Happy Birthday today (April 14) to Ritchie Blackmore. The former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist is 73. Also celebrating is current UFO guitarist Vinnie Moore (54).

Ritchie Blackmore was one of the founding members of Deep Purple. Deep Purple formed in 1968 and would become one of the big British hard rock/metal bands of the mid seventies along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Classic rock staples like “Smoke on the Water”, “Highway Star”, and “Space Truckin'” are among their well known singles. Blackmore formed his own band Rainbow in 1975.

 Blackmore eventually retired from hard rock and in 1997 formed folk rock project Blackmore’s Night. Despite leaving the hard rock scene, Blackmore ranked number 50 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’ back in 2011. In 2016, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Deep Purple but did not appear at the ceremony. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow returned in 2016 with a new, revamped lineup that played some shows in Europe. Cheers to guitar god Ritchie Blackmore on his birthday today!

For more on Ritchie Blackmore, check out his official website here.

Vinnie Moore/youtube