RITCHIE BLACKMORE: ABBA Is 'Probably My Favorite Band Of All Time'

March 3, 2024

During a new question-and-answer session posted on Instagram, legendary DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was asked to name his favorite ABBA song. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's too many. I love them. They are incredible. Their progressions and it's just… It's a funny story with that. We were in a chateau in France trying to do [RAINBOW's] 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll' [album in 1977]. We were all very bored. We were sitting around the fireplace — Cozy [Powell, RAINBOW drummer], myself and Ronnie [James Dio, RAINBOW singer] — and we were getting a little bit kind of irritated because we were not coming up with any ideas. And Cozy said, 'Okay, I have to own up.' And we looked at him, because we'd been drinking, as usual, and we said, 'You have to own up about what?' He said, 'Are you ready?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'I like ABBA.' To which I went, 'Oh my God. I love ABBA.' And then Ronnie goes, 'Yes. So do I.' So now we've all embarrassed ourselves going, 'Ah, we love ABBA,' 'cause you're not supposed to say that. And with that, Cozy runs off to get all the ABBA songs and to play them. And we played, for hours, all the ABBA songs around the fireside in this chateau. We should have been writing our own songs, but it was much better to listen to ABBA."

Ritchie continued: "I think ABBA was the best band. I always listened to ABBA when I was a kid. It was so melodic, and it just worked. It was fantastic. And they are probably my favorite band of all time. And I know it's uncool to say that in certain areas. And they were wonderful."

Asked what he listens to nowadays, Ritchie responded: "I have a bad habit of not listening to the radio. I listen to the radio, but I have a bad habit of listening to talk radio because I don't like what they're playing on the radio. To me, music is very serious and I don't like what's on the radio and I find it disturbing. I find it irritating, but it's the fashion of the day. It's what's selling, and I can see that, but it's not for me. I stopped listening to the radio from a musical point of view about 40 years ago. I would often listen to classical music. I found that more refreshing because it wasn't pandering to the public. But I do not listen particularly to the radio."

Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including "Smoke On The Water", but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure.

During his time away from PURPLE, Blackmore established the neo-classical band called RAINBOW, which fused baroque music influences elements with hard rock before gradually progressing to catchy pop-style hard rock.

Blackmore, 78, quit rock and roll in 1997 to form BLACKMORE'S NIGHT with then-girlfriend Night. Since then, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT has released 11 studio albums.

Blackmore stepped away from his Renaissance-inspired brand of music with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT in 2016 to perform a handful of shows with a brand-new lineup of RAINBOW.

In addition to Blackmore and Night (backing vocals),the most recent incarnation of RAINBOW included singer Ronnie Romero, STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT drummer David Keith, bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert "Bob" Curiano, ex-BLACKMORE'S NIGHT),and backing singer Lady Lynn.

The two shows RAINBOW played in Germany in June 2016 were caught on camera to produce "Memories In Rock - Live In Germany", which was released in November 2016 via Eagle Rock Entertainment on DVD+2CD, Blu-ray+2CD, and digital formats.

After Ritchie left DEEP PURPLE for the final time in 1993, he reformed RAINBOW for one album (1995's "Stranger In Us All") and one tour, ending things in Denmark in 1997.

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