Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Ritchie Blackmore
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Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore (born 14 April 1945 in Weston-super-Mare) is an English guitarist, who was a founding member of hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. Blackmore left Deep Purple first in 1975 and for a second time in 1993 due to a growing rift between Blackmore and other members in spite of renewed commercial success. His current band is the Renaissance influenced Blackmore's Night.
Blackmore was ranked #55 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Blackmore was born at Allandale Nursing Home, Weston-super-Mare, England, but moved to Heston, Middlesex at the age of two. He was 11 when he got his first guitar. His father bought it for him on certain conditions: "He said if I was going to play this thing, he was either going to have someone teach it to me properly, or he was going to smash me across the head with it. So I actually took the lessons for a year – classical lessons - and it got me on to the right footing, using all the fingers and the right strokes of the plectrum and the nonsense that goes with it." Whilst at school he did well at sports including the Javelin. Blackmore left school at age 15 and started work as an apprentice radio mechanic at nearby Heathrow Airport. He was given guitar lessons by Big Jim Sullivan.
He was influenced in his youth by early rockers like Hank Marvin and Gene Vincent, and later, country pickers like Chet Atkins. His playing improved and in the early 1960s he started out as a session player for Joe Meek's music productions and performed in several bands. He was a member of the instrumental combo, The Outlaws, and backed Heinz (playing on his top ten hit "Just Like Eddie"), Screaming Lord Sutch, Glenda Collins and Boz among others. While working for Joe Meek, he got to know engineer Derek Lawrence, who would later produce Deep Purple's first three albums. With organist Jon Lord he co-founded the hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968, and continued to be a member of Deep Purple from 1968-1975 and again from 1984-1993.
With Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster. He is also one of the first rock guitarists to use a "scalloped" fretboard where the wood is filed and carved out into a shallow "U" shape between the frets.
One of Blackmore's best-known guitar riffs is from the song "Smoke on the Water". He plays the riff without a pick, using two fingers to pluck the strings in fourths.
In his soloing, Blackmore combines blues scales and phrases with minor scales and ideas from European classical music. While playing he would often put the pick in his mouth to play with his fingers.
He has two guitar solos ranked on Guitar World magazine's "Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos" ("Highway Star" at #19 and "Lazy" at #74, both from the album Machine Head).