February 1981: Rainbow Release 'Difficult to Cure'

Rainbow receive gold records in Japan, 1981
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Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

Given that it’s early February, the weather report is far more likely to call for snow rather than rain, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a little Rainbow nonetheless: since it was on Feb. 3, 1981 that Ritchie Blackmore’s beloved rock band first released the highest-charting studio album of their career in the U.K., we thought it was a perfectly good opportunity to shine a little light on Difficult to Cure.

You can fight it if you want. Eventually, though, we know what you’re going to say: “I Surrender.”

See what we did there?

Produced by band member Roger Glover, Difficult to Cure originally started life with lead singer Graham Bonnet within Rainbow’s ranks, with Bonnet even going so far as to lay down an early rendition of the aforementioned tune that would eventually become the album’s first single, “I Surrender.” Less than enamored of the material being written for the LP, Bonnet bailed out, only to be replaced by a name that ought to be quite familiar to readers of this site: Joe Lynn Turner, then late of the band Fandango.

Because Rainbow had already begun the process of recording the songs sans vocals, Turner found himself having to sing in a higher register than he’d ordinarily have chosen. As rock history reveals, of course, he managed to pull it off, but his future efforts for the band were written so as to be better suited to his preferred range.

As noted, even despite the last-minute line-up change, Difficult to Cure turned out to be the highest-charting studio album of Rainbow’s career, climbing to No. 3 on the U.K. albums chart, with “I Surrender” hitting the same spot on the U.K. singles chart. While the album only made it to No. 50 in the U.S., don’t cry for Rainbow: their follow-up album, 1982’s Straight Between the Eyes, ended up tying the band’s previous chart high in America, hitting No. 30 just as their debut album, 1975’s Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, had done.


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