Ritchie Blackmore is probably the best guitarist to never top a best-ever list, and I confess I’m just as guilty as the next person.
I was a huge fan, of course. From Shades of through Burn, a period of almost seven years, Deep Purple would have been in my Top Three Bands list. And I was always amazed, astonished, over-awed by Blackmore’s playing – but he never dented my favourite guitarists list.
I’m still not sure why. Too much shredding (albeit before the term came into use)? Really weird notes? Impenetrable, unapproachably angry persona? (Slightly) inferior songs to solo?
All of the above, probably, but it still doesn’t excuse the implied lack of respect. His wow factor can top Hendrix, his that-was-surprising-but-those-were-just-the-right-notes ability could rival Clapton’s, and his duets with John Lord were pure magic.
It’s a mystery. He’s a mystery, one as big as his choice of notes. It’s got me chasing shadows.