Deep Purple (1968-present): a Heavy Metal band from London, UK.
eep Purple formed from the remains of the band Roundabout in the UK in 1968 with Chris Curtis (drums), John Lord (Full Name: John Douglas Lord 1960-2012; keyboards), Nick Simper (bass) and Ritchie Blackmore (vocals). After the lot went on a Scandinavian tour they adopted the Deep Purple name, but within days the line-up changed twice in quick succession with Steve Morse joining on guitar, Rod Evans on vocals and Ian Paice on drums.
The first album was designed to be like the American band Vanilla Fudge, the resulting Shades Of Deep Purple (1968) was filled with re-arrangements of other's songs like Hush and Hay Joe, the former hitting top 5 in the US when issued as a single. This led to touring while still being ignored at home. By the time the follow-ups The Book Of Taliesyn (1969) and Deep Purple (1969) were released they had begun to get acclaim for their original work even though the albums still contained chugging, proto-metal covers. Roger Glover and Ian Gillian (ex-Episode Six) were annexed into yet another line up change seeing Evans and Simper leave. It was with this line up, in 1970, when they could celebrate a homer with the album Concerto For Group And Orchestra recorded at Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1970. It was after this that they formed their heavier sound.
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Deep Purple In Rock (1970) was the album that established them in heavy metal, with the single Black Night reaching #2. The follow-up LPs Fireball (1971) and Machine Head (1972) also topped the chart, with Machine Head featuring the hit Smoke On The Water. It also marked the first release on their own 'Purple' label. It made #1 in the UK; 7 in the US Fireball, for its part got a #1 in the UK; 22 in the US Made In Japan (1972) and Who Do We Think We Are? (1973) marked the beginning of the end of the band's hay-day, despite Made In Japan giving them a world record for the loudest band at the time.
Relations internally were strained with Gillian and Glover soon departing. Replacements were found in the form of David Cloverdale (ex-Whitesnake) and Glenn Hughes (ex-Trapeze) to create Deep Purple Mk. III and it gave the band a slightly new approach. The following two albums Burn (1974) and Stormbringer (1975) reached top 10, while Tommy Bolin appeared in time for Come Taste The Band (1975); all three previous albums also featuring David Coverdale on vocals.
In 1984 the original members reformed to continue where they left off with Perfect Strangers (1984) and House Of Blue Light (1987) being well received by the fans, but it was clear the group was strained. Joe Lynn Turner was recruited to replace Gillian who was given the boot after 1988's Nobody's Perfect. What followed was the creation of the widely hated Slaves And Masters (1990), with the equally unimpressive The Battle Rages On (1993) and Come Hell Or High Water (1994) following.
When Tommy Bolin died of a heroin overdose, the musical chairs game got ridiculous when Gillian was reinstated once again to declare war between him and Blackmore, resulting in Blackmore leaving to reform Rainbow in 1975. Steve Morse was his replacement for the final albums to date, 1996's Perpendicular, Live at the Olympia '96 (1996) and 1998's Abandon. The recent departure of Jon Lord has left the future of the act in question yet again, but a return for concerts is expected.
During the 1970s they ranked as high as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in spreading the news of heavy metal. The Guinness Book Of Records rated them as the loudest band in history! The engine behind their movement was Ritchie Blackmore, who established a strong reputation as a guitar hero. But it was ego problems that infected the band. By the time 1976 rolled around the audience was no longer amused and later incarnations have failed to relive the past glory.
In 1999, Lord, with the help of a Dutch fan, who was also a musicologist and composer, Marco de Goeij, recreated the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, the original score having been lost. It was once again performed at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1999, this time with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The concert also featured songs from each member's solo careers, as well as a short Deep Purple set, and the occasion was commemorated on the 2000 album Live at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2001, the box set The Soundboard Series was released featuring concerts from the 2001 Australian Tour plus two from Tokyo, Japan.
Much of the next few years was spent on the road touring until 2002, when founding member Lord announced his amicable retirement from the band to pursue personal projects (orchestral work), leaving his Hammond organ to his replacement, Don Airey (ex-Colosseum II/ex-Rainbow/ex- Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Black Sabbath/ex-Whitesnake).
In 2003, Bananas arrived. However, 'EMI' refused to extend their contract with the band, it was widely suspected that because of poor sales in light of In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra sold more than Bananas added to the idea that most of the songs played in their live concerts were their classic 1970s material.
In July 2005, Deep Purple played at the Live 8 concert in Park Place (Barrie, Ontario, Canada) and, in October, released their next album, Rapture of the Deep.
In February 2007, Gillan actually asked fans to not buy the album, Come Hell or High Water being released by 'Sony BMG', a live recording of their 1993 NEC Birmingham show, as it was not released with the assistance of himself or any other band member.
On 16 July 2012, Jon Lord, died in London, aged 71.
In 2013 Now What?! arrived. Infinite (2017) and Whoosh! (2020) would follow.
Footnote: During the tenure of Deep Purple there have been several attempts at side projects and releases by Jon Lord. The first was in collaboration with the London Symphony Orchistra on Gemini Suite (1972) and Windows (1974) with the Munich Symphony Orchistra and then Sarabande (live; 1976) as a soloist. He would then resume his work in 1982 with Marsden, Paice, Neil, Munro, Cozy Powell and most of Bad Company (the group) to release Before I Forget (1982) and Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady (1984). Lord, however, also moonlighted with Ashton for First Of The Big Bands (1974) and under the moniker of Paice Ashton And Lord with the aforementioned namesakes with Bernie Marsden (ex-Babe Ruth; guitar), Paul Martinez (ex-Stretch; bass) to release Malice In Wonderland (1977) with a posthumous release BBC Radio 1 In Concert (live; 1992).
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Deep Purple in 2008.
Photo by: Jonas Rogowski
(CC BY-SA 2.0)
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