Joe Lynn Turner Recalls Working With Ritchie Blackmore ‘Copier’ Yngwie Malmsteen

Throughout his music career, Joe Lynn Turner had the chance to share the stage with the iconic guitarists Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen. Although Malmsteen denies that Blackmore directly inspired him to create his own sound, it seems like Joe Lynn Turner has heard otherwise.

When asked about his influences in 2021, Malmsteen named Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Nicolai Paganini, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart. Although he paid respect to guitarists like Blackmore, the neoclassical virtuoso argued that his guitar-playing style originated directly from classical violin and Bach. Nonetheless, he also admitted that Blackmore is his guitar hero. As it turns out, Joe Lynn Turner was an insider in this debate.

“Jim Lewis was a VP at the PolyGram,” recalled Joe Lynn Turner during the interview with Spreaker. “I lived in New York at the time, [and] Jim lived in New York. We used to go to the same bars, cigar bars, and all that and hang out. He just said, ‘Would you consider doing something with Malmsteen?’ And I said, ‘Well, isn’t that the guy that Ritchie says he tries to copy him?’ Because that’s how I knew him, as Ritchie would tell me. Richie would hold up the magazine and go, ‘This guy is trying to copy me,’ and I’d say, ‘Okay, who is he?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, some f*cking sw*g.’”

“I knew of him, but I didn’t really know a lot about him,” admitted Turner. “So, I went up to the office one day, and Jim played me some stuff. I said, ‘Well, he’s a great guitar player.’ He’s very brilliant, started his own school of guitar playing with the arpeggios in the speed.’ ‘But,’ he said, ‘He can’t get on the radio.’ And at that point, radio, it still is, in my opinion, was the big thing. So, he said, ‘So, can you do what you did with Rainbow?’ which is the same strategy that Rainbow hired me for; to get it on the radio, to become more popular, to play more shows, and to have more fans, and break America.”

So, Joe Lynn Turner disclosed that Ritchie Blackmore told him Yngwie Malmsteen was trying to copy him. For that reason, Turner knew Malmsteen as the guitarist who copied Blackmore. Joe Lynn has worked for both guitarists, and he believes that Yngwie is a great guitar player. After hearing his music, Turner joined his Rising Force to do what he did with Rainbow; help him reach a wider audience by getting played on the radio.