Retro Spin: “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow


Rarely does old school hard rock or heavy metal have a song about a failed romance that is catchy and upbeat-sounding. But arguably, those are the qualities of “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow. With a shuffling feel and an anthem-like guitar riff, a person who is given to dancing could feasibly do so to this tune. But it is about a breakup. There is no happy ending here. The narrator wants to get back together, but alas, the lyrics indicate that the contrary will occur. But this song, with its hard rock groove and swaggering shuffle, sounds like a party, not a broken heart. And perhaps that is why it has been so popular.

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow – -a song that lives in cover versions

The version of “Since You’ve Been Gone” that most Americans are familiar with is actually a cover song. The 1979 version is done by Rainbow with Graham Bonnet on lead vocals. The original, from 1976 was written by Russ Ballard of Argent fame and appeared on his album, “Winning.”

The rock band Head East, also recorded “Since You’ve Been Gone,” in 1978. It became their highest-charting single. Other bands that have covered the song are Clout (a South African all-female band), who covered the song in 1980. Former Runaway singer, Cherie Currie and her sister, Marie, also tried their hand at the song and it broke the Billboard Hot 100 by coming in at No. 95.

Bonnet also sang “Since You’ve Been Gone” as a member of Alcatrazz and Impellitteri. It appeared on the album “Stand in Line” in 1988.

And those are just some of the recorded versions. It is difficult to keep track of which artists might be playing this song live.

“Since You’ve Been Gone” and its popularity

It is always difficult to say what draws myriad groups of people to a song. The lyrics of the song are practically post modern poetry. The imagery of the falling out of bed, because of having the same dream at the same time every night, is one that elicits sympathy. Anyone who has suffered a breakup or a bad night’s sleep can empathize. The lyrics, plus the soundscape that has all the hallmarks of a classic rock song, are likely the reasons people are drawn to this song. Researching types beware: This is not to be confused with Kelly Clarkson’s less grammatical “Since You Been Gone.”

Forty years later, a song that lives in cover version after cover version, still resonates with those who appreciate thoughtful rock music. “Since You’ve Been Gone” is exactly that.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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