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.
The first Deep Purple lineup released three albums on Parlophone and Harvest in 1968/69. The arrival of singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover heralded the band’s classic lineup, which issued four studio albums and a live double-LP between 1970 and 1973. A series of lineup changes altered the band’s frontline, prompting their disbandment in 1975. The classic lineup regrouped in the mid-1980s for two further albums. Assorted lineups have toured the nameplate in the decades since.
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)
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, 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, cleared 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.
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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