Categories

Deep Purple

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members have avoided categorising themselves as any one genre. The band also incorporated classical music, blues-rock, pop and progressive rock elements. They were once listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s loudest band, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. Deep Purple were ranked #22 on VH1′s Greatest Artists of Hard Rock programme.

The band has gone through many line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976–84). The 1968–76 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV. Their second and most commercially successful line-up featured Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums). This line-up was active from 1969 to 1973 and was revived from 1984 to 1989 and again in 1993, before the rift between Blackmore and other members became unbridgeable. The current line-up (including guitarist Steve Morse) has been much more stable, although Lord’s retirement in 2002 has left Paice as the only original member to have never left the band.

History

Pre-Deep Purple years (1967–68)

In 1967, former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis contacted London businessman Tony Edwards in the hope that he would manage a new group he was putting together, to be called Roundabout: so-called because the members would get on and off the band, like a musical roundabout. Impressed with the plan, Edwards agreed to finance the venture with two business partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire (Hire-Edwards-Coletta – HEC Enterprises).

The first recruit was the classically-trained Hammond organ player Jon Lord, who had most notably played with The Artwoods (led by Art Wood, brother of future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and featuring Keef Hartley). He was followed by session guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was persuaded to return from Hamburg to audition for the new group. Curtis soon dropped out, but HEC Enterprises, as well as Lord and Blackmore, were keen to carry on.

For the bass guitar, Lord suggested his old friend Nick Simper, with whom he had played in a band called The Flower Pot Men and their Garden (formerly known as The Ivy League) back in 1967. Simper’s claims to fame (apart from Deep Purple) were that he had been in Johnny Kidd and The Pirates and had been in the car crash that killed Kidd. He was also in Screaming Lord Sutch’s The Savages, where he played with Blackmore.

The line-up was completed by vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice from The Maze. After a brief tour of Denmark in the spring of 1968, Blackmore suggested a new name: Deep Purple, which was his grandmother’s favorite song.

Early years (1968–70)
In May 1968, the band moved into Pye Studios in London’s Marble Arch to record their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple, which was released in July. The group had success in North America with a cover of Joe South’s “Hush”, and by September 1968, the song had reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 2 on the Canadian RPM charts, pushing the Shades LP up to No. 24 on Billboard’s pop album charts. The following month, Deep Purple was booked to support Cream on their Goodbye tour.

The band’s second album, The Book of Taliesyn (including a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”), was released in North America to coincide with the tour, reaching number 38 on the Billboard charts and number 21 on the RPM charts, although it would not be released in their home country until the following year. Early 1969 saw Deep Purple record their third album, simply titled Deep Purple. The album contained strings and woodwind on one track (“April”), showcasing Lord’s classical antecedents such as Bach and Rimsky-Korsakov, and several other influences were in evidence, notably Vanilla Fudge. (Lord and Blackmore had even claimed the group wanted to be a “Vanilla Fudge clone”.) Not satisfied with the possibilities for singles off this album, the band also recorded a single called “Emmaretta”, named after Emmaretta Marks, then a cast member of the musical Hair, whom Evans was trying to seduce. This would be the last recording by the original line-up.

Deep Purple’s troubled North American record label, Tetragrammaton, delayed production of the Deep Purple album until after the band’s 1969 American tour ended. This, as well as lackluster promotion by the nearly-broke label, caused the album to sell poorly, finishing well out of the Billboard Top 100. Soon after the third album’s eventual release, Tetragrammaton went out of business, leaving the band with no money and an uncertain future. (Tetragrammaton’s assets were assumed by Warner Bros. Records, who would release Deep Purple’s records in the US throughout the 1970s.) During the 1969 American tour, Lord and Blackmore met with Paice to discuss their desire to take the band in a heavier direction. Feeling that Evans and Simper would not fit well with a heavy rock style, both were replaced that summer. Paice stated, “A change had to come. If they hadn’t left, the band would have totally disintegrated.”

