be sure that the title image was oriented just right since it is Ritchie we are talking about! Lol 😎

A Little History

Ritchie Blackmore was born on April 14, 1945, in Weston-super-Mare, England. He received his first guitar from his father at age 11. His name became synonymous with rock and heavy metal guitar innovation in the early 1960s and then rock-renaissance music. His early influences included the pioneering rock and roll sounds of Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly.

Ritchie's professional journey actually started with session work and playing in bands such as The Outlaws and "Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages."

However, his most significant and influential role came as a founding member of Deep Purple in 1968. Blackmore's fiery licks and precise guitar playing with Deep Purple helped define the "Hard Rock" genre. The band's classics like "Smoke on the Water" and "Highway Star" are still staples in rock music history, showcasing his aggressive playing style and innovative use of guitar scales and arpeggios.

After leaving Deep Purple in 1975, Blackmore formed Rainbow, which further explored his interests in classical music and softer rock elements. Rainbow's success continued with hits like "Since You Been Gone" and "Man on the Silver Mountain."

His foray into medieval folk rock in the 1990s with Blackmore’s Night, alongside his wife Candice Night, displayed his versatility and continued passion for blending different musical styles.

Equipment (for WA "Gearheads" Lol)

(Courtesy of me & ChatGPT)

  • Guitars:
    • Early Career (1960s):
      • Fender Stratocaster
      • Gibson ES-335
      • Gibson SG
      • Fender Telecaster
    • Deep Purple Era (1970s):
      • Heavily modified Stratocasters (based on 1970s models):
        • Scalloped fretboards for high-speed playing
        • Seymour Duncan pickups commonly used
        • Increased bridge pickup output
        • Middle pickup commonly removed
    • Rainbow Era (late 1970s - early 1980s):
      • Fender Stratocaster
      • Gibson SG
      • Jackson Soloist
  • Amplifiers:
    • Primarily Marshall stacks (Plexi models like the Super Lead 100) for their high-gain sound
    • Hiwatt Custom 50 DR103
    • Fender Twin Reverb
  • Effects:
    • Wah-wah pedal (specific models vary)
    • Distortion pedals (likely fuzz pedals in the early days, transitioning to overdrive/distortion later)
    • Delay pedals (specific models vary, but tape echo commonly used)

Fender Signature Stratocaster Models:

Richie's guitars have a scalloped fretboard (which was later adopted by Metal player Yngwie Malmsteen). Fender recreated this for his signature Strat.

Ritchie never uses the middle pickup on his guitars because he does not like the sound, and it interferes with his picking style, so he lowers them down flush with the top of the pickguard or removes them from the guitar. His signature guitar has a dummy (non-functional) middle pickup.

There have been two versions of Ritchie's signature guitar. Here is the latest version.

  • Fender Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster (current model):
    • Based on Blackmore's heavily modified Stratocasters
    • Olympic White finish
    • Scalloped rosewood fingerboard (24.75" scale length)
    • Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound™ Flat single-coil bridge & neck pickup
    • Dummy pickups in the middle position (non-functional)
    • Vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge system

I love the early 1970s Strats with the large headstock, the bullet truss rod, and the three-bolt neck plate with the micro-tilt adjustment! They have a sound and playability all their own! My first Strat, which I had custom-built by Fender with an Olympic White body finish in high school, was built like that, but I heavily modified it over the years.

Honors and Awards

(Courtesy of ChatGPT)

  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple in 2016.
  • His riff in "Smoke on the Water" was voted as the number 4 "Greatest Guitar Riff Ever" by BBC Radio 2 in 2014.
  • He won the "Best International Guitarist" award from Metal Hammer Germany in 1991.
  • Won numerous reader's choice awards from guitar magazines throughout his career

Most rock guitarists play the two-note power chord for the iconic riff to "Smoke On The Water" incorrectly. Listen closely, and you will hear that the fifth note goes below the root, not above it!


(Courtesy of ChatGPT)

I highly recommend you check out everything Ritchie recorded, but if you listen to only one album from each category below, then start with Machine Head (1972), Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978), and Fires at Midnight (2001).

Deep Purple (Studio Albums):

  • Shades of Deep Purple (1968)
  • The Book of Taliesyn (1968)
  • Deep Purple (1969)
  • In Rock (1970)
  • Fireball (1971)
  • Machine Head (1972)
  • Who Do We Think We Are! (1973)
  • Burn (1974)
  • Stormbringer! (1974)
  • Come Taste the Band (1975)

Rainbow (Studio Albums):

  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)
  • Rising (1976)
  • On Stage (1977)
  • Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)
  • Down to Earth (1979)
  • Difficult to Cure (1981)
  • Straight Between the Eyes (1982)
  • Bent Out of Shape (1983)

Blackmore's Night:

If you like medieval/renaissance music in the rock style, you need to check out Blackmore's Night, which is his current band that features the vocals of his wife, Candice Night. Really fabulous stuff!

Studio Albums

  • Shadow of the Moon (1997)
  • Under a Violet Moon (1999)
  • Fires at Midnight (2001)
  • Ghost of a Rose (2003)
  • The Village Lanterne (2006)
  • Dancing with Minstrels and Knights (2009)
  • Autumn Sky (2010)
  • Secret Voyage (2013)
  • Nature's Light (2021)

Live Albums

  • Past Times with Good Company (2002)
  • A Knight in York (2012)
  • Celebrating Twenty Years of Blackmore's Night (2017)

Compilation Albums

  • The Best of Blackmore's Night (2000)

Other Projects:

  • Various guest appearances and solo projects

Ritchie And William Shatner Did Some Songs Together!

