By 1973, Blackmore had steered Deep Purple through a significant personnel change, with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover being replaced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. However, the new members were keen to add new musical styles and Blackmore found his request to record the Steve Hammond-penned "Black Sheep of the Family" with "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" turned down by the band. He decided to record the song with Ronnie James Dio instead, using Dio's band ELF (3) as additional musicians. He enjoyed the results, and a full album, billed as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was recorded between February and March 1975 at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. The band name was inspired by the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood.
After the release of three studio albums and an extensive world tour in 1977–78, Blackmore decided that he wanted to take the band in a new commercial direction away from the "sword and sorcery" theme. Dio did not agree with this change and left Rainbow. Together with then new vocalist Graham Bonnet, Blackmore scored a hit single with “Since You Been Gone”.
After more lineup changes and albums, Ritchie disbanded Rainbow in early 1984 to rejoin the reunited Deep Purple.
He resurrected Rainbow once again in early 1994, just after leaving Deep Purple for good. However, Blackmore turned his attention to his long-time musical passion, Renaissance and medieval music. Rainbow was put on hold once again after playing its final concert in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1997. Blackmore, together with his partner Candice Night as vocalist then formed the Renaissance-influenced Blackmore's Night.
Against all expectations, Blackmore reformed Rainbow, with an all-new line-up, in late 2015. Blackmore announced that he would play "all rock" concerts in the summer of 2016 under the banner of 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow', his first rock shows since 1997. The new Rainbow line-up was announced on November 6, 2015. It featured Lords Of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore’s Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau (Bob Curiano).