British photographer Ross Halfin has teamed up with music journalist Pete Makowski for a new book on Ritchie Blackmore, which collects together hundreds of pictures from the guitarist’s early 80s period with Rainbow, and beyond.
The book – simply titled Ritchie Blackmore – features also features a foreword from Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen alongside contributions from Billy Corgan and fellow photographer Colin Hart.
Halfin first met and started shooting images of Blackmore in 1980. At that point, the guitarist had left Deep Purple and established his new band Rainbow who were enjoying a new commercial breakthrough following their 1979 cover of Russ Ballard’s Since You’ve Been Gone.
“Around this time I met writer Peter Makowski who Geoff Barton (the features editor at Sounds) introduced us with the prophetic words, ‘You two will be bad for each other,’” recalls Halfin.
“Never has a truer word been spoken. Now the one thing I knew about Pete was he knew Blackmore - and I don’t mean ‘knew’ him in a music industry sense - he really did know Ritchie and was a friend of his and as Pete said one day, ‘Let’s go and do Blackmore’.
“I actually can’t remember where I finally met him but I was pleasantly surprised. Ritchie, who I expected to be off and aloof, was completely the opposite. Once I’d met him he was funny, liked a drink and was fantastic company. Pete and I for the period around this book – I suppose you could say were in his inner circle. We travelled with him, we hung out with him.
“As you can see from some of the pictures in this book, Ritchie once you knew him was very accessible and as a photographer I could shoot with him more or less anything I wanted.”
The 304-page “deluxe hardback” book will be strictly limited to 400 copies. 350 copies will be available for £199 (approximately $272), while 50 large format A3 (equivalent to ledger size) editions will be available for £599 (approximately $821).
However, if you can’t stretch to that right now, perhaps you can help to persuade Blackmore's hometown that the guitar legend is worthy of a blue plaque.
The book Ritchie Blackmore will go on pre-sale at 3PM GMT on September 29 from Rufus Publications and will ship in mid-December.