Deep Purple

Deep Purple are an English hard-rock band formed in 1967. They emerged at the height of psychedelia and played a key role in the development of heavy metal during the early 1970s. Their most well-known songs include “Hush,” “Smoke On the Water,” and “Woman from Tokyo.”

The first Deep Purple lineup released the 1968 albums Shades of Deep Purple and The Book of Taliesyn, followed by a self-titled third album on Harvest. The arrival of singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover heralded Purple’s classic lineup, responsible for the 1970–73 albums Deep Purple In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, and Who Do We Think We Are. Interspersed with these, they recorded the classical–rock albums Concerto for Group and Orchestra and Gemini Suite, both composed by organist Jon Lord.

After Gillan and Glover cleared out for singer David Coverdale and bassist–singer Glenn Hughes, Deep Purple released the funk-influenced 1974 albums Burn and Stormbringer. When guitarist Ritchie Blackmore departed for Rainbow, Deep Purple hired American guitarist Tommy Bolin for the 1975 release Come Taste the Band. They disbanded after a 1976 tour. Lord and drummer Ian Paice formed a rock trio with Tony Ashton for the 1977 album Malice in Wonderland, then joined Coverdale’s Whitesnake.

In 1984, the classic Deep Purple lineup reformed and issued Perfect Stangers, followed by 1987’s The House of Blue Light. They’ve carried on as a live and occasional recording unit ever since with Gillan and Paice as the two constant members.

Members: Ian Paice (drums), Jon Lord (keyboards, 1968-2002), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar, 1968-75, 1984-93), Rod Evans (vocals, 1968-69), Nick Simper (bass, 1968-69), Ian Gillan (vocals, 1969-73, 1984-89, 1992-present), Roger Glover (bass, 1969-73, 1984-present), David Coverdale (vocals, 1973-76), Glenn Hughes (vocals, bass, 1973-76), Tommy Bolin (guitar, 1975-76)

Mk I: Background

Deep Purple evolved from a proposed band called Roundabout, initiated in 1967 by ex-Searchers drummer Chris Curtis. The idea was that a core of three musicians would be surrounded by revolving door players who would “jump on and off the roundabout.”

The first recruit was organist Jon Lord, followed by bassist Nick Simper. Lord hailed from R&B/beatsters The Artwoods, which included singer Art Wood (brother of Faces/Stones guitarist Ron Wood) and drummer Keef Hartley. Simper had been in a short-lived reboot of Johnny Kid & The Pirates (“The New Pirates”) and survived the 1966 auto wreck that killed Johnny Kid. More recently, Lord and Simper did stints in the Flowerpot Men (“Let’s Go to San Francisco”).

Curtis soon dropped from the project but recommended guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (b. 1945), a seasoned player with roots in the pre-Beatles era (Screaming “Lord” Sutch & The Savages, Heinz, The Outlaws). Veteran sideman Bobby Woodman (Vince Taylor and the Playboys, Johnny Hallyday’s Golden Stars) initially held the drum slot.

In the spring of 1968, Roundabout rehearsed and developed its sound, centered on Lord’s Hammond C3 and Blackmore’s Marshall-amplified Gibson ES-335. In need of a vocalist, they auditioned dozens of contenders, including Rod Stewart. The group then heard singer Rod Evans of soul-mods The Maze and gave him the job. Woodman, unhappy with the band’s musical direction, made way for Maze drummer Ian Paice.

With the lineup now solidified, Blackmore suggested a name-change to Deep Purple, in honor of a 1930s hit (covered in 1965 by The Shadows) that had been one of his grandmother’s favorite songs.

1968: Shades of Deep Purple

Deep Purple released their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple, in July 1968 on Parlophone. It opens with the instrumental “And the Address,” a co-write between Blackmore and Lord, who co-wrote “One More Rainy Day” with Evans, who collaborated with Blackmore on “Love Help Me.” The three are joint-credited as authors of the side two opener “Mandrake Root,” first conceived as an instrumental with a riff allegedly nicked from Bill Parkinson, Blackmore’s successor in The Savages.

Shades of Deep Purple contains one group composition, “Prelude: Happiness,” which segues into a cover of “I’m So Glad” by American bluesman Skip James. The album also contains covers of The Beatles (“Help!”) and the Billy Roberts standard “Hey Joe,” recently popularized by The Leaves and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Purple’s organ-drenched cover of the 1967 Joe South composition “Hush” — first recorded the prior year by American pop singer Billy Joe Royal — reached No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Shades of Deep Purple was produced by Derek Lawrence, a protege of pre-beat exotica producer Joe Meek. He also produced 1967/68 sides by Garnet Mimms, Sun Dragon, Focus Three, and the debut single by Jethro Tull (credited as “Jethro Toe”). Purple became his main client. Sessions took place May 11–13 at Pye Studios. The engineer, Barry Ainsworth, also worked on the 1968 UA release Vigil by Aussie beatsters The Easybeats.

The album cover displays a medium shot of Deep Purple in psychedelic period garb against a purple background. On back, the liner notes describe Lord as “tall, slim, and some might say sinister until they hear the sweetness and light he paints with his electronic palette.” The album is dedicated to “Bobby, Chris, Dave, and Ravell.”

Stateside, this album and its followup appeared on Tetragrammaton Records, a short-lived label co-founded by comedian Bill Cosby. American copies place the group image to the upper-right and the title to the left with eight duplicates of the image across two bottom rows in various shades of purple monochrome.

Deep Purple greeted the album’s UK release with a high-profile July 6 show at London’s Roundhouse along with The Byrds, The Deviants, and Gun.

In August 1968, they played the 8th Annual National Jazz & Blues Festival, a three-day event at the Kempton Park Racecourse in Sunbury-on-Thames with sets by Chicken Shack, Eclection, Fairport Convention, The Herd, Incredible String Band, Spencer Davis Group, Timebox, Traffic, and Tramline. Deep Purple played on the second day (Saturday the 10th) alongside The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Jeff Beck Group, Joe Cocker, Mike Westbrook, The Nice, Ten Years After, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet.

The Book of Taliesyn

Deep Purple’s second album, The Book of Taliesyn, appeared first in the US in October 1968 on Tetragrammaton. The team of Blackmore, Lord, and Paice co-wrote a song apiece with Evans (the opener “Listen, Learn, Read On”) and Simper (the instrumental “Hard Road”). A cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman” became their second single.

