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Smoke on the Water 7:20
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Deep Purple at Live 8
Deep Purple is the name of a British rock group,
and is also the name of a song composed by Peter De Rose, from which the
band may have borrowed its name. They are one of the first and most famous
hard rock bands, and are considered pioneers of heavy metal.
In May 1965, a band called Episode Six became popular on the British music
scene and became particularly popular in the mid-sixties. It featured
Ian Gillan on vocals, Graham Dimmock on guitar, Roger Glover on bass,
Tony Lander on guitar, Sheila Carter on keyboards, and Harvey Shields
on the drums.
Two years later, a band called The Flowerpot Men and their Garden was
formed, formerly known as The Ivy League. It was concentrated on a trio
of singers. The new name was clearly derived from the children's show
The Flowerpot Men, with the obvious psychedelic-era puns on flower power
and "pot" (cannabis). The band's most popular song was "Let's
Go To San Francisco." Some listeners assumed that the song was a
parody of Scott McKenzie's "