Years: Feb, 1968 - 1976; 1984 - present
Styles: Art Rock, Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Symphonic Rock
Rod Evans - Vocals (in band: 1968 - 1969)
Nick Simper - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 1968 - 1969)
Ritchie Blackmore - Lead guitar (in band: 1968 - 1975; 1985 - 1993)
Jon Lord - Backing vocals, Hammond organ, Keyboards, MiniMoog, Piano, Synthesizer, Yamaha CP70, Yamaha DX1, Yamaha DX7 (in band: 1968 - 1976; 1984 - 2002)
Ian Paice - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1968 - 1976; 1984 - present)
Ian Gillan - Congas, Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1973; 1984 - 1989; 1992 - present)
Roger Glover - Bass Guitar (in band: 1969 - 1973; 1984 - present)
David Coverdale - Vocals (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Glenn Hughes - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Tommy Bolin - Lead guitar, Vocals (in band: 1975 - 1976)
Joe Lynn Turner - Vocals (in band: 1989 - 1992)
Joe Satriani - Lead guitar (in band: 1993 - 1994)
Steve Morse - Lead guitar (in band: 1994 - present)
Don Airey - Hammond organ, Keyboards (in band: 2002 - present)
Deep Purple survied a seemingly endless series of lineup changes and a dramatic mid-career shift from grandiose progressive rock to ear-shattering heavy metal to emerge as a true institution of the British hard rock community. The group, first assembledas a session band, fused rock and classical elements on their early LPs, though guitarist Ritchie Blackmore soon took creative control of the band, steering it towards a heavier, guitar-dominated approach. Deep Purples most enduring hit, the AOR staple “Smoke on the Water,” featured on the 1972 multi-platinum classic “Machine Head,” positioned the group among rock’s elite.
Deep Purple formed in London, England in 1968 initially as Roundabout, by former Seachers stickman, Chris Curtis. He duly recruited classically trained organist, Jon Lord and guitar maestro Ritchie Blackmore, who was living in Germany at the time. By Spring of the year, the band become Deep Purple with Nick Simper on bass, Rod Evans on vocals and Ian Paice on drums. Their debut single, a cover of Joe South’s “Hush”, reached the US Top 5 and the band were subsequently furnished with a three album contract, signing with ‘Tentagramme’ in America, ‘Parlophone’ in Britain. This line-up (known as Mark I in Deep Purple parlance) recorded three albums, “Shades of Deep Purple” (1968), “Book of Taliesyn” (1969) and the eponymous “Deep Purple” (1969), littered with chugging, pro-metal covers of the era’s pop hits a la Vanilla Fudge.
Following the collapse of ‘Tentagramme’ , the band signed with ‘ Warners’, drafting Ian Gillan and Roger Glover (both ex-Episode Six) to replace Evans and Simpers respectively. The revamped line-up’s first release was the pseudo-classical drivel of the live “Concerto For Group And Orchestra with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” (!970).
“In Rock” released later in same year, announced the arrival of major contender in the heavyweight arena alongside the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Preceded by the lumbering “Black Night” single, the album was dinosaur rock before the phrase was even coined; the pummeling rhythm section of Glover and Paice driving the beast ever onward while Blackmore’s razor sharp guitar solos clawed mercilessly at Lord’s shuddering organ. “Child In Time” was the ballad, the full og Gillan’s talent on show as he progressed from mellow musings to his trademark glass shattering shriek.
While “Firewall” (1971) was competent, if lacking in the songs department, “Machine Head” (1972) was the Deep Purple tour the force, the classic album from the classic Mark II line-up. Cuts like “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin” were relentless, high-octane metal riff-athons which became staples in the DP lives set for years to come. “Smoke On The Water” probably stands as the bands most famous track, its classic three chords bludgeon and tale of disaster averted, reaching No. 4 in America upon its release as a single a year later. This further boosted “Machine Head” is sales into the millions, Deep Purple now established as a world class act. The band also had a stellar live reputation, the concert double set, “Made in Japan” (1872), going on to achieve cult status among metal afficiondos and earing the group a place in the Guinness Book Of Records as loudest band.
As the heavy touring and recording schedule ground on, the beast began to stumble, however, recording a further, fairly lackluster album, “Who Do We Think We Are” (1973), before disintegrating later that summer among constant in-fighting and personality clashes. Blackmore, Lord and Paice, remained, enlisting future Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale on vocals in place of Gillan and Glenn Hughes (ex-Trapeze) in place of Glover to create Deep Purple Mark III.
“Burn” (1974) and “Stormbringer” (1974) were characterized by Coverdale's bluesy voice, although the new boy and Blackmore were not exactly fond of each other, the latter eventually quitting in 1975. His replacement was semi-legendary guitarist Tommy Bolin, who graced “Come Taste The Band” (1975). Less than a year latter, however, Deep Purple were no more, the behemoth finally going belly up after the perils of rock’n’roll had finally taken their tool.
While Bolin O.D.’d on heroine, of the remaining members, Glenn Hughes reformed Trapeze while Coverdale formed Whitesnake. Blackmore formed the rather grandiose sounding Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The other key member of Deep Purple, Ian Gillan, had also been equally prolific during the 70’s, initially with the Ian Gillan Band.
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 Gillan, Lord, Blackmore, Glover and Paice. The album "Perfect Strangers" was recorded in Vermont and released in October 1984. A solid release, it sold extremely well (reaching number 5 in the UK and number 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 Mark II 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 1989 Gillan was fired as his relations with Blackmore had again soured and their musical differences had diverged too far.
Mark V (with former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner) line-up recorded just one album, "Slaves & Masters" (1990) and toured in support. It achieved modest success and reached number 87 on the Billboard Charts in the US, but some fans criticised it as little more than a so-called "generic Foreigner wannabe" 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. the classic line-up recorded "The Battle Rages On...". However, Gillan reworked much of the existing material which had been written with Turner for the album. As a result, Blackmore became infuriated at what he considered non-melodic elements. During an otherwise successful European tour, Blackmore walked out in 1993, for good, during a 17 November show in Helsinki, Finland. 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 commitments to his contract with Epic Recordsprevented this. The band unanimously chose Dixie Dregs/Kansas guitarist Steve Morse to become Satriani's successor.
Morse's arrival revitalised the band creatively, and in 1996 a new album titled "Purpendicular" was released, showing a wide variety of musical styles, though it never made chart success on Billboard 200 in the US. The Mark VII line-up then released a new live album "Live at The Olympia '96" in 1997. Deep Purple enjoyed successful tours 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.
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. In 2003, Deep Purple released their first studio albums in five years ("Bananas") and began touring in support of the album. In November 2005 Deep Purple released their next album, "Rapture of the Deep", which was followed by the "Rapture of the Deep" tour. This Mark VIII line-up's two studio albums were produced by Michael Bradford, who is known as rap or pop musician.
After a lot of songwriting sessions in Europe, Deep Purple decided to do recording through the summer of 2012, and the band announced the release of their new studio album in 2013. On 16 July 2012, the band's co-founding member and former organ player, Jon Lord, died in London, aged 71. In December 2012, Roger Glover revealed in an interview that the band has completed work on 14 songs for a new studio album, with 11 or 12 tracks set to appear on the final album to be released in 2013. On 26 February 2013, the title of the band's new album was announced as "Now What?!", which was recorded and mixed in Nashville, Tennessee.
1. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 831 - Barry Weber
2. The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, Four Edition, by Canongate Publishing, Ltd. Edinburgh, p. 603
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