- Deep Purple
Deep Purple in 2004.
L-R: Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, Don Airey and Steve Morse
Background information Also known as Roundabout Origin Hertford, England Genres Hard rock, heavy metal, blues rock, progressive rock Years active 1968–1976, 1984–present Labels Tetragrammaton, Warner Bros., Polydor, BMG, EMI, Edel Associated acts The Outlaws, Episode Six, Rainbow, Paice, Ashton & Lord, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Blackmore's Night, Dixie Dregs, Living Loud, Angelfire Website www.deeppurple.com Members Ian Paice
Past members Former members
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 believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre. They were once listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the loudest pop group", 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), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums) and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). 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 never to have left the band.
- 1 History
- 2 Band members
- 3 World tours
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
- 6 External links
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. Curtis' vision was a "supergroup" where the band members would get on and off, like a musical roundabout. Impressed with the plan, Edwards agreed to finance the venture with two business partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire, all of 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 guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was persuaded to return from Hamburg to audition for the new group. Blackmore was making a name for himself as a session guitarist, and had also been a member of Screaming Lord Sutch's The Savages. Curtis' erratic behavior soon forced him out of his own project, 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 the car crash that killed Kidd. He was also in a group called The Delta Five which played the same circuit as The Savages, and it was then that he had first met Blackmore.
Top English drummer Bobby Woodman was the initial choice for the drums, but during the auditions for a singer, Rod Evans of the Maze came in with his drummer, Ian Paice. Blackmore had seen Paice with the Maze in Germany in 1966, and had been impressed by the 18-year old's drumming. While Woodman was out for cigarettes, Blackmore quickly arranged an audition for Paice. Both Paice and Evans won their respective jobs, and the lineup was complete.
The band began in earnest in March of 1968, rehearsing at Deeves Hall in South Mimms. After a brief tour of Denmark that April, Blackmore suggested a new name: Deep Purple, named after his grandmother's favourite song. The group had resolved to choose a name after everyone had posted one on a board in rehearsal. Second to Deep Purple was "Concrete God", which the band thought was too harsh to take on.
In May 1968, the band hit the studio to record its first 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 October 1968, the song had reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 2 on the Canadian RPM chart. That same 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. (Blackmore and Lord 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 for 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 lineup.
Unfortunately, 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. Thus, the album sold poorly, finishing well out of the Billboard Top 100. Soon after this 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, Blackmore and Lord 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 fired that summer. Said Paice, "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 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 Deep Purple 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 his Savages 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", which flopped.
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. However, Blackmore and Gillan especially were less than happy at the group 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.
Popularity 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 Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin II and Black 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 traveled 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 since become the band's most famous album. It reached #1 in the UK, #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 seventh LP. 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 (although at the time it was perhaps seen as less important, as only Glover and Paice turned up to mix it).
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. Two primary candidates surfaced: Angus Cameron McKinlay, a Scotsman; and David Coverdale, an unknown singer from Saltburn in Northeast England. They settled on Coverdale, primarily because Blackmore liked his masculine, blues-tinged voice, and Angus was eliminated.
This new line-up continued into 1974. The band played at the famous California Jam festival at Ontario Motor Speedway located in 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 lineup's first album, titled Burn, was a highly successful release (only the second album, after Machine Head, to crack the US Top 10), and was followed by another world tour. Hughes and Coverdale added 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 album had a number of songs that received much radio play, such as "Lady Double Dealer", "The Gypsy" and "Soldier Of Fortune." However, Blackmore voiced unhappiness with the album and the direction Deep Purple had taken, stating simply, "I don't like funky soul 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 to the surprise of many long-time fans, actually 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. 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.
Band split, side projects (1976–84)
The end came on tour in Britain on 15 March 1976 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Coverdale reportedly walked off in tears and handed in his resignation, to which he was allegedly told there was no band left to quit. The decision to disband Deep Purple had been made some time before the last show by Lord and Paice (the last remaining original members), who hadn't told anyone else. The break-up was finally made public in July 1976.
Later, Bolin had just finished recording his second solo album, Private Eyes, when, on 4 December 1976, tragedy struck. In Miami, during a tour supporting Jeff Beck, Bolin was found unconscious by his girlfriend. Unable to wake him, she hurriedly called paramedics, but it was too late. The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin was 25 years old.