In search of a replacement vocalist, Blackmore set his own sights on 19-year-old singer Terry Reid, who declined a similar opportunity to front the newly forming Led Zeppelin only a year earlier. Though he found the offer “flattering”, Reid was still bound by the exclusive recording contract with his producer Mickie Most and more interested in his solo career. Blackmore had no other choice but to look elsewhere. The band hunted down singer Ian Gillan from Episode Six, a band that had released several singles in the UK without achieving their big break for commercial success. Gillan had at one time been approached by Nick Simper when Deep Purple was first forming, but Gillan had reportedly told Simper that the Roundabout project would not go anywhere, while he felt Episode Six was poised to make it big. Six’s drummer Mick Underwood – an old comrade of Blackmore’s from The Outlaws, days – introduced the band to Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. This effectively killed Episode Six and gave Underwood a guilt complex that lasted nearly a decade, until Gillan recruited him for his new post-Purple band in the late 1970s. This created the Deep Purple Mark II line-up, whose first release was a Greenaway-Cook tune titled “Hallelujah”. Despite TV appearances to promote the record in the UK, the song flopped. Blackmore had told the Record Mirror they “need to have a commercial record in Britain”, and described the song as “an in-between sort of thing”—a median between what the band would normally make but with an added commercial motive.

The band gained some much-needed publicity in September 1969, with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, a three-movement epic composed by Lord as a solo project and performed by the band at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold. Together with Five Bridges by The Nice, it was one of the first collaborations between a rock band and an orchestra. This live album became their first album with any kind of chart success in the UK. However, Gillan and Blackmore especially were less than happy at the band being tagged as “a group who played with orchestras” at the time; what they had in mind was to develop the band into a much tighter, hard-rocking style. Despite this, Lord wrote the Gemini Suite, another orchestra/group collaboration in the same vein, for the band in late 1970. Roger Glover later claimed Jon Lord had appeared to be the leader of the band in the early years. In 1975, Blackmore stated that he thought the Concerto for Group and Orchestra wasn’t bad but the Gemini Suite was horrible and very disjointed.

Breakthrough and break-up (1970–76)
Shortly after the orchestral release, Deep Purple began a hectic touring and recording schedule that was to see little respite for the next three years. Their first studio album of this period, released in mid-1970, was In Rock (a name supported by the album’s Mount Rushmore-inspired cover), which contained the then-concert staples “Speed King”, “Into The Fire” and “Child in Time”. The band also issued the UK Top Ten single “Black Night”. The interplay between Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s distorted organ, coupled with Gillan’s howling vocals and the rhythm section of Glover and Paice, now started to take on a unique identity that further separated the band from its earlier albums. Along with Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II and Sabbath’s Paranoid, In Rock codified the heavy metal genre.

A second album, the creatively progressive Fireball, was issued in the summer of 1971. The title track “Fireball” was released as a single, as was “Strange Kind of Woman”, not from the album but recorded during the same sessions (although it replaced “Demon’s Eye” on the US version of the album).

Within weeks of Fireball’s release, the band were already performing songs planned for the next album. One song (which later became “Highway Star”) was performed at the first gig of the Fireball tour, having been written on the bus to a show in Portsmouth, in answer to a journalist’s question: “How do you go about writing songs?” Three months later, in December 1971, the band travelled to Switzerland to record Machine Head. The album was due to be recorded at a casino in Montreux, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig, caused by a man firing a flare gun into the ceiling, burned down the casino. This incident famously inspired the song “Smoke on the Water”. The album was later recorded in a corridor at the nearby empty Grand Hotel.

Continuing from where both previous albums left off, Machine Head has become one of the band’s most famous albums. It reached number 1 in the UK and number 7 in the U.S., and included tracks that became live classics, such as “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin’”, “Lazy” and “Smoke on the Water”, for which Deep Purple is most famous. Deep Purple continued to tour and record at a rate that would be rare thirty years on; when Machine Head was recorded, the group had only been together three and a half years, yet the album was their sixth. Meanwhile, the band undertook four North America tours in 1972, and a Japan tour that led to a double-vinyl live release, Made in Japan. Originally intended as a Japan-only record, its worldwide release saw the double LP become an instant hit. It remains one of rock music’s most popular and highest selling live-concert recordings.

The classic Deep Purple Mark II line-up continued to work, and released the album Who Do We Think We Are (1973), featuring the hit single “Woman from Tokyo”, but internal tensions and exhaustion were more noticeable than ever. In many ways, the band had become victims of their own success. Following the successes of Machine Head and Made in Japan, the addition of Who Do We Think We Are made them the top-selling artists of 1973 in the US. Ian Gillan admitted in a 1984 interview that the band was pushed by management to complete the album on time and go on tour, although they badly needed a break. The bad feelings culminated in Gillan, followed by Glover, quitting the band after their second tour of Japan in the summer of 1973 over tensions with Blackmore.

