OVER THE RAINBOW members Greg Smith (formerly of RAINBOW; 1994-1997), Joe Lynn Turner (formerly of RAINBOW; 1980-1984), and Bobby Rondinelli (formerly of RAINBOW; 1980-1983) have issued separate statements regarding the passing of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW):
Greg Smith: "I have lost someone who I looked up to as a teenager and that person became my good friend. I shared many laughs, stories, drinks and good times with him on and off the road.
"Ronnie, I will miss you terribly and always think fondly of the times we spent together and of your tremendous talent.
"Till we meet again, my friend!"
Joe Lynn Turner: "Today we not only lost a legend but we lost a friend.
"Ronnie was a true gentleman of rock... always kind and giving. I was proud to know him... everyone he touched was raised higher. His energy and legacy will live on... and I — as a fellow member of RAINBOW — will continue to sing his praises and his songs.
"May God hold him in his hands... RIP."
Bobby Rondinelli: "I was very sad to hear of Ronnie's passing. He was one of the best singers and writers ever, and every time I saw him he was a total gentleman. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten."
OVER THE RAINBOW is:
Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW 1980-1984) - Vocals
Bobby Rondinelli (RAINBOW 1980-1983) - Drums
Greg Smith (RAINBOW 1994-1997) - Bass
Jürgen "J.R." Blackmore - Guitar
OVER THE RAINBOW's most recent touring keyboardist, Paul Morris (RAINBOW, 1994-1997), replaced Tony Carey, the original keyboardist for OVER THE RAINBOW, prior to the band's performance in front of 12,000 fans at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 4, 2009 in Sölvesborg, Sweden.
Like all members of OVER THE RAINBOW (with the exception of Jürgen "J.R." Blackmore), Paul Morris was also a member of RAINBOW. He recorded and toured with them from 1994 through 1997.
In the '70s, '80s and '90s, RAINBOW released over 20 albums (five gold, four silver), seven Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock tracks, six Top 75 U.K. songs and at least seven MTV frequently played videos. Since 1998, former members of RAINBOW and their respective management offices were overloaded with requests for RAINBOW to reunite. Rondinelli, Smith and Turner agreed that the only legitimate way to accomplish this was to employ a Blackmore on guitar.
Jürgen Blackmore is a critically acclaimed guitarist in his own right and agreed to join this endeavor after realizing how intense the demand was for a RAINBOW "reunion." OVER THE RAINBOW marks the first time that four members from three different eras of RAINBOW have taken the stage together along with J.R. Blackmore.