The remaining cuts exceed six minutes in length. Side two contains a Lord–Evans number (“Anthem”) and three-way write with Blackmore (“Shield”). The group (barring Evans) joint-wrote “Exposition,” which segues into the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out.” Taliesyn closes out with a ten-minute cover of the Ike & Tina Turner classic “River Deep, Mountain High,” which starts with a quote from “Also sprach Zarathustra,” the 1896 Strauss tone poem recently re-popularized by its use in the 1968 sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The album’s title derives from the Book of Taliesin, a Middle Welsh manuscript attributed to Taliesin, a mythical 6th century bard of the court of King Arthur in Camelot. Sessions took place between August and October at De Lane Lea Studios in Kingsway, again with Lawrence and Ainsworth. Lord handled string arrangements on “Anthem,” marking the start of his orchestral rock experiments.

The Book of Taliesyn sports a complex cover illustration by artist John Vernon Lord (no relation to the band’s keyboardist), who based the jumbled imagery (Camelot castle, lutenists, the King Arthur chess board) on medieval legends and Taliesin’s poems. This is the only album cover illustrated by J.V. Lord, who later became the Professor of Illustration at the University of Brighton.

Outside the US, EMI issued The Book of Taliesyn on its new progressive imprint Harvest. In the UK, the album appeared in July 1969 in a gatefold sleeve with medium b&w member pics on the inner-gates. On non-Tetragrammaton copies, “Hard Road” is listed under its original title “Wring That Neck,” considered too violent by the American label.

Anthem” and “Listen, Learn, Read On” appear on Underground Show, a 1969 Italian Columbia comp with two cuts apiece by Pink Floyd (“The Nile Song,” “Ibiza Bar”), the Edgar Broughton Band, and Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments.

Deep Purple accompanied the album’s US release with their first stateside tour. In late October, they opened three California dates on Cream‘s farewell tour along with the Buddy Miles Express. On the 23rd, they performed at the New York Playboy Club for an episode of the CBS variety show Playboy After Dark. On the 27th, they played the San Francisco Pop Festival at the Alameda County Fairgrounds along with The Animals, Chamber Brothers, Iron Butterfly, The Loading Zone, and Procol Harum.

In November, Deep Purple shared bills with The Hook (11/10–11/68: Teen Pavilion, Phoenix), Blues Image (11/24/68: The Bank, Los Angeles), and a four-night engagement with It’s A Beautiful Day and Cold Blood (11/28–12/1/68: Fillmore West, San Francisco). December shows included dates with Lee Michaels (11/13–14/68: Grande Ballroom, Detroit) and Barbara Acklin (11/22/68: Rock Pile, Toronto). On the 16th, they appeared on NBC’s The Merv Griffin Show.

1969: Deep Purple

In January 1969, Deep Purple reentered De Lane to record their third album in eight months. As a stopgap, they issued the non-album a-side “Emmaretta,” composed by Lord, Blackmore, and Evans, who named it after US Hair cast member Emmaretta Marks.

Their third album, simply titled Deep Purple, first appeared in the US in June 1969 on Tetragrammaton. It features two group-written numbers: “The Painter,” a blues-psych rocker; and “Why Didn’t Rosemary?,” inspired by Rosemary’s Baby, the 1968 Roman Polanski psychological horror thriller starring Mia Farrow. Another joint-write, “Fault Line,” is an instrumental inspired by an LA earthquake that coincided with their visit. The album’s only cover is “Lalena,” a US hit for Donovan the prior year.

The remaining songs are epic numbers, including the opener “Chasing Shadows,” a Paice–Lord co-write with quasi-African rhythms. “Blind” is a Lord baroque piece performed on harpsichord. “Bird Has Flown” is a heavy Lord–Evans–Blackmore number that backed US copies of “Emmaretta.” The closing “April” is a 12-minute Blackmore number titled in ode to his birthday month with an extended classical middle composed by Lord.

Sessions spanned the first three months of 1969 with Lawrence and Ainsworth. Deep Purple interspersed studio time with numerous live dates across the UK. Upon completion, they launched a North American West Coast tour largely concentrated on the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia).

Deep Purple sports a monochrome print of the lower-right panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights, the 1510 oil triptych by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The back cover features the middle-right portion of the same panel.

Mk II: Ian Gillan, Roger Glover

The US release of Deep Purple coincided with the long-awaited UK release of The Book of Taliesyn, which they promoted on their return to England in June 1969. They also introduced a new cover to their setlist: “Hallelujah (I Am the Preacher),” composed by the English pop songwriting team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway and first recorded earlier that year by The Derek Lawrence Statement. Purple pegged this as their next potential single.

However, tensions arose over the band’s changing direction, with Evans’ smooth voice and Simper’s beat-oriented basswork deemed ill-suited to the new heavy approach favored by Blackmore and Paice. Meanwhile, Simper objected to Lord’s injection of classical elements into the band’s arrangements.

Blackmore sought a new singer and first approached Terry Reid, who declined due to his solo contract (much like he declined an earlier invitation by Jimmy Page to join a nascent Led Zeppelin). Blackmore consulted his former Outlaws bandmate, drummer Mick Underwood, who informed him of singer Ian Gillan, the frontman of Underwood’s current band, harmony-popsters Episode Six.

Gillan was tired of his own band’s light sound and doubtful of their future prospects. He jumped at the offer with the insistence that Deep Purple also include his songwriting partner, Episode Six bassist Roger Glover. Deep Purple hired the pair, who didn’t inform Episode’s management.

The new lineup of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice — colloquially known as Deep Purple Mk II — recorded “Hallelujah” for release as a single, backed with an edit of “April.” They made their live premiere at London’s Speakeasy Club on July 10, two weeks before Gillan and Glover honored their pre-booked final date with Episode Six, which disbanded in their absence. (Despite these changes, select pressings of “Hallelujah” sport picture sleeves of the Mk I lineup.)

Evans moved to the US and resurfaced two years later with LA hard-rockers Captain Beyond, which issued the 1972/73 albums Captain Beyond and Sufficiently Breathless on the Allman Brothers‘ Capricorn label.

Simper — who wasn’t notified of his termination until after the clandestine “Hallelujah” session — sued Deep Purple for breach of contract in a suit settled out of court. He formed the band Warhorse, which released the 1970–72 hard-rock albums Warhorse and Red Sea on Vertigo. In 1979, he resurfaced for another two albums leading Nick Simper’s Fandango (not to be confused with US melodic-rockers Fandango, fronted by singer Joe Lynn Turner, Blackmore’s bandmate in the ’80s incarnation of Rainbow.)

Elsewhere, Underwood formed the organ power-trio Quatermass, which issued a 1970 self-titled album on Harvest.

Concerto for Group and Orchestra

Lord channeled his mounting classical bonafides (“Anthem,” “April”) into a 53-minute symphonic work titled Concerto for Group and Orchestra. On September 24, 1969, Deep Purple recorded Lord’s concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The concerto consists of three movements:

  • First movement (Moderato – Allegro) (19:21) — A lengthy orchestral intro, followed by a series of tradeoffs between group and orchestra doing variations of the theme. Blackmore trades solos with the clarinetist.
  • Second movement (Andante) (19:11) — Comprised of two themes in multiple group and orchestral arrangements, both joint and separate. Gillan sings. Second theme goes through blues and rock variations. Climaxes with an organ solo, followed with an orchestral outro.
  • Third movement (Vivace – Presto) (13:09) — The group and orchestra collide on a theme in 2/4 and 6/8 time, broken by Paice’s drum solo.

Concerto for Group and Orchestra first appeared in the US on December 20, 1969, on Tetragrammaton. This would be Deep Purple’s final album on the bankrupt label, which folded after a small pressing of the LP and 8-track. Concerto became more widely available in 1970 on Harvest (UK, Europe, Oceania) and Warner Bros., their new North American label.

Concerto was the Mk II lineup’s first album project, ahead of their first proper rock album. Arnold, who touted Deep Purple’s “tremendous musical integrity,” helped soften tensions between the young band and the older (in many cases rock-averse) orchestral players. Blackmore, who was less enthused about classical music at the time, agreed to the project on the condition that he guide their next album, which Purple already started recording in October 1969 at IBC Studios, London.

Coming two years after Days of Future Passed — the pioneering band–orchestra undertaking between the Moody Blues and the London Festival Orchestra — Concerto for Group and Orchestra marked a trend in rock expansionism that was also purveyed by The Nice on their 1969 Five Bridges suite. Despite future band–orchestra pairings by Procol Harum, Rick Wakeman, Caravan, and Renaissance, the trend was quickly superceded by the Mellotron, an electro-mechanical keyboard that generated symphonic sounds at the tap of a key. This gave rise to the self-contained symphonic-rock unit (King Crimson, Genesis, Yes).

In 2002, Concerto was remastered on CD with three additional numbers from the 9/24/69 Albert Hall concert: “Hush,” “Wring That Neck,” and “Child in Time,” Purple’s new group-written epic inspired by “Bombay Calling,” a song by It’s a Beautiful Day on their 1969 self-titled album.

1970: Deep Purple In Rock

Deep Purple released their fourth studio album, Deep Purple In Rock, on June 5, 1970, on Harvest (UK) and Warner (US). This was their first proper rock album of the Mk II era and the first Purple album with all original material, composed jointly by the five members.

In Rock opens with “Speed King,” where seconds of feedback herald a loud, fast, distorted bar-chord riff in G (Blackmore’s common key center). “Bloodsucker” is a mid-tempo boogie with a riff reminiscent of “Communication Breakdown” on the first Led Zeppelin album (the catalyst of Blackmore’s desire to go heavy). The epic organ showcase “Child in Time” overtakes side one with a pensive lurch cracked by Gillan’s haunting screams.

Side two features two raunchy mid-tempo rockers — “Into the Fire” and the funky “Living Wreck” — bookended by the seven-minute speed anthems “Flight of the Rat” and “Hard Lovin’ Man,” both marked by Blackmore’s churning power chords, Lord’s rippling Hammond, Gillan’s gruff voice, and Paice’s driving beats.

Deep Purple self-produced In Rock at De Lane (“Flight of the Rat,” “Hard Lovin’ Man”), Abbey Road (“Bloodsucker”), and IBC (the rest) between October 1969 and April 1970. They intermixed studio time with live dates throughout the UK and Germany, where they fine-tuned song arrangements for the album. At IBC, the band’s new heaviness mandate sent VU-meter signals into the red zone, a cause of the distortion felt on tracks like “Speed King” and “Into the Fire.”

In Rock was their first proper album without Derek Lawrence, who went on to work with Wishbone Ash, a twin-lead jam quartet that Blackmore recommended to the producer after they opened for Deep Purple in early 1970.

The In Rock sessions involved three engineers: Abbey’s Philip McDonald (Abbey Road, Forest, Barclay James Harvest, Roy Harper), De Lane’s Martin Birch (First Step, Fleetwood Mac, Skin Alley, Stray), and IBC’s Andy Knight (Juicy Lucy, Cravinkel, Soft Machine).

In Rock is housed in a gatefold cover designed by Nesbit, Phipps and Froome. It shows the same image on the front and back: an illustration of Mount Rushmore with the member’s heads in lieu of the US presidents. The inner-gates feature lyrics, credits, and a monochrome strip of member closeup shots.

The release was accompanied by a non-album a-side, “Black Night,” a mid-tempo rocker with a riff derived from “Ain’t Got Nothing Yet,” a 1966 hit by American garage rockers the Blues Magoos. “Black Night” reached No. 2 on UK Singles Chart.

In Rock reached No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 1 on the German and Australian album charts. Though it only reached No. 143 on the US Billboard 200, it has since achieved a Gold certification by the RIAA.

Rock Festivals, Outside Projects

Deep Purple promoted In Rock with tours of the UK and Germany. Their trek included multiple summer 1970 rock festivals.

On July 10, Deep Purple played Aachen Open Air Pop Festival in Aachen, Germany. The three-day event also featured sets by Amon Düül II, Can, Free, Golden Earring, Hardin & York, If, Kevin Ayers, Kraftwerk, Krokodil, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Quintessence, Raw Material, and Taste.

Two days later, Deep Purple appeared at the Euro Pop ’70 A-Z Musik Festival at the Eissportstadion in Munich. It featured numerous acts from the Aachen event, plus Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, Black Widow, Brinsley Schwarz, Bronco, East of Eden, Hard Meat, Jody Grind, Mighty Baby, Out of Focus, Savoy Brown, Steamhammer, and Van Der Graaf Generator.

On August 1, Deep Purple played the Progressive Music Festival at the Chateau De Saint-Pons in Aix-en-Provence, France. The event also featured Colosseum, Family, The Flock, Julian’s Treatment, Majority One, Pacific Drift, Pete Brown and Piblokto!, Titanic, Trader Horne, Wallace Collection, and the French acts Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes, Chico Magnetic Band, Dynastie Crisis, Komintern, Magma, and Triangle.

On August 9, Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash played the 10th Annual National Jazz & Blues Festival at the Plumpton Racetrack in East Sussex. The four-day event featured many of the summer’s festival mainstays, plus Audience, Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe, Clark Hutchinson, Cat Stevens, Every Which Way, Fat Mattress, Fotheringay, The Fox, Groundhogs, Jackson Heights, Made in Sweden, Patto, Peter Green, Rare Bird, and Strawbs.

Deep Purple’s 1970 touring schedule also included dates with Pentangle (3/20/70: Odeon, Edinburgh), Jigsaw (4/24/70: King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent), Hawkwind (5/22/70: Brighton Dome), Blond on Blonde (7/5/70: The Lyceum, London), Tear Gas (10/13/70: Electric Garden, Glasgow), and Delivery (11/7/70: Dreamland Ballroom, Margate), plus an early high-profile show by Genesis (4/11/70: Central Hall, Chatham) and multiple bills with Ashton Gardner & Dyke.

Lord befriended singer–keyboardist Tony Ashton. They both partook in a jam session that Lawrence arranged with Blackmore and members of Heads Hands & Feet. The session, comprised of ’50s rock and blues covers, was issued in 1971 on MCA as Green Bullfrog. Two participants in the jam formed Jodo, which issued the 1970 Decca hard-rock album Guts, another Lawrence production.

Meanwhile, Gillan portrayed the voice of Jesus Christ on the 1970 MCA/Decca double-album Jesus Christ Superstar, produced by lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber as the basis for their 1971 rock opera of the same name. Gillan trades leads throughout the album with Murray Head (Judas Iscariot) and Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene). The album also features ex-Manfred Mann frontman Mike d’Abo (King Herod), Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation singer Victor Brox (Caiaphas, High Priest), Gracious singer Paul Davis (Peter), and Quatermass bassist–singer John Gustafson (Simon Zealotes).

Deep Purple commenced sessions for their fifth studio album in late 1970 at the Hermitage in Welcombe, North Devon.

1971: Fireball

In February 1971, Deep Purple dropped a new single, “Strange Kind of Woman,” inspired by a troubled flame from Gillan’s past. It reached No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 1 in Denmark. In extended live performances, it was an emotional showpiece marked by a climactic scream. The galloping b-side, “I’m Alone,” became a rarity until its inclusion on a 1978 comp.

They completed their fifth album, Fireball, in June 1971. It first appeared the following month on Warner in the US. This version includes “Strange Kind of Woman” and six new band-written originals.

The album opens with the titular “Fireball,” a hopping speed-rocker (in B) with guttural vocals, spinning drum-rolls and expressionistic organ fills. “No No No” (6:54) is a mid-tempo boogie (in A) with scratching organ, nimble bass lines, and bluesy, lyrical guitar leads. “Anyone’s Daughter” slow starts into a finger-picking country-folk tune with saloon piano and cod hillbilly vocals.

Side two consists of three medium-length rockers. “The Mule” is a mid-tempo, open-cadence march with martial drum rolls, ringing organ sustain, and clean, searing leads. “Fools” (8:21) is a medium-slow blues rocker with caterwauling over an angular bar-chord riff (in B). Midway, the band breaks for a maraca-rattling showcase for Blackmore’s oozing leads. Lord’s trebly, distorted organ effects swallow the song’s final moments. The closing “No One Came” is a tight mid-tempo rocker (in E) with a “Stone Free” organ riff interspersed with a hammer-off guitar refrain.

In the UK, Fireball appeared in September 1971 on Harvest. This and all non-Warner pressings (Europe, Oceania) replace “Strange Kind of Woman” with “Demon’s Eye,” an organ-driven rocker (in G) with a walloping third downbeat.

Deep Purple recorded Fireball on-off over a nine-month period at De Lane and Olympic Studios. De Lane sessions were engineered by Birch and Louis Austin, who also worked on 1970/71 albums by Orang-Utan, Mainhorse, Catapilla, and Ray Russell. The third engineer, Irishman Alan O’Duffy, also worked on Jesus Christ Superstar and the 1970 novelty album by actor Peter Wyngarde (of the British spy-fi adventure series Department S). O’Duffy went on to produce multiple albums by Dublin rockers Horslips.

Fireball is housed in a gatefold cover by the design firm Castle, Chappell & Partners Limited. It shows the heads of each member at the head of a comet with a title tail that spirals back to planet Earth. The inner-gates replicate the image in monochrome with performance shots of each member. On the white inner-sleeve, the song lyrics are printed in purple under a marquee-style name and title banner.

“Fireball,” lifted as the album’s second US single and only Harvest a-side, reached No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart. Fireball reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and seven European charts (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Belgium). It also reached No. 3 in France and the Netherlands and No. 4 in Australia. In the US, Fireball reached No. 32 on the Billboard 200.

Fireball Tour, Gemini Suite

Deep Purple promoted Fireball with a 17-date tour of the states with Faces. In September, they played two shows in Germany and performed “No, No, No” on the Radio Bremen musical program Beat-Club (aired 9/25/71). A round of UK dates followed through late October.

Meanwhile, Lord composed a second classical work, Gemini Suite, comprised of five movements inspired by each member of Deep Purple. They first performed it live in September 1970 at the Royal Festival Hall with the Light Music Society Orchestra.

In March 1971, Gemini Suite was officially recorded at Abbey Road and De Lane. The recording features Lord, Glover, and Paice, plus Ashton, Elliman, and guitarist Albert Lee (Heads Hands & Feet) in conjunction with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold.

The 47-minute suite was issued later that year in a gatefold sleeve on Purple Records, an EMI-distributed imprint established by Purple’s management for group releases and associated acts, including Buddy Bohn and Curtiss Maldoon. Glover produced the label’s third release, Pick Up a Bone, the debut album by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rupert Hine, who later formed Quantum Jump and produced numerous acts (Cafe Jacques, Anthony Phillips, Saga, The Fixx).

Lord also collaborated with Ashton on the soundtrack to The Last Rebel, the 1971 American Technicolor Western film starring NFL champion Joe Namath. Lord submitted six tracks and co-wrote two with Ashton, including “You, Me and a Friend of Mine,” released as an Ashton solo single. The full soundtrack appeared that year in North America on Capitol as an Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album.

Elsewhere, Lord played on Hands of Jack the Ripper, the 1971 Cotillion release by Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends. The album also features backing by Simper, Experience bassist Noel Redding (then of Road), and Procol Harum keyboardist Matthew Fisher.