After the break-up, most of the past and present members of Deep Purple went on to have considerable success in a number of other bands, including Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath and Gillan. There were, however, a number of promoter-led attempts to get the band to reform, especially with the revival of the hard rock market in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1980, a touring version of the band surfaced with Rod Evans as the only member who had ever been in Deep Purple, eventually ending in successful legal action from the legitimate Deep Purple camp over unauthorised use of the name. Evans was ordered to pay damages of US$672,000 for using the band name without permission.
Reunions and break-ups (1984–94)
In April 1984, eight years after the demise of Deep Purple, a full-scale (and legal) reunion took place with the "classic" early 1970s line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice. The reformed band signed a worldwide deal with PolyGram, with Mercury Records releasing their albums in the United States, and Polydor Records in other countries. The album Perfect Strangers was recorded in Vermont and released in October 1984. A solid release, it sold extremely well (reaching #5 in the UK and #17 on the Billboard 200 in the US) and included the singles and concert staples "Knockin' At Your Back Door" and "Perfect Strangers". The reunion tour followed, starting in Australia and winding its way across the world to North America, then into Europe by the following summer. Financially, the tour was also a tremendous success. In the U.S., the 1985 tour out-grossed every other artist except Bruce Springsteen. The UK homecoming saw the band perform a concert at Knebworth on 22 June 1985 (with main support from the Scorpions; also on the bill were UFO and Meat Loaf), where the weather was bad (torrential rain and 6" of mud) infront of 80,000 fans. The gig was called the "Return Of The Knebworth Fayre".
The line-up then released The House of Blue Light in 1987, which was followed by a world tour (interrupted after Blackmore broke a finger on stage while trying to catch his guitar after throwing it in the air) and another live album Nobody's Perfect (1988) which was culled from several shows on this tour, but still largely based on the by-now familiar Made in Japan set-list. In the UK a new version of "Hush" (with Gillan on lead vocals) was released to mark 20 years of the band. In 1989, Gillan was fired as his relations with Blackmore had again soured and their musical differences had diverged too far. Originally, the band intended to recruit Survivor frontman Jimi Jamison as Gillan's replacement, but this fell through due to complications with Jamison's record label. Eventually, after auditioning several high-profile candidates, including Brian Howe (White Spirit, Ted Nugent, Bad Company), Doug Pinnick (King's X), Australians Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) and John Farnham (Little River Band), Terry Brock (Strangeways, Giant) and Norman "Kal" Swann (Tytan, Lion, Bad Moon Rising), former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner was recruited into the band. This line-up recorded just one album, Slaves & Masters (1990) and toured in support, though some fans derided it as little more than a so-called "Deep Rainbow" album.
With the tour complete, Turner was forced out, as Lord, Paice and Glover (and the record company) wanted Gillan back in the fold for the 25th anniversary. Blackmore grudgingly relented, after requesting and eventually receiving 250,000 dollars in his bank account and the classic line-up recorded The Battle Rages On. But Gillan reworked much of the existing material for the album. As a result, Blackmore became infuriated at what he considered non-melodic elements. During an otherwise stunningly successful European tour, Blackmore walked out in November 1993, never to return. Joe Satriani was drafted to complete the Japanese dates in December and stayed on for a European Summer tour in 1994. He was asked to join permanently, but his record contract commitments prevented this. The band unanimously chose Dixie Dregs/Kansas guitarist Steve Morse to become Blackmore's permanent successor.
Revival with Steve Morse (1994–present)
Morse's arrival revitalised the band creatively, and in 1996 a new album titled Purpendicular was released, showing a wide variety of musical styles. The line-up then released a new live album Live at The Olympia '96 in 1997. With a revamped set list to tour, Deep Purple enjoyed success throughout the rest of the 1990s, releasing the harder-sounding Abandon in 1998, and touring with renewed enthusiasm. In 1999, Lord, with the help of a Dutch fan, who was also a musicologist and composer, Marco de Goeij, painstakingly 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 early 2001, two similar concerts were performed in Tokyo and released as part of the box set The Soundboard Series.
Much of the next few years was spent on the road touring. The group continued forward until 2002, when founding member Lord (who, along with Paice, was the only member to be in all incarnations of the band) announced his amicable retirement from the band to pursue personal projects (especially orchestral work). Lord left his Hammond organ to his replacement. Rock keyboard veteran Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake), who had helped Deep Purple out when Lord's knee was injured in 2001, joined the band. In 2003, Deep Purple released their first studio album in five years (Bananas) and began touring in support of the album immediately. In July 2005, the band played at the Live 8 concert in Park Place (Barrie, Ontario) and, in October of the same year, released their next album Rapture of the Deep. It was followed by the Rapture of the Deep tour.
