Written by band members Joe Lynn Turner, Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover, this song is about a guy whose lover has left him out in the cold.
Turner wrote the lyric after spotting a despondent Glover and asking him what was wrong. Said Glover: "She left me stone cold."
"I heard the story of what happened - the usual divorce proceedings - and I went back to my room and wrote the lyric," Turner said in the book The Other Side of Rainbow. "I knew I had something with that mood that we were putting down."
While the focus of many Rainbow songs was on Blackmore's guitar, Joe Lynn Turner's vocals are the high point of this track. Turner was Rainbow's third lead singer, following Ronnie James Dio and Graham Bonnet.
In America, this is Rainbow's most popular song. It rose to #1 on the Modern Rock chart and was also their only song to crack the Top 40 on the Hot 100. Years later, the song made its way onto the playlists of many classic rock stations.
Much of the song's American success came thanks to MTV, which was just a year old when this song was released. Rainbow, like many British bands, had been making videos for a while, and for "Stone Cold" they made an attention-grabbing clip with smoke, mirrors and mannequins. It was directed by Edd Griles, who produced the first MTV Video Music Awards.