Meanwhile, Gillan formed the publishing company Pussy Music Ltd. Its first client was Jerusalem, a hard-rock band from Salisbury. Gillan produced their debut album, released in March 1972 on Deram. In his Jerusalem liner notes, he describes the band as “rough, raw, and doomy with their own strong identity… they are young and a bit green, they don’t follow many rules, so their material is a but crude—but still immensely powerful in content.”

Montreux Casino Fire

On December 4, 1971, Deep Purple transported the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to Montreux, Switzerland, where they intended to record their next album during off-season at the Montreux Casino. On the last night before winter break, during a performance by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, an audience member fired a flare at the casino theatre’s rattan-covered ceiling, which ignited and caused an inferno than leveled the casino.

Deep Purple watched the event unfold from their hotel. It inspired one of their new songs, “Smoke On the Water,” a reference to the ensuing fire that towered over Lake Geneva (“a fire in the sky”). The first eight lines recount the event:

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn’t have much time
Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Were at the best place around
But some stupid with a flare gun
Burned the place to the ground

On December 6, Deep Purple commenced sessions for their sixth studio album in a converted room at the nearby Hôtel des Alpes-Grand Hôtel. They completed the album in two weeks.

1972: Machine Head

Deep Purple released Machine Head on March 25, 1972. This — the band’s sixth studio album and third of the Mk II era — was their first release on Purple Records. It opens with “Highway Star,” a racing rocker (in G) with a lightning Blackmore solo and an upward-spiraling chorus. “Maybe I’m a Leo” is a mid-tempo boogie with lyrical allusions to Gillan’s rising sign. “Pictures of Home” is an uptempo rocker (in B) with bass runs and distorted, staccato organ fills. “Never Before” is a revved-up blues rocker (in E) with a fuzzy organ solo.

“Smoke On the Water” opens side two with a menacing bar-chord riff (G–B–C) in the key of G minor with an alternating augmented fourth (G–B–C#–C). “Lazy” fades in with fuzz-smeared cathedral organ that heralds an uptempo R&B-boogie with harmonica, trebly bass licks, and noodly fret runs. Another distorted organ riff signals “Space Truckin’,” a brisk, pounding rocker with a revolving, modulating chorus riff around the hookline “Come on!'”

Deep Purple had an insulated recording setup at the Grand Hotel, where they communicated with engineer Martin Birch via closed-circuit television and did many tracks in one take. Birch also produced the 1972 Purple Records debut by Silverhead, a hard-rock band fronted by singer–actor Michael Des Barres. The assistant engineer, Jeremy “Bear” Gee, also worked on 1971–73 albums by Fuzzy Duck, Gravy Train, Tucky Buzzard, and the Rolling Stones.

The Machine Head cover shows the band name and title stamped on a panel of metal, which reflects the five band members in semi-recognizable detail. The backside impression (protruding backward letters) shows on the back cover with a reflection of Glover’s bass neck. Glover arranged the monochrome photo collage on the inner-gates: an assortment of studio and member pics with images of the Montreux Casino engulfed in flames and smoke.

Machine Head is dedicated to “Nobs”: aka Claude Nobs, the manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival who saved several youngsters from the inferno. His deed is noted in the second verse of “Smoke On the Water” (“Funky Claude was running in and out, He was pulling kids out the ground”).

“Never Before” was lifted as the album’s first single, backed with the otherwise unavailable “When a Blind Man Cries,” a slow, sad ballad sung from the point of view of a lonely, dying man.

Blackmore, who disliked “Blind Man,” excluded the song from Purple’s setlist. It was more widely heard as a staple of Gillan’s later solo performances. In the ’90s, Blackmore’s successors in Purple (Joe Satriani, Steve Morse) made it a fixture of Purple’s setlist.

“Highway Star,” issued as the album’s second single, has since become an FM rock radio evergreen. Deep Purple performed it on the 6/24/72 airing of Beat-Club.

“Smoke On the Water” was finally released as a single in May 1973, after the following live and studio albums. The song reached No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the Cash Box Top 100. It has since become Deep Purple’s signature song. In 1977, it reached No. 21 on the UK Singles Chart.

Machine Head reached No. 1 in the UK and throughout Western Europe and the Commonwealth. The album reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in the US, where it has since received a double-Platinum certification by the RIAA.

Made In Japan

Deep Purple promoted Machine Head with Spring 1972 shows in Europe, the UK, and North America, including a two-night engagement with Bull Angus and Malo (6/2–3/72: Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco).

On July 1, Deep Purple played London’s Rainbow Theatre, where their amplification reached 117 dB. This earned them a listing in the 1975 volume of The Guinness Book of World Records as the “The Globe’s Loudest Band.” (A distinction overtaken by The Who on their May 1976 show at the Valley stadium in Charlton, London, where they reached 126 dB.)

Machine Head reached No. 6 in Japan, where Deep Purple played three August shows: two in Osaka (8/15–16/72: Koseinenkin Hall) and one in Tokyo (8/17/72: Budokan).

They returned to the US for a round of late-summer shows with Silverhead, Fleetwood Mac (promoting Bare Trees), Curved Air (promoting Phantasmagoria), and Epic recording artists Elf, a New York hard-rock band fronted by veteran singer Ronnie James Dio. Paice and Glover co-produced their debut album, Elf, recorded during April–July 1972 at Studio One, Atlanta.

Deep Purple headed home for a Sept.–Oct. UK tour, then returned to the US for more shows with Elf and Fleetwood Mac. In December, they played two Midwest dates with Blue Oyster Cult, followed by three shows with ex-Colosseum reedist Dick Heckstall-Smith.

On December 8, 1972, Deep Purple released Made In Japan, a live double-album drawn mostly from the second Osaka show. It features extended versions of four Machine Head numbers: “Highway Star” (6:52), “Smoke on the Water” (7:32), “Lazy” (10:51), and a side-long “Space Truckin'” (19:42), which interpolates “Mandrake Root.” The set includes seven tracks in all with “Child in Time,” “The Mule” (9:50), and an elongated “Strange Kind of Woman” (9:36).

Stateside, Warner delayed the release of Made In Japan for several months to keep the market clear for the next studio album, which Deep Purple recorded in Rome and Frankfurt during July and October (respectively) of 1972 with the Stones Mobile Studio.

1973: Who Do We Think We Are

Deep Purple released their seventh studio album, Who Do We Think We Are, on January 13, 1973, on Purple Records. It opens with “Woman from Tokyo,” a raunchy rocker (in E) with Leslied effects and a spacey middle-eight (in G). The lyrics deal with Gillan’s fascination with that city, its culture and its women (“Talk about her like a queen, Dancing in a eastern dream”).

