Tuesday, November 8, 2011

REVIEW: Classic album review: LONG LIVE ROCK'N'ROLL by RAINBOW (1977)

Rating: 93%.

This is is a absolutely brilliant album that now would be called power-metal or classic-metal, but back in the day was just called metal or hard rock.

I played this many, many times back in 1985-86, and I think it is a phenomenal album throughout, consistently great in every song. Rainbow Rising seems to be regarded nowadays by many people and fans as the best and most famous Rainbow album, and a lot of people foolishly and wrongly disregard this one. In fact it is very hard to even find a CD copy. Some second hand shops have 12 inch LP versions.

"Long Live Rock and Roll" itself is a fantastic power anthem about rock and roll. True, the lyrics aren't very deep, but it really rocks. Fantastic tune. It is my favorite song ever about rock and roll, along with AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)". On this song, the late Ronnie Dio's vocals are very good as usual, strong and powerful, and perfectly complimenting the music. I certainly can't imagine another singer doing this song better.

The lyrics are also (slightly) less mystical and more realistic on this album than on Rising. I don't mind that at all. It works here. For example, the lyrics to "The Shed" sound more akin to AC/DC. I'ts about a night prowler ("no talking/ Street Walking"). You can read the complete lyrics at www.darklyrics.com. Those that like the mystical lyrics will especially enjoy "Lady of the Lake" and "Gates of Babylon".

Dio is at his absolute best on this album, full of power, strength and with a little tongue in cheek humor as well, which has always been characteristically his style, and something which has always endeared him to the fans. I love to hear Dio deliver those lines in "The Shed" such as "I'm a wildcat, Don't need to prove that" and "It takes a strong hand to be a mean man". Sure it sounds macho, but you can feel he is also trying to hide a laugh as well.

My other favorite tracks are "Kill The King" and "LA Connection". Absolutely Fantastic. No singer could rival Dio on these tracks. I think "Kill The King" is based on a bible story in the Old Testament where a jealous queen tries to kill a young boy king in a power struggle, but I'm not sure on this.

This album features the classic line up of Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jimmy Bain (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums), and what a line up of heavy metal jouneymen and great musicians that is. Bain later joined Dio on his 1980s albums such as Sacred Heart. Overall, I can't recommend this album highly enough. It is under-rated, sadly ignored and deserves much more credit than it ever gets. Ronnie Dio's vocals here are stamped with authority and class, and he really makes each and every song uniquely his very own. While Rising feels like Blackmore's album, LLRR certainly feels like Dio's. PS. Yes, I love the ballad "Rainbow Eyes" as well.

FOOTNOTE (added 9 June 2006): Two other [Amazon.com] reviewers state that the bass player on this album was Bob Daisley. I had always thought that it was Jimmy Bain - if wrong, I stand corrected. It's a great album regardless.

By Jack Frost, first posted on Amazon.com 4 March 2005. 

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