Jon Lord

Jon Lord (1941–2012) was an English organist and composer, best known as a mainstay of hard-rockers Deep Purple. An early proponent of orchestral rock, he composed the band’s three-movement Gemini Suite, recorded in 1970 with the Orchestra of the Light Music Society.

Lord first emerged in The Artwoods, an R&B/beat group with drummer Keef Hartley and singer Art Wood (the older brother of Faces and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood).

In 1968, he co-founded Deep Purple, which shot to fame with the organ-psych hit “Hush” and standardized classic hard rock and proto-metal with the 1970–72 albums In Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head. Lord’s thick, Hammond organ work — prominent on the Purple staples “Speed King,” “Child In Time,” “Smoke On the Water,” “Highway Star,” and “Space Truckin'” — is a key component of the band’s sound.

He formed a side partnership with singer Tony Ashton (Ashton Gardner & Dyke) that generated the 1974 release First of the Big Bands. In 1977, they added Purple drummer Ian Paice for the Warner album Malice in Wonderland, released as Paice Ashton Lord.

Under his own name, Lord made the 1974–76 orchestral-rock albums Windows and Sarabande, recorded with all-star support and released on Purple Records. In 1982, he released the rock album Before I Forget on Harvest.

He was born Jonathan Douglas Lord on June 9, 1941, in Leicester.


  • First of the Big Bands (1974 • Tony Ashton & Jon Lord)
  • Windows (1974)
  • Sarabande (1976)
  • Before I Forget (1982)
  • Pictured Within (1998)
  • Beyond the Notes (2004)


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