“Mary Long” is a socially charged rocker directed at campaigner Mary Whitehouse and politician Lord Longford, both stewards of British “polite” society during the 1970s. The chorus line (“How did you loose your virginity Mary Long?”) assails their uppity moral crusades. “Super Trouper” is a gruff mid-tempo rocker with a phased chorus and an oozing, closed-cadence guitar break. “Smooth Dancer” is a fast-paced rocker with brisk down-strokes, skating organ, and howling verses.

“Rat Bat Blue” is mid-tempo boogie-blues with staccato guitar licks over a Bo Diddley beat. On the slow blues “Place in Line” (6:29), Gillan varies his tone with uncharacteristic low-register lines. The song’s second half is a guitar–organ jam over a standard 12-bar progression (in B). “Our Lady” is a medium-slow, open-cadence ballad with roaring, tidal organ and a harmonized chorus.

Paice and Glover mixed the self-produced album with Birch and Gee. Glover designed the cover with band manager John Coletta. It shows fish-eye views of each member encapsulated in bubbles above ocean water. The inner-gates show a collage of press clippings, including headlines like “Purple Devastate Edinburgh” and “Eating Band on Deep Purple Men.”

Who Do We Think We Are reached No. 1 in Australia, No. 3 in Germany, No. 4 in the UK, and No. 15 on the Billboard 200. As a single, “Woman from Tokyo” peaked at No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 but became a medium staple of classic rock radio. Its b-side is a live version of “Black Night,” taken from the Tokyo show but not included on Made In Japan.

Mk III: David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes

Deep Purple promoted Who Do We Think We Are with an April–May 1973 US tour with Fleetwood Mac and Rory Gallagher. In late June, they did a second tour of Japan, which included dates in Hiroshima, Nagoya, and a second stop at Tokyo’s Budokan. Their two-night stand at Koseinenkin Hall, Osaka (6/27 and 6/29) marked their final appearances for more than a decade with Gillan and Glover, who left the band that summer over internal tensions.

Gillan dropped from music for two years to engage in business ventures, including an investment in Mantis Motor Cycles. In 1976, he resurfaced with the Ian Gillan Band, which released the album Child in Time on Polydor, followed by the 1977 Island releases Clear Air Turbulence and Scarabus. He then formed Gillan, which issued six albums between 1978 and 1982.

Glover produced three albums by Scottish rockers Nazareth: Razamanaz, Loud ‘n’ Proud (both 1973) and Rampant (1974). In 1974, he released the concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, based on the namesake 1802 children’s poem by English politician William Roscoe. In October 1975, the album was staged as a rock opera at the Royal Albert Hall with Lord and Gillan.

Deep Purple hired bassist–singer Glenn Hughes of the band Trapeze, which released the albums Trapeze, Medusa (both 1970) and You Are the Music…We’re Just the Band (1972) on the Moodies Threshold label. He was first enticed by Purple’s planned addition of Free vocalist Paul Rodgers, who talked of joining but instead formed Bad Company. They settled on David Coverdale, a Saltburn singer who replied to their ad in Melody Maker. One of his prior bands, The Government, opened for Deep Purple in 1969.

The lineup of Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Hughes, and Coverdale — colloquially known as Deep Purple Mk III — recorded their first album during November 1973 in Montreux on the Rolling Stones Mobile. They made their live debut on December 9 at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen.

1974: Burn

Deep Purple released their eighth studio album, Burn, on February 15, 1974, on Purple Records. It features two Blackmore–Coverdale co-writes: “Sail Away” and the epic “Mistreated” (7:25). The closing track, “‘A’ 200,” is a Blackmore–Lord–Paice composition.

Burn also features five group-written numbers, including “Lay Down, Stay Down,” “Might Just Take Your Life,” and “You Fool No One.” Hughes — who wasn’t credited for his writing contributions due to contract entanglements — co-sings on everything apart from “Mistreated,” a song where Coverdale set lyrics to a riff Blackmore conceived two years prior, inspired by the Free song “Heartbreaker.”

They issued a 7″ edit (4:33) of the titular opening number, “Burn” (6:00). The non-album b-side, “Coronarias Redig,” is credited to Purple’s three veteran members. “Might Just Take Your Life” was also issued as a single with the same b-side.

Birch engineered Burn with Finnish Stones Mobile tech Tapani Tapanainen, who also worked on the 1974–76 Rolling Stones albums It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll and Black and Blue.

Nesbit Phipps & Froome Ltd., the design firm behind the In Rock cover, created the cover imagery to Burn, which shows the member’s heads as lit candles (front) and melted candles under purple apparitions of their faces (back).

Burn reached No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 9 on the Billboard 200. It reached No. 1 in Australia, Denmark, Germany, and Norway.

California Jam

Deep Purple preceded Burn with January 1974 shows in France and Germany. They promoted the album with a two-month stateside tour that commenced on February 10 at the Forum in Los Angeles.

On April 6, 1974, Deep Purple played California Jam, an outdoor multi-act event at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, Calif. They co-headlined the event with Emerson Lake & Palmer, who were plugging their late-1973 release Brain Salad Surgery. At Purple’s request, the Tycobrahe Sound Company amplified the concert at a record-breaking 54,000 watts RMS, which transmitted the sets of Earth Wind & Fire (then plugging Open Our Eyes) and Black Sabbath (then plugging Sabbath Bloody Sabbath) across the speedway’s 2.5-mile stretch to Cal Jam’s 250,000 attendees.

Purple delayed their set until dusk, causing crowd unrest during the hour-long gap between Sabbath’s set and theirs. Purple’s set featured most of Burn: “Burn,” “Might Just Take Your Life,” “Lay Down, Stay Down,” and elongated versions of “Mistreated” (12:12) and “You Fool No One” (19:07), the last with intro/outro interpolations of “Lazy” and “The Mule.” They also played “Smoke on the Water” and one of their longest renditions of “Space Truckin'” (25:39).

At the end of their set, after Blackmore tossed his guitar into the audience, he threw a small speaker monitor at the crowd and attacked one of the nearby video cameras by ABC-TV, which was filming the event for segments on its late-night music program In Concert. Minutes later, a pyrotechnic mishap in one of his amplifiers set fire to the stage. Deep Purple fled the concert by helicopter to avoid arrest. Their management settled the estimated $10,000 in fines for the damaged equipment. Due to Purple’s refusal to play before dusk, the evening’s final act, ELP, couldn’t take stage until 1am.

