In the 1980s, hard rock and heavy metal were all about the way you looked. If you didn't have long hair and dress in studs, spikes, leather, or spandex, you stuck out like a sore thumb. Singer Graham Bonnet -- who sported a look that was equal parts James Dean and Miami Vice-era Don Johnson -- was a prime example of this, despite fronting (albeit briefly) such renowned acts as Rainbow, the Michael Schenker Group, and Alcatrazz. Born December 23, 1947 in Skegness, Lincolnshire, England, Bonnet had his first taste of success in the music biz in the late '60s, when he scored a hit with his band, the Marbles -- "Only One Woman." Bonnet supposedly spent most of the '70s doing commercial jingles before issuing a self-titled solo debut in 1977, which became a hit in Australia due to a cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and scoring another cover hit a year later with the Bee Gees' "Warm Ride." Just before the close of the decade, Bonnet was chosen to replace Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow, which saw the group transform into a more melodic and radio-friendly act with 1980's Down to Earth.
But Bonnet's tenure with Rainbow was short-lived, as he then returned to a solo career, scoring a U.K. hit single with "Night Games" off of 1981's Line Up. Up next was another brief association, with the Michael Schenker Group, which also lasted for a single album -- 1982's Assault Attack. A year later, Bonnet co-formed an all new band, Alcatrazz, which featured two of the biggest rock guitar heroes of the '80s -- Yngwie Malmsteen (on 1984's No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll and Live Sentence) and Steve Vai (on 1985's Disturbing the Peace). However, after a third studio album, 1986's Dangerous Games, Alcatrazz were kaput. Subsequently, Bonnet has appeared on numerous albums by others -- including Pretty Maids, Impellitteri, Blackthorne, Anthem, Stardust Reverie, and Eddie Hardin -- and has also sporadically issued further solo sets (1991's Here Comes the Night, 1997's Underground, and 1999's The Day I Went Mad). Having made the move, permanently, to tour and record, both on his own and with his many serial collaborators. ~ Greg Prato