Did you know that William Shatner teamed up with Ritchie Blackmore to cover the classic B.B. King tune The Thrill Is Gone? The rendition appears on William’s album, The Blues, which is available for purchase on Shatner's website.

Here's a link to The Thrill Is Gone:

William, Ritchie, and Candice Night also did "Space Oddity (Ground Control To Major Tom)" together.

Tell Me What You Think!

Have you heard of Ritchie's music before reading this post?

Which Rock band do you like best, Deep Purple or Rainbow?

Have you listened to anything by Blackmore's Night?

My signed "Deepest Purple" album

Happy Birthday, Ritchie! 🎂 AND ...

Keep On Rockin' 🤘
Frank 🎸

~65% Human-written content

Create Your Free Wealthy Affiliate Account Today!
4-Steps to Success Class
One Profit Ready Website
Market Research & Analysis Tools
Millionaire Mentorship
Core “Business Start Up” Training

Recent Comments


Hey Frank!

Great Ritchie post! What an icon in Rock and Roll!

Over the years we covered several of Ritchie's songs, my favorite being "Since You've Been Gone" by Rainbow. I did not know that William Shatner released an album, let alone Ritchie played on it. I may have to listen to it (or a few seconds of it), but only for the guitar playing. I can't imagine Shatner being a singer. 😂😂

Happy Birthday Ritchie!

Thanks for the great write up, Frank! And Keep on Rockin!

Tim 🎼

Thanks, Tim! 🙏

Ritchie is a guitar wizard! ✨

Have you checked out the Blackmore’s Night stuff, where Ritchie combines Rock with Renaissance and medieval music, but for the most part is very original from that time period?

The band even uses period-correct instruments, like the hurdy-gurdy!

Rock On! 🤘
Frank 🎸

Hey Frank,

I will definitely check it out. I have never been a fan of the "darker" rock but I love to learn and who knows, I may like it now.
I was always about rocking out, having fun and flinging your head back and forth with a huge mop of hair (although if I attempted it now I would likely end up on a backboard in the back of an ambulance).
Regardless, I am looking forward to checking it out!

Thanks again for the "Frank's Rock and Roll Guitar Birthdays" post! Something I really look forward to!

Tim 🎼

Hi Tim

Blackmore’s Night is not what you think. It’s light-heart stuff that is historically authentic.

Let me know how you would classify it after you give a listen.

Haha, I’m so glad you like my guitar BDay posts! 😎

Frank 🤘🎸

Hi Tim

Check out this WA post: Frank 🤘🎸

Hey Frank,

Listened to a lot of Blackmore's Night, she has a fantastic voice and of course Ritchie does some great stuff for sure. I kind of view it as mood music, in the right mood it would be great to listen to.

But regardless of what I listen to on a regular basis, I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for Ritchie and so many others that have played a part in rock and roll and what it has become today (As stated from my soapbox) Haha

Keep on Rockin and enjoy your Sunday!!

Tim 🎼

Cool! I'm glad you liked it, Tim. 😎

It is "mood music," but it has lots of elements of Renaissance writing, and Ritchie has brought this out compositionally and with the instruments the band plays, which is what makes it unusual.

When they are on tour, they play at Renaissance fairs, in front of European castles, and other fun places. Ritchie usually whips out his Strat and works in a couple of Deep Purple and Rainbow tunes.

I love the Rock stuff from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, too!

Happy Sunday! 🥳
Frank 🤘🎸

That sounds really cool!!

I love all things Rock as well!!

Thanks for the conversation Frank. I could talk music all day, unfortunately my yard is screaming at me to mow it!

Happy Sunday!

Tim 🎼

Haha, Tim.

I'm looking at my grass, too. Maybe next week if nothing better is going on. 😎

Frank 🤘🎸

A great article Frank. I'm a big Deep Purple Fan and have been for a long time.

I then loved it when my eldest Son was born on April 14th as Ritchie was.

Happy Birthday 💜🎸🤘🎸🎁🎉

Tracy 😎

Hi Tracy

That’s very cool! Did you name your son Ritchie? Lol😎

Do you like the Deep Purple music with Steve Morse on guitar?

How about Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night? What do you think of that music?

Happy Birthday to your son and Ritchie! Do something nice today to celebrate them both! 🎂🥳

Rock On! 🤘⚡️
Frank 🎸

Hi, Frank.

I once saw an interview with Ritchie Blackmoor and Candice Night. In it, he explained that the riff from Smoke on the Water was just those chords until you put the base into them, and then they become magical (my words). This is when I first heard about Blackmoor's Night. I love their music and Ritchie and Candice are both great artists.

Happy Birthday Ritchie.



Yeah, I’m a big fan of everything Ritchie has done, especially with Blackmore’s Night, and Candice is amazing, too! 😎

Frank 🤘🎸


Thanks a lot for this great article!

You’re welcome.

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😎

Frank 🎸

Pretty awesome, Frank!

Happy Birthday, Ritchie Blackmore!🎂


Thanks, Jeff! 🙏

Do you like Deep Purple or Rainbow (with Ronnie James Dio in one version) better?

Frank 🤘🎸

Both the same, Frank! Different Eras!


Very true, Jeff!

There were multiple re-incarnations of both bands, too. 😎

Frank 🤘🎸

I don't doubt that, Frank!


Very temperamental bands members, Jeff! 😎

Frank 🤘🎸

I don't doubt that either, Frank!


See more comments

Create Your Free Wealthy Affiliate Account Today!
4-Steps to Success Class
One Profit Ready Website
Market Research & Analysis Tools
Millionaire Mentorship
Core “Business Start Up” Training