Deep Purple headed home for a seven-week UK tour that commenced in Dundee, Scotland (4/18/74: Caird Hal) and wrapped in Coventry (5/28/74: Coventry Theatre). Their May 22 show at the Kilburn State Gaumont was recorded for BBC broadcast and later released as Live In London (1982, Harvest). On this occasion, Lord jokingly referred to himself as “Rick Emerson,” a reference to competing keyboardists Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Keith Emerson (ELP). 

John Lord Solo

The same month as Cal Jam, Lord and Ashton released First of the Big Bands, a collaborative effort recorded piecemeal between November 1971 and late 1973. It features nine originals, mostly co-written, recorded with multiple musical guests, including Peter Frampton, guitarist Jim Cregan (Blossom Toes, Stud), and drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck Bogert Appice).

Lord also collaborated with German composer Eberhard Schoener on two classical pieces: “Continuo On B.A.C.H.,” an attempt to complete Johann Sebastian Bach’s unfinished “Art of the Fugue”; and “Window,” a 32-minute work in three parts. Both pieces were taped in Munich, Germany, on June 1, 1974, with participation by Ashton, Coverdale, Hughes, guitarist Ray Fenwick (Fancy), drummer Pete York (Hardin & York), and the Munich Chamber Opera Orchestra conducted by Schoener. The concert comprises Windows, released as a Lord solo album in late 1974 on Purple Records.

Elsewhere, Paice was one of two drummers (along with Alan White) to play on E.H. In the U.K., the 1974 Atlantic release by American jazz-funk saxophonist Eddie Harris. The album also features appearances by Albert Lee, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, and keyboardist Tony Kaye (Yes, Badger).

Meanwhile, Deep Purple recorded their second album of the Mk III era during August–September 1974 at Musicland Studios in Munich.


Deep Purple released their ninth studio album, Stormbringer, on December 10, 1974, on Purple Records. It features three Blackmore–Coverdale co-writes (“Stormbringer,” “Lady Double Dealer,” “Soldier of Fortune”) and a three-way write with Hughes (“You Can’t Do It Right (With the One You Love)”). Coverdale and Hughes co-wrote “Holy Man” with Lord, who helped them write “Hold On” with Paice. Three songs (“Love Don’t Mean a Thing,” “High Ball Shooter,” “The Gypsy”) are group compositions.

Purple and Birch co-produced Stormbringer at Musicland, followed by sessions at the Record Plant, Los Angeles, with engineer Gary Ladinsky, who also worked on 1973–75 albums by 21st Century, Dan Fogelberg, Ivory, and Robin Trower.

Stormbringer sports a colorized reproduction of a 1927 tornado image by Minnesotan photographer Lucille Handberg, who caught the twister as it ripped through the rural town of Jasper. The tint and saturation of the image differs by national pressing. Handberg’s photo — doctored here with a unicorn — was previously appropriated for the cover of the 1970 double-album Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. It later reappeared in burgundy monochrome on the cover of Tinderbox, the 1986 release by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Stormbringer takes its title from the power sword of Elric of Melniboné, the signature antihero of English sci-fi fiction writer Michael Moorcock. (Hawkwind, a frequent associate of Moorcock, made a 1985 concept album about Melniboné. They titled it The Chronicle of the Black Sword because of Purple’s prior use of their preferred title, Stormbringer.)

On the UK Albums Chart, Stormbringer reached No. 6, a placement matched in Denmark and Finland. Stateside, the album reached No. 20 on the Billboard 200. Purple issued “You Can’t Do It Right” and “Stormbringer” as a-sides. In Japan, “Lady Double Dealer” appeared on 7″.

Mk IV: Tommy Bolin Replaces Ritchie Blackmore

Deep Purple promoted Stormbringer with a US tour that commenced in San Francisco (11/13/74: Cow Palace) and wrapped in Norfolk, Virginia, on December 17. The opening act, Elf, plugged their Glover-produced second album Carolina County Ball. Blackmore enlisted the band for a side project.

On January 25, 1975, Deep Purple appeared at the 4th annual Sunbury Festival in Melbourne, Australia. They were the only UK act at the three-day event, which featured sets by Ayers Rock, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Chain, Jim Keays (ex-Masters Apprentices), The La De Das, Madder Lake, Sherbet, and Skyhooks. An incident involving newcomers AC/DC — who allegedly tried to use Purple’s gear before being fought off stage by DP’s management — resulted in the young band cancelling their set.

On March 16, Deep Purple kicked off two nights in Yugoslavia with a show at Pioneer Hall, Belgrade, followed by three weeks of West European dates that culminated with an April 7 show at the Palais Des Sports in Paris.

Blackmore, who voiced dissatisfaction over the band’s newfound funkiness, left Deep Purple to focus on his project with Elf, which yielded the 1975 Oyster/Polydor release Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. He then formed an actual band named Rainbow with Dio and drummer Cozy Powell. They released two studio albums and a live double-album, after which Dio cleared out for singers Graham Bonnet (one album) and Lynne Turner (three).

Glover, fresh off his 1978 instrumental opus Elements, joined Rainbow in 1979 and played on their final four albums, culminating with the 1983 release Bent Out of Shape.

Meanwhile, Paice (credited as Ian Paiste) played on Funkist, the 1975 Columbia release by drummer–singer Bobby Harrison (Procol Harum, Freedom, Snafu).

Deep Purple replaced Blackmore with American guitarist Tommy Bolin, who cut three 1969–72 albums with soul-rockers Zephyr and replaced Domenic Troiano (who replaced Joe Walsh) in the James Gang for the 1973/74 Atco releases Bang! and Miami. Bolin’s status as a virtuoso was sealed by his role on Spectrum, the 1973 debut solo album by Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham. He played a similar role on Mind Transplant, the 1974 third solo album by ex-Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon. As an uncredited sessionist, Bolin deputized the lead guitarist slot on six songs on the 1975 debut album by Canadian rockers Moxy.

At the time of joining Deep Purple, Bolin was recording his debut solo album Teaser, backed by a slew of players including keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummers Narada Michael Walden, Phil Collins, and Prairie Prince (The Tubes). Two of its songs, “Homeward Strut” and “Wild Dogs,” appeared in Purple’s 1975–76 setlist.

The lineup of Paice, Lord, Hughes, Coverdale, and Bolin — colloquially known as Deep Purple Mk IV — recorded what would be their only studio album during August 1975 at Musicland.

1975: Come Taste the Band

Deep Purple released their tenth studio album, Come Taste the Band, on October 10, 1975, on Purple Records. It features four Bolin–Coverdale numbers: “Dealer,” “I Need Love,” “Drifter,” and “Love Child.” They also co-wrote the opening track, “Comin’ Home,” with Paice.

