These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.
The band Rainbow started when guitarist Ritchie Blackmore decided he’d had enough of playing in Deep Purple. Dissatisfied with the funkier direction his bandmates were taking around the time of the 1974 album Stormbringer, Blackmore decided to explore the possibility of a solo outing. He recruited a couple of members of the blues rock band Elf, including Ronnie James Dio, along with other handy musicians and recorded the song “The Black Sheep of the Family.” Happy with the results, Blackmore kept the group together, eventually releasing an album billed under the name Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The moniker was eventually shortened to simply the word corresponding to the meteorological phenomenon, and the band started cranking out crunching hard rock songs nicely suited to all the FM stations that were cropping up at the time.
Blackmore may have taken an initial shine to the group he assembled, but that faded quickly enough. Over the course of the next twenty years and eight studio albums, Rainbow never had the same band line-up twice. By the time of the 1982 album Straight Between the Eyes (just look at the cover art!), Blackmore was the only original member still in the group. Bassist Roger Glover was the next most-senior member, having joined Rainbow a whopping three years earlier. Straight Between the Eyes also has the distinction of being home to the band’s only U.S. Top 40 single, “Stone Cold.” That track, of course, peaked at #40.
Rainbow hung on for a couple more years. There were the normal dalliances with reunion common for any band with even an iota of name recognition, including one more studio album in the mid-nineties. Otherwise, Blackmore pursued other projects, including occasional spins with a revived Deep Purple, which likely put more money in his pocket than all of those competing endeavors combined.
—“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
—“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
—“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
—“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
—“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
—“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
—“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
—“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
—“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
—“Come See” by Major Lance
—“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
—“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
—“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
—“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
—“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
—“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
—“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
—“The Bounce” by the Olympics
—“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
—“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
—“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
—“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
—“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
—“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
—“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
—“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
—“Live My Life” by Boy George
—“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
—“So Close” by Diana Ross
—“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
—“You Thrill Me” by Exile
—“What Now” by Gene Chandler
—“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
—“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda