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      D  E  E  P     P  U  R  P  L  E

One of the longest-lived hard rock bands in music, Deep Purple made its influence known on metalheads and prog-rockers alike.

Formed in 1968, the British band's early lineup consisted of Rod Evans (vocals), Nick Simper (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar) and Ian Paice (drums). After the release of their debut album Shades of Deep Purple (Tetragrammaton), the band scored its first success with two covers: Joe South's "Hush" and Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman."

After 1970's classical-tinged Concerto for Group and Orchestra (Warner Bros.) the band's sound took a turn for the loud, dominated by Blackmore's aggressive guitar attack. With a newfound metal sound, Deep Purple saw success in 1972's Machine Head, which reached the Top 10 and produced the hit single "Smoke on the Water." However, the mid-'70s saw major shifts in the band, including the departure of Gillan, who later joined Black Sabbath. Gillan's replacement, David Coverdale, achieved fame in the '80s as a member of Whitesnake.

After disbanding, Deep Purple released the Top 20 Perfect Strangers (Mercury) in 1984, which included the single "Knocking at Your Back Door." Various incarnations of Deep Purple continued releasing albums into the '90s, including a 1992 "best-of" compilation.


Back in '68 they were a very powerful band, that ended up sounding somewhat tame on record, due to the first album being recorded in 18 hours back in 1968. But inspired by Vanilla Fudge, definitively! In the early days, Jon Lord (keyboards) was very much the leader of the band. Other members were Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Paice (drums), Rod Evans (vocals) and Nick Simper (bass).



Then two guys get fired, one obviously was tired of it all anyway (Evans). Lord does the "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" on short notice, but at the same time Ritchie Blackmore takes control of the bands musical direction. The new members Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass) add songwriting skills and powerful vocals to the band, and this together with Blackmore coming to the fore creates the new music that make Deep Purple legends. In the making of the legend, the band tour extensively, pushed on by the managers. This eventually wears heavily on the five, and is a catalyst for internal struggles. Ian Gillan finds he's had enough, and resigns in 1972, but stays on until the Summer of 1973. Blackmore decides to fire Glover as well to get some new blood into the band - Glover finds out through the management, and decides to leave himself.



In comes the blues-voice of David Coverdale, and Glenn Hughes' funky bass and backing vocals. Deep Purple gains new life, even though the music is less adventurous than earlier. More basic straight-forward blues-rock than earlier, less progressive. Hughes comes more and more to the fore, Blackmore doesn't like the development, and eventually leaves to form Rainbow.



Coverdale and Hughes begs Lord and Paice to stay on, and Tommy Bolin is recruited as the new guitar player. It works good in the studio, but on the road the band falls apart most of the time, due to Bolin (and Hughes) having severe drug problems, and the musical division between Coverdale-Lord-Paice (rock-blues-oriented) and Bolin-Hughes (funk-jazz-oriented). The adventure ends in Liverpool, when Coverdale leaves the stage in tears, and states backstage that he can't take this anymore. Lord & Paice agrees, the two others doesn't know before the management makes the announcement that Deep Purple has split months later.

From 1976 to 1984, ex Deep Purple members are very present on the hard rock scene, with projets like Rainbow, Gillan and Whitesnake.



In 1984 the classic second lineup is reunited. (And if anyone leaves, they won't continue, they assure us...) Not the band it used to be, of course, but some good material, and some good shows, allthough lots of mediocre shows too. Blackmore now has taken a dictatorial role in the band, and refuses to play other members' ideas. He also limits their set lists. He eventually falls out with Ian Gillan again, and gets the others to agree on firing him in 1989.



The final insult for many long suffering fans comes when the replacement ends up being Joe Lynn Turner, the vocalist from the Rainbow era most fans cared the least for. In his defence, he sung better than earlier. On the other hand, he turned the music in a direction I for one didn't care much about... Some lively playing on the album, though.



All four of them eventually is incredibly displeased with Turner, and realizes he doensn't fit in the band. They fire him, and Blackmore is eventually forced to take back Ian Gillan, at the others' insistance. Thus we get the last album with the Mk II lineup, not a new Fireball, but it does have something that were lacking on the previous reunion efforts. And we got the best Purple tour sincethe early seventies, with the band REALLY cooking over. And in the middle of the tour, Ritchie leaves...



Joe Satriani steps in as his replacement on short notice, and lasts not only through the Japanese tour, but stays for a full blown European tour during the summer of 1994. Contractual problems seem to prevent any further collaboration, though. So far the only Deep Purple lineup that hasn't recorded studio material.


1994 - 

Thus, today Deep Purple's guitarist is Steve Morse. They've played a handful of gigs with him, and will presumably release a new studio album this Autumn.


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