Rainbow released Difficult to Cure on this day in 1981.
Rainbow’s fifth studio album debuted yet another new lineup, with Bobby Rondinelli on the drums replacing longtime member Cozy Powell; Powell had departed the band soon after their performance at the first Monsters of Rock Festival. Joe Lynn Turner replaced Graham Bonnet, who reportedly was dissatisfied with the direction the band was going and left after the writing process had begun.
As Rainbow had been the launching ground for Bonnet, Turner too was brought to major fame after joining Rainbow. His prior band Fandango, a pop rock outfit, doubtless impressed the chart hit-hungry Ritchie Blackmore! Don Airey has also mentioned, I believe in his documentary, that some of the members of Rainbow heard him singing in a club and were greatly impressed.
With Difficult to Cure, Rainbow completed its turn to arena rock; it remained there throughout the rest of the 80s. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had apparently been chart fame for a few years. It seems that, given “I Surrender” was their highest-charting single ever at #3 on UK charts, that his ambitions had finally paid off.
Also notable from this album is the title song, a rock cover of the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The group had toyed with such an adaptation during live appearances on their Down to Earth tour. “Difficult to Cure” provided an opportunity for Ritchie Blackmore’s interest and Don Airey’s training in classical music to shine.
Upon its release, Difficult to Cure reached #3 on the UK Charts; this is to date their highest-charting album. It also did well in the German charts, reaching #13 in total. While one live album has outperformed this one, no other studio album managed to match this one’s position.
Despite the success in sales, actual fan reaction is fairly mixed. Many were turned off by the band’s apparent selling out, a resentment which began at the time and has continued to this day.
The band would embark upon an extended tour to support the album later that February. By the end of the tour, Don Airey had quit. Most of the remainder of the lineup remained together until 1984 (with Bobby Rondinelli leaving slightly earlier), when Blackmore disbanded the group.
What do you think of the album?
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- Edit on 2020-09-17: Added information. Optimized for new site.
- Edit on 2021-01-22: Added German chart information.