The band first hired Midlands bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, formerly of Trapeze. According to Ian Paice, Glover had told him and Lord that he wanted to leave the band a few months before his official resignation, so they had already started to drop in on Trapeze shows. After acquiring Hughes, they debated continuing as a four-piece band, with Hughes as both bassist and lead vocalist. According to Hughes, he was persuaded to join under the guise that the band would be bringing in Paul Rodgers of Free as a co-lead vocalist, but by that time Rodgers had just started Bad Company. Instead, auditions were held for lead vocal replacements. They settled on David Coverdale, an unknown singer from Saltburn in Northeast England, primarily because Blackmore liked his masculine, blues-tinged voice.

This new line-up continued into 1974, and their spring tour included shows at Madison Square Garden, New York on 13 March, and Nassau Coliseum four days later. The band then headlined the famous California Jam festival at Ontario Motor Speedway located in Southern California on 6 April 1974. Attracting over 250,000 fans, the festival also included 1970s rock giants Black Sabbath, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals and Crofts, Rare Earth and Black Oak Arkansas. Portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the US, exposing the band to a wider audience. This line-up’s first album, titled Burn, was a highly successful release (only the second studio album, after Machine Head, to crack the US Top 10), and was followed by another world tour. The title track “Burn”, which opens the album, was a conscious effort by the band to embrace the progressive rock movement that was popularized at the time by bands such as Yes, ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant, etc. “Burn” was a complex arrangement which showcased all the band members musical virtuosity and particularly Blackmore’s classically-influenced guitar prowess. The album also featured Hughes and Coverdale providing vocal harmonies and elements of funk and blues, respectively, to the band’s music, a sound that was even more apparent on the late 1974 release Stormbringer. Besides the title track, the Stormbringer album had a number of songs that received much radio play, such as “Lady Double Dealer”, “The Gypsy” and “Soldier Of Fortune.” However, Blackmore publicly disliked the album and the funky soul elements, even calling it “shoeshine music”. As a result, he left the band on 21 June 1975 to form his own band with Ronnie James Dio of Elf, called Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, later shortened to Rainbow after one album.

With Blackmore’s departure, Deep Purple was left to fill one of the biggest band member vacancies in rock music. In spite of this, the rest of the band refused to stop, and announced a replacement for Blackmore: American Tommy Bolin. There are at least two versions about the recruitment of Bolin: Coverdale claims to have been the one who suggested auditioning Bolin. “He walked in, thin as a rake, his hair coloured green, yellow and blue with feathers in it. Slinking along beside him was this stunning Hawaiian girl in a crochet dress with nothing on underneath. He plugged into four Marshall 100-watt stacks and…the job was his”. But in an interview originally published by Melody Maker in June 1975, Bolin himself claimed that he came to the audition following a recommendation from Blackmore. Bolin had been a member of many now-forgotten late-1960s bands – Denny & The Triumphs, American Standard, and Zephyr, which released three albums from 1969–72. Before Deep Purple, Bolin’s best-known recordings were made as a session musician on Billy Cobham’s 1973 jazz fusion album Spectrum, and as Joe Walsh’s replacement on two James Gang albums: Bang (1973) and Miami (1974). He had also jammed with such luminaries as Dr. John, Albert King, The Good Rats, Moxy and Alphonse Mouzon, and was busy working on his first solo album, Teaser, when he accepted the invitation to join Deep Purple.

The resulting album, Come Taste the Band, was released in October 1975. Despite mixed reviews, the collection revitalised the band once again, bringing a new, extreme funk edge to their hard rock sound.[66] Bolin’s influence was crucial, and with encouragement from Hughes and Coverdale, the guitarist developed much of the material. Later, Bolin’s personal problems with drugs began to manifest themselves, and after cancelled shows and below-par concert performances, the band was in danger.

 

Discography

Studio Albums

1968 Shades Of Deep Purple http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple-shades-of-deep-purple/

1968 Book Of Talisyn – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple-book-of-talisyn/

1969 Deep Purple – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple/deep-purple-deep-purple/

1970 In Rock – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple/deep-purple-in-rock/

1971 Fireball – Coming soon 03/11/2017

1972 Machine Head – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple/deep-purple-machine-head/

The Battle Rages On – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple-the-battle-rages-on/

Live Albums

Nobody’s Perfect – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple/deep-purple-nobodys-perfect/

Compilations & Box Sets

Listen Learn Read On – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple/deep-purple-listen-learn-read-on/

Bootlegs/Unofficial Live Releases

The Soundboard Series http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/deep-purple-the-soundboard-series-live-newcastle-australia-2001/

Leave a Reply