WESTON, Conn. -- Happy Birthday To Redding’s Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore!
Blackmore, who has owned a home in Redding, turns 69 on Monday. The British guitarist and songwriter was born April 14, 1945, in Weston-super-Mare, England.
In 1963, Blackmore began to work as a session player for Joe Meek's music productions and performed in several bands. He was initially a member of the instrumental band The Outlaws, who played in both studio recordings and live concerts.
During his solo career, he established neoclassical metal band called Rainbow, which fused baroque music influences elements with hard rock. In 1983, Rainbow was also nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on an instrumental ballad track, "Anybody There."
He was also one of the original members of Deep Purple, playing jam-style rock music which mixed simple guitar riffs and organ sounds.
He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2011. He is also credited as a precursor of the so-called "guitar shredders" that emerged in the mid-1980s.
In 1997 he, with his girlfriend Candice Night formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night transitioning to vocalist-centered sounds. Their latest album, Dancer & the Moon, was released on June 2013, which entered at # 189 on USA's Billboard Album Charts.