Ritchie Blackmore Only Focused On Commercial Success, Joe Lynn Turner Recalls

Ritchie Blackmore hired Joe Lynn Turner in the early 1980s following the departure of Ronnie James Dio. During the recent episode of Gary Stuckey’s podcast, Joe shared that he became a part of Rainbow to get their tracks to make it onto the top charts because of Ritchie Blackmore’s goal as a band. The singer said:

“I was also doing what I was hired to do. Blackmore wanted a more commercial aspect to his music. He wanted to chart; he wanted to get on Billboard; he wanted to get in the top ten. He was tired of being underground, you know; this is what he wanted. His favorite band, one of them anyways, Abba, the metal god, and Abba!”

When they were working on new tracks, they tried to keep to their roots but also make tracks that would be a hit with the mainstream audience. Turner explained their new approach:

“When we were writing our songs, we kept the rock of the hard rock integrity of the music, but at the same time, we came up with our ‘Stone Cold’s and ‘Street Of Dreams’ and ‘Can’t Let You Go’s and things that hit the popular market and got us not only chart recognition, but we sold more records, and we played bigger concerts and the band elevated.”

A month ago, Turner spoke about how he landed the Rainbow gig in an interview with Rolling Stone. He recalled the whole story of his audition:

“One day, I got a call. I later found out it was Barry Ambrosio. He happened to be Ritchie’s personal assistant. He was, like, ‘Do you like Deep Purple? Do you like Ritchie Blackmore? I was, like, ‘Look, I’m going to hang up right now because this is ridiculous. Who the hell are you?’

He goes, ‘I’m Barry. I’m Ritchie’s personal. He’s standing right here and wants to talk to you.’ He gets on the phone and is like, [British accent] ‘Hey, mate. Fancy coming to an audition?’ I was, like, ‘Who is this really?’ He goes, ‘It’s me.’ I didn’t believe him.”

Although Turner initially didn’t believe them, their tour manager Colin Hart arranged his ticket to come down to the studio. He added:

“Later, they got me a train ticket and picked me up in Syosset, Long Island, to go to the studio. That’s where I met Ritchie and Roger [Glover] at the desk. After about five or ten minutes, they were, like, ‘Now get in there and sing at the mic.’ The rest is history.”

You can listen to the whole interview below.