Hughes contributed “This Time Around” — which segues into the Bolin–Lord instrumental “Owed to ‘G'” — and co-wrote a song apiece with Bolin (“Gettin’ Tighter”) and Coverdale (“You Keep On Moving”), who co-wrote “Lady Luck” with outsider Jeffrey Cook.

Birch — credited here as Martin ‘The Wasp’ Birch — co-produced and engineered Come Taste the Band just after his work on the first Rainbow album.

The Fireball design firm Castle, Chappell & Partners Ltd. did the gatefold, which shows the five member’s heads as cherries in a round glass of red wine. On back, the glass sits emptied with a lipstick print. The inner-gates feature monochrome Mk IV live, group and members pics by rock photographer Fin Costello, who also notched visual credits on 1972–75 albums by Argent, Budgie, Esperanto, Greenslade, Hard Stuff, Isotope, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Solar Fire), Strawbs, Tempest (Living In Fear), and Uriah Heep.

Come Taste the Band spawned two singles: “Gettin’ Tighter” (US) and “You Keep On Moving” (Europe). The album reached No. 19 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 43 on the US Billboard 200.


The Mk IV lineup played their first concert on November 2, 1975, in Honolulu. The following week, they played two shows in New Zealand, where Come Taste the Band reached No. 6. Over the following month, Deep Purple played multiple dates in Australia, Indonesia, and Japan, culminating with a December 15 show at Budokan.

On January 14, 1976, Deep Purple launched a seven-week, 34-date US tour, starting in Fort Bragg, NC (Fayetteville Arena) and wrapping in Denver (3/4/76: Auditorium Arena). They headed home for five final UK dates, concluding on March 15 at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool.

That July, Deep Purple’s management announced to the press that the band had broken up. A final live release, Made in Europe, appeared in October 1976 on EMI/Warner. It features five numbers from the Mk III lineup, drawn from April 4–7, 1975, shows in Austria, Germany, and France.

Bolin cut a second solo album, Private Eyes, in June 1976 with backing by Appice (then in KGB) and percussionist Bobbye Hall. It appeared on Columbia that September. He toured the album with Frampton (Frampton Comes Alive tour) and Jeff Beck (plugging Wired). After a December 3, 1976, show with Beck in Miami, Bolin died from an overdose of heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and barbiturates. He was 25 years old.

Lord composed his fourth classical suite, Sarabande, recorded in September 1975 with guitarist Andy Summers (Dantalian’s Chariot, The Police), bassist Paul Karass (Epic Forest, Stackridge), percussionist Mark Nauseef (Elf, Ian Gillan Band), and the Philharmonia Hungarica directed by Eberhard Schoener. The eight-part suite — which features Lord on Hammond organ, piano, and Clavinet synthesizers — appeared on Purple Records in October 1976.

In 1977, Lord teamed with Paice and Ashton in the power trio Paice Ashton Lord. They released the album Malice In Wonderland on Oyster/Polydor with guitarist Bernie Marsden and bassist Paul Martinez (Stretch). Paice also appears on 1977/78 albums by Eddie Hardin (You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks) and Stretch guitarist Kirby (Composition).

Hughes sings on two cuts (“Chances,” “Nothin’ for Nothing”) on Trapeze, the eponymous 1976 fifth studio album by his former band. In 1977, he debuted as a solo artist with the Safari Records release Play Me Out, which features backing by Trapeze, Nauseef, and guitarist Pat Travers. He also sings on one track (“Stevie”) on Travers’ 1977 second album Makin’ Magic. Hughes briefly teamed with Irish guitarist Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II) in the LA-based hard-rock band G-Force but left before their 1980 album. He then formed a partnership with Travers Band guitarist Pat Thrall (Automatic Man, Go) that yielded the acclaimed 1982 Epic release Hughes / Thrall.

Coverdale released the 1977/78 solo albums Whitesnake and Northwinds on Purple Records, both produced by Glover. He then enlisted Marsden, second guitarist Micky Moody (Tramline, Juicy Lucy, Snafu), bassist Neil Murray (National Health), and drummer Dave Dowle (Streetwalkers) for a new band, Whitesnake, which debuted with the 1978 EP Snakebite. Later that year, Lord joined the band for their first proper album, Trouble.

In 1980, Paice replaced Dowle (off to Midnight Flyer) for Whitesnake’s third album Ready An’ Willing, which generated the hit “Fool for Your Loving.” This lineup held for the 1981/82 albums Come an’ Get It and Saints & Sinners, the last with Paice. The latter contains the original version of “Here I Go Again,” later rerecorded to global chart success by a rebranded Whitesnake.

Mk II Lineup Reforms

In March 1984, Rainbow wrapped their Bent Out of Shape tour with an orchestral-accompanied farewell show at Nippon Budokan. In April, Blackmore and Glover reteamed with Paice, Lord, and Gillan.

Lord left Whitesnake after playing on their sixth studio album, the January 1984 release Slide It In. Gillan was fresh off a stint with Black Sabbath, where he replaced Dio for the 1983 release Born Again, Sabbath’s last before a three-year pause.

The reformed Deep Purple rehearsed in Stowe, Vermont, where they recorded their eleventh studio album at “Horizons” in August 1984 with Le Mobile Studio.

1984: Perfect Strangers

Deep Purple released their reunion album Perfect Strangers on October 29, 1984, on Polydor. It features the group-written “Nobody’s Home” and seven Blackmore–Gillan–Glover numbers, including “Under the Gun,” “Hungry Daze,” and “A Gypsy’s Kiss.”

The title track was issued as a single, backed with the non-album “Son of Alerik,” a 10-minute Blackmore instrumental. In the “Perfect Strangers” video, the band record, cavort, and play soccer at the Stowe estate.

“Knocking at Your Back Door” was also issued as a single. The video contains sepia-tinged vignettes of a post-apocalyptic world, supposedly in a future century where a headline announces “Archaologists Reach Earth Fifty Years After Holocaust.”

Studio Discography (1968–1987):

  • Shades of Deep Purple (1968)
  • The Book of Taliesyn (1968)
  • Deep Purple (1969)
  • Deep Purple In Rock (1970)
  • Fireball (1971)
  • Machine Head (1972)
  • Who Do We Think We Are (1973)
  • Burn (1974)
  • Stormbringer (1974)
  • Come Taste the Band (1975)
  • Perfect Strangers (1984)
  • The House of Blue Light (1987)


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