BENT OUT OF SHAPE
Released: August 24, 1983
Recorded: Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark, May – June 1983
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Rock
Label: Mercury (North America), Polydor
Producer(s): Roger Glover
Singles: “Street of Dreams”, “Anybody There”, “Can’t Let You Go”, “All Night Long”
Personnel: Ritchie Blackmore – guitar, Roger Glover – bass, percussion, producer, Joe Lynn Turner – vocals, David Rosenthal – keyboard, Chuck Burgi – drums
Accomplishments: “Anybody There” was nominated for a Grammy Award as the Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1984.
“Can’t Let You Go”
“Fool for the Night”
“Anybody There” (Instrumental)
“Street of Dreams”
“Drinking with the Devil”
“Make Your Move”
“Bent Out of Shape” is Rainbow’s seventh studio effort and their third one with Joe Lynn Turner as the frontman of the band. This AOR treasure is truly the peak of Ritchie Blackmore and Joe’s collaborative songwriting skills as the majority of the tunes are written and composed by those two outstanding musicians. Unfortunately, this record also marks the end of Rainbow’s glory days of prolific and exceptional music. “Bent out of Shape” was particularly designed for and aimed at U.S audiences and despite its commercial success all over Europe; the record indeed was mostly appreciated in the USA. The legendary Roger Glover produced the album and managed to, quite successfully create a brilliant crossover record with the exact right doze of commercialism, radio-appeal and of course – pure old school hard rock.
There’s something quite mysterious and melancholic about this album – from the menacing organs to Joe’s operatic vocals and Ritchie’s dark instrumental solos, the album is definitely bringing us the “old horror movie” vibe. In “Bent out of Shape”, Joe Lynn Turner best demonstrates the range of his vocal abilities as each and every note he sings is full of emotion, passion and intensity that can’t but leave you speechless. In addition to that, what we also get from this record is variety – the audience can enjoy a beautiful collection of classic hard-rockers and instrumentals that go so well together. “Bent out of Shape” provides and a nice and smooth flow that keeps us curious till the very end.
The fines moment of the record has to be “Can’t Let You Go” – a song that is simply timeless. It’s been more than 20 years since its release, but people are still haunted by the stunning organ intro, poetic lyrics and acute keyboards. “Desperate Heart” is the perfect example of an 80s pop-metal tune on which the listeners get to witness one of Blackmore’s greatest solo works. The classical instrumental “Anybody There” is quite dark and depressing, however Ritchie’s excellence makes up for the gloomy mood of the track. “Snowman” is the other brilliant instrumental that contributes to the overall eerie vibe of the album. “Sweet of Dreams” became the ultimate commercial success of the record and one of Rainbow’s greatest classics. Full of melody and dominant vocals, though again a bit gloomy, the song truly rocks pretty hard!
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this album to rock lovers who are searching for something more sophisticated and artsy. “Bent out of Shape” lacks depth and most certainly isn’t an example of a lyrically-outstanding record. It may even sound a bit “casual” as we progress from one song to another. However, it brings other valuable concepts to the table – solid rock music, slaying vocals, brilliant keyboard details and of course – there’s Ritchie Blackmore who effortlessly solidifies the rather soft feel of the record!
Listen to some of the finest moments of “Bent out of Shape” :