the longest-lived hard rock bands in music, Deep Purple
made its influence known on metalheads and prog-rockers
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."
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.
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"
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).
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.
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.
to 1984, ex Deep Purple members are very present on the
hard rock scene, with projets like Rainbow, Gillan and
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.
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...
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.
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.