Happy Birthday Ritchie Blackmore!

It is impossible to talk about the history of heavy metal without mentioning, Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore.

Hailed as the pioneer to this genre, Blackmore has graced the Rock and Roll stage for over 40 years, providing the most memorable guitar ballads on “Highway Star” and “Lazy.” And, of course, perhaps his most famous riff in “Smoke in the Water,” which guitar enthusiasts everywhere have strummed out on their six-strings at least once in their lives.

Later, Blackmore went on to form the hard rock group Rainbow, and shifted gears again in the late 90s to focus on his passion for Renaissance music. What he created, with then fiancée Candice Night, was Blackmore’s Night, and, once again, the guitarist showed the world his best.

Having great influence on such bands as Metallica and Def Leppard, heavy metal owes a great debt to Blackmore and his undeniable talent.

On this day, we wish Ritchie Blackmore a Happy Birthday and many more!

For more on this life and career of this Rock and Roll icon, head to his official website.