Ritchie Blackmore and his Rainbow bandmates had already made the UK top ten with their sixth studio album Straight Between The Eyes when it took its bow on the Billboard 200 on 8 May 1982. Bolstered by a track that didn’t become a big pop hit but was a rock radio smash, the LP became the best performer in the group’s US chart history.
The song in question was the brooding ‘Stone Cold,’ which reached No. 34 on the UK singles chart, and No. 40 on the Hot 100. But it was a major rock radio hit, going all the way to No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, on which it replaced Scorpions‘ ‘No One Like You’ at the top. Written by Blackmore, Joe Lynn Turner and Roger Glover, the song would have a different sort of radio endorsement of the virtual kind many years later, when it was featured in the Grand Theft Auto video game Vice City Stories.
The album came during a stable period in Rainbow’s personnel history. The only change to the Difficult To Cure line-up of the year before was the arrival of David Rosenthal on keyboards to replace Don Airey, the man who these days fills that role for Deep Purple. Turner continued as lead vocalist, while Blackmore’s once and future Purple colleague Glover carried on his linchpin role as bassist, producer and co-writer.
Straight Between The Eyes, recorded in Canada, at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec, entered the US album chart at No. 94. It went on to reach No. 30, matching the performance of their debut release Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in 1975, but outstripping it for longevity, with 23 weeks on the chart compared to 15. The band toured the album around the world, although the UK was, perhaps oddly, excluded from the itinerary.