We all have bad days at work. But most of us, it’s fair to say, don’t receive threats from vengeful pagan gods during a standard 9-5 shift. If you will insist upon summoning spirits using a ouija board during working hours, however, there may be consequences to face, as guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore discovered during the making of Rainbow’s 1978 album Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll.
In the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, on sale now, writer Mick Wall revisits the making of Rainbow’s third studio album, and reveals that guitarist Blackmore’s penchant for dabbling in the spirit world, caused terror among his bandmates.
As the late Ronnie James Dio once recalled, sessions at the Château d’Hérouville in France took an unexpected turn, when Blackmore conjured the spirit of Baal, the pagan god of fertility and war, during one of his infamous late night séances. The singer remembered that the spirit initially spelled out a message, reading: “I am Baal. I create chaos. You will never leave here, so don’t even try.” This, apparently, upset the other members of Rainbow so much that they insisted that Blackmore put the ouija board away for the night.
However, after Blackmore left the room, Dio, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Cozy Powell couldn’t resist laying out the board once more. This proved to be an error of judgement.
“Once again, Baal appeared,” Mick Wall writes. “This time the message spelled out: ‘Where is Blackmore?’ – just as the door opened and in walked Ritchie.”
“With Ritchie joining them at the board, this time the glass took on a life of its own, whirling around the table before taking off and smashing against the wall. Meeting over!”
Further unexplained happenings bedevilled the remainder of the recording sessions in France. When Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll emerged in April 1978, the album’s sleeve notes included the words: “No thanks to Baal.”
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