Friday, 16 November 2012

Underrated Musician #5: Graham Bonnet

Yeah, remember this guy? Graham Bonnet, best known for his work for Rainbow in the late 70s (he sang on their album "Down To Earth") often finds himself to be at the end of many of my jokes, but I've been listening to him a little less selectively lately and he really isn't bad at all.
Bonnet with Rainbow, Marbles and Alcatrazz, made some music that was interesting to listen to (if not necessarily anything else.) His voice was tinged with traces of a Spinal Tap quality but he didn't let it limit him-he had some really great songs. All Night Long and Since You Been Gone by Rainbow have evidently got to be the best...although I will admit that I prefer the Joe Lynn Turner sung live versions of the songs, they're good. Really good. Another song on the same album I've been  really addicted to by them lately is "Makin' Love." Very catchy.
How to describe Bonnet's talent, I'm not sure. An add for the Rainbow album back in its day used the word "firey," and I suppose that's not bad. Spinal Tappy too, works. He doesn't have the greatest vocal quality I've ever heard but like I said he made it work. He screamed well, love what he does with the third verse in All Night Long. He inflected well and his songs were interesting to listen to, and unpredictable- you never knew how he was going to sing the next line.
Sadly his personality seemed to contain the same quality- Bonnet was a notorious and sloppy drunk, a trait that made him hard to work with. As a result he never lasted long with any band.
But sticking to a nicer side- Bonnet improved Rainbow from where Dio had brought them (And then Joe Lynn Turner brought it even farther.) He helped define their sound and sang some damn good songs. Now where he falls into the "underrated" category is simple enough- people just don't know who he was. In North America Rainbow never made it that big, and the Graham Bonnet was the most insignificant period in their career. But he was great- he really was- and unique, which is something I only appreciate more and more- and I thank him.

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