Yngwie Malmsteen’s Denial Of A Misconception About Ritchie Blackmore

Yngwie Malmsteen has been a prominent member of the heavy metal scene for over 40 years and has been praised for his innovative neoclassical guitar playing style. His inclination began with his admiration for classical music in his youth. The musician grew up listening to classical music pioneers such as the 19th-century Italian virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini and German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. However, there was another musician who came from a similar background, Ritchie Blackmore.

Like Malmsteen, Blackmore also grew up with music. After getting his first guitar at the age of 11, the musician was directed by his father to take classical guitar lessons. Classical music’s impact on Ritchie’s sound would become noticeable in the following decades, especially in his works with the heavy metal band Rainbow, as he combined baroque music and hard rock elements. Blackmore innovative spirit inspired many musicians over time, primarily with his appearance in Rainbow and Deep Purple. However, Malmsteen disagreed with the idea that he was the first to bring classical aspects to the guitar.

Yngwie Malmsteen Stressed Ritchie Blackmore Is A Blues Guitarist

Throughout his music career, Ritchie Blackmore established his unique style by combining classical and rock elements. As he increasingly connected with music, he added new approaches to his style and created many catchy songs. In addition to classical sounds, blues scales were also featured in his music. That was to such an extent that, according to Yngwie Malmsteen, he was a blues guitar player.

In a 2019 interview with Music Radar, Yngwie Malmsteen revealed that Blackmore was a guitarist he had been highly impressed with since childhood. However, he claimed it is a misconception that he was the first musician to bring classical ideas to guitar, as he was a blues guitarist. According to him, Blackmore reflected this blues style even in various Deep Purple albums like ‘Made In Japan’ and ‘In Rock.’

Malmsteen also pointed out that he was introduced to the classical elements by Genesis’ album ‘Selling England by The Pound,’ which inspired him with its techniques and sound. Later, he broadened his horizons by listening to the music of Sebastian Bach and Beethoven, but Paganini was the one that impressed him the most.

Yngwie Malmsteen said the following about Ritchie Blackmore:

“I disagree with the idea Ritchie was the first to bring classical ideas to guitar; that’s a large misconception. He’s a blues guitar player. When I was eight years old, the only guitar player I knew was Ritchie Blackmore. I thought he was extremely good, and I still think he’s good.

I disagree with the idea he was the first to bring classical ideas to guitar; that’s a large misconception. He’s a blues guitar player, ‘Made In Japan’ is a blues album – let’s not be confused about this. It’s all pentatonic blues, extremely good pentatonic blues, to be fair. ‘In Rock’ is a f*ckin’ incredible; his playing was really good on that!

As for classical, my introduction came from Genesis’s ‘Selling England by The Pound,’ that’s what brought all the harmonic minors, inverted or suspended or diminished chords, and pedal notes to my ears. I thought that album was great. Then I listened to my mum’s Bach and Beethoven records. But when I heard Paganini, everything else meant nothing to me anymore.”

It is known that Yngwie still admires Ritchie Blackmore and mentions at almost every opportunity what an inspiring guitarist he is. In the previous months, he expressed his love for Blackmore and talked about the importance of the Deep Purple albums he had listened to in his childhood. It seems like the guitarist has ben a lifelong inspiration for Malmsteen ever since his childhood.