Written by lead singer Ronnie James Dio and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, "Temple Of The King" describes a spiritual journey to the mysterious Temple Of The King, where he finds his answer.
Blackmore, who was into yoga long before it was trendy, said that he was watching a show called Yoga for Health when he got the idea for the song, which explains the vibe. "A lot of people like that one, a lot of older people like it because it's more mellow, it's not a full-fledged assault on the ears," he told Jon Tiven in 1975. "I don't like to do more than one or two songs like that per album. We probably won't perform that onstage, because the vocal harmonies are very strange in the middle part – I don't think it's a proper stage number, we'd have everyone falling asleep."
Rainbow did perform the song live, but not until after they reunited in the mid-'90s.
Regarding his instrumentation on this track, Blackmore said: "There are two classical guitars on that and one electric, but the electric guitar on that isn't really audible. It's got a medieval progression and a string ensemble/mellotron thing in the middle."
Whether or not Ritchie Blackmore wrote the greatest riff in rock, he has certainly crafted some beautiful melodies. "Temple Of The King" from his Rainbow days has a clearly recognizable Dio lyric, but there are also some fabulous recordings by his group Blackmore's Night - which can't really be called covers. A 1998 live acoustic recording from Olsberg, Germany has a young Candice Night sounding like Stevie Nicks - one of her acknowledged influences - while the Dancer And The Moon album sees a more full-bodied performance from Mrs. Blackmore, by then a mother of two. In an interview Parenthood, 'Darkness,' and Dancer with Dr. Music published after the birth of her first child, the Strawberry Girl, Candice, said:
"We always felt that within that song, it may have been the moment, in the 1970s that Ritchie's fans may have realized that he was interested in medieval or renaissance style music. There were plenty of clues even before that song was created, but that song sort of brought it to the table in a more obvious way. Now, whenever we play onstage and ask for requests, after asking for Blackmore's Night songs, 'Temple of the King' is one of the first ones that gets called out for us to play on stage."
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England
Blackmore wanted the line "In the year of the fox" to be "In the year of the badger," that would have been awkward to sing.