In February 2007, Gillan asked fans not to buy a live album Come Hell or High Water being released by Sony BMG. This was a recording of their 1993 appearance at the NEC in Birmingham. Recordings of this show have previously been released without resistance from Gillan or any other members of the band, but he said: "It was one of the lowest points of my life – all of our lives, actually".
Gillan hinted that the group may record their nineteenth studio album in February 2010, to be followed by a supporting tour. Steve Morse later revealed in an interview that the band would begin working on a new album in March.
The band's chief sound engineer on nine years of tours, Moray McMillin, died in September 2011, aged 57.
- Ian Paice – drums, percussion (1968–1976, 1984–present)
- Roger Glover – bass (1969–1973, 1984–present)
- Ian Gillan – lead vocals, harmonica, congas (1969–1973, 1984–1989, 1992–present)
- Steve Morse – guitar (1994–present)
- Don Airey – keyboards, organ (2001–present)
- Jon Lord – keyboards, organ, backing vocals (1968–1976, 1984–2002)
- Ritchie Blackmore – guitar (1968–1975, 1984–1993)
- Rod Evans – lead vocals (1968–1969)
- Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals (1968–1969)
- David Coverdale – lead vocals (1973–1976)
- Glenn Hughes – bass, vocals (1973–1976)
- Tommy Bolin – guitar, vocals (1975–1976)
- Joe Lynn Turner – lead vocals (1989–1991)
- Joe Satriani – guitar (1993–1994)
Deep Purple are considered to be one of the hardest touring bands in the world. From 1968 until today (with the exception of their 1976–1984 split) they continue to tour around the world. In 2007, the band received a special award for selling more than 150,000 tickets in France, with 40 dates in the country in 2007 alone. Also in 2007, Deep Purple's Rapture of the Deep Tour was voted #6 concert tour of the year (in all music genres) by Planet Rock listeners. The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour was voted #5 and beat Purple's tour by only 1%. Deep Purple released a new live compilation DVD box, Around the World Live, in May 2008. In February 2008, the band made their first ever appearance in Moscow at the Kremlin at the personal request of Dmitry Medvedev who at the time was considered a shoo-in for the seat of the Presidency of Russia. The band was part of the entertainment for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
- Deep Purple Debut Tour, 1968
- Shades of Deep Purple Tour, 1968
- The Book of Taliesyn Tour, 1968
- Deep Purple European Tour, (pre-tour for In Rock) 1969–1970
- In Rock World Tour – 1970–1971
- Fireball World Tour, 1971–1972
- Machine Head World Tour, 1972–1973
- Deep Purple European Tour 1974
- Burn World Tour, 1974
- Stormbringer World Tour, 1974–1975
- Come Taste The Band World Tour, 1975–1976
- Perfect Strangers World Tour, aka Reunion Tour 1984–1985
- The House of Blue Light World Tour, 1987–1988
- Slaves and Masters World Tour, 1991
- Deep Purple 25 Years Anniversary World Tour, aka The Battle Rages on Tour, 1993
- Deep Purple and Joe Satriani Tour, 1993–1994
- Deep Purple Secret Mexican Tour (short warm-up tour with Steve Morse)
- Deep Purple Secret USA Tour 1994–1995
- Deep Purple Asian & African Tour 1995
- Purpendicular World Tour, 1996–1997
- A Band on World Tour, 1998–1999
- Concerto World Tour, 2000–2001
- Deep Purple World Tour, 2001–2003
- Bananas World Tour, 2003–2005
- Rapture of the Deep World Tour, 2006–2011
- Deep Purple: The Songs That Built Rock Tour 2011 - 2012
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- ^ Gillan, Ian (17 February 2008). "Deep Purple perform for Russias future president". The Times (London). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article3381001.ece. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- ^ FIS Newsflash 215. 21 January 2009.
- Deep Purple - The Illustrated Biography, Chris Charlesworth, Omnibus Press, 1983, ISBN 0-7119-0174-0
- Smoke on the Water: The Deep Purple Story, Dave Thompson, ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-618-5
- The Complete Deep Purple, Michael Heatley, Reynolds & Hearn, 2005, ISBN 1-903111-99-4
- Deep Purple - The official website
- Official Deep Purple business website for promoters and press
- Deep Purple at the Open Directory Project
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