To mark the coming of age of Britain's best rock guitarist, we wanted to hear what you think are his best solo performances through the decades, to be chosen from officially released studio and live albums. These could be your favourites, or ones you regard as technical tour de forces. To round off Ritchie Blackmore Month here are the results, which show the top three in each category, ending with the five solos which picked up the most votes over all. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Best pre-Purple solo:

The Outlaws / Shake With Me .... (1964 b-side) mp3 clip
2nd: The Outlaws / You Keep A' Knocking... (1964 a-side)
3rd: Ritchie Blackmore Orchestra / Little Brown Jug .... (1965 b-side)

'Shake With Me' polled twice as many votes as 'You Keep A Knocking', the track whch it was originally a b-side of.
Voter comments: (Shake With Me): "After endless backing tracks 19 year old Ritchie throws everything into a short solo spot - a taste of things to come.." Stephen Kelly.

Best Mk 1 Deep Purple solo:

Why Didn't Rosemary? .... (1969, 'Deep Purple') mp3 clip
2nd: Kentucky Woman... (1968, 'The Book Of Taliesyn')
3rd: Wring That Neck....
(1968, 'The Book Of Taliesyn')

'Why Didn't Rosemary' was a clear winner, and the top three were way ahead of the fourth place solo 'April'.
Voter comments: (Why Didn't Rosemary): "It is one the first of those solos where you think: "He'll stop now" and then he continues and takes it to another level of excellence. For me the first really trademark Blackmore solo." Helmut Gerlach.

Best Mk 2 Deep Purple solo:

Child In Time.... (1970, 'Deep Purple In Rock') mp3 clip
2nd: Highway Star... (1972, ''Made In Japan')
3rd: Highway Star....
(1972, 'Machine Head')

The studio solo for 'Child In Time' was a very clear winner, polling more votes than the second and third place solos combined. 'Child In Time' from Made In Japan finished equal fourth with 'Pictures Of Home'.

Voter comments: (Child In Time / Live In Stockholm): "When I first heard this version it was just jaw-dropping, the work of a genius. " Helmut Gerlach.

Best Mk 3 Deep Purple solo:

Burn.... (1974, ''Burn') mp3 clip
2nd: Hold On... (1974, ''Stormbringer')
3rd: A200....
(1974, ''Burn')

The studio solo for 'Burn' won by a small margin. 'You Fool No One' from 'Live In Paris / Made In Europe' finished fourth. 'You Fool No One' from 'Live In London', and the California Jam also picked up votes.

Voter comments: (Burn) "I always HATED the mastering on that album! All tinny treble, sorta hides one of Ritchie's coolest solos. Most rock guitarists would have a hard time sounding this good even with a distortion pedal covering their sloppy technique. This solo ROCKS without the benefit of any kind of overdrive." Chuck Scales.

Best Rainbow solo:

Stargazer.... (1976, ''Rainbow Rising') mp3 clip
2nd: Gates Of Babylon... (1978, ''Long Live Rock & Roll')
3rd: Kill The King...
(1978, ''Long Live Rock & Roll')

The Rainbow section picked up the widest spread of choices, with over 40 different solos picking up votes. 'A Light In The Black' came fourth, and 'Weiss Heim' fifth.

Voter comments: (Gates Of Babylon): "After a fairly conventional intro, the solo is transformed into a Bach-style tour de force, underpinned by Cozy Powell's phenomenal drumming. I like the way in which the solo is given time to evolve) " Charles Malkin. "There is something in the studio version of "Kill the King" from 1:42 to 3:06 that makes you want to stand up and shout..." Pawe' Sajewicz

Best solo from Deep Purple reunion:

Wasted Sunsets .... (1984, ''Perfect Strangers') mp3 clip
2nd: Knocking At Your Back Door... (1984, ''Perfect Strangers')
3rd: Spanish Archer...
(1987, ''House Of Blue Light')

The Deep Purple reunion section was a very even contest, with a wide spread of choices. 30 different solos picked up votes. The studio version of 'Anya' came fourth, and 'Ramshackle Man' fifth. The top rating MkV solo was 'Fire In The Basement'.

Voter comments: (Ramshackle Man): "A great blues solo. One of the great strengths of Blackmore's solos is that they're hardly ever alien to the song they adorn - they're an intrinsic part of the whole). Charles Malkin. (Spanish Archer): "Once you got through the flat, almost designed-to-fail production, this is a sensational tour de force." Damian Reid.      photo: Alan Perry

Best solo from Blackmore's Night:

Fires At Midnight.... (2001, ''Fires At Midnight') mp3 clip
2nd: Gone With The Wind... (1999, ''Under A Violet Moon')
3rd: No Second Chance...
(1997, ''Shadow Of The Moon')

'Fires At Midnight' received more votes than the second and third choices put together. 'Way To Mandalay' finished fourth. Almost thirty solos received votes.

Voter comments: "Well I like Blackmores Night - infinitely preferable to another 10 years of rehashed riffs in Purple. It now seams he's incapable of pulling on his strat in a studio without producing a great solo. Consequently I feel spoiled for choice, the outro to Gone With the Wind ran a close second and of course the accompaniment on I Still Remember while not strictly a solo is wonderful. Can't ignore the acoustic stuff however, which I love despite the squeaks. Bach House just about wins although for me the short solo on Past Time With Good Company on the live album captures more than anything what Blackmores Night should be all about". Steve Kelly

Solos Which Received Most Votes:

1st: Child In Time.... (1970, 'Deep Purple In Rock')
2nd: Stargazer.... (1976, ''Rainbow Rising')
3rd: Why Didn't Rosemary? .... (1969, 'Deep Purple')
Burn.... (1974, ''Burn')
Gates Of Babylon... (1978, ''Long Live Rock & Roll')

'Child In Time' was clearly the most popular choice, with 'Why Didn't Rosemary' and 'Stargazer' almost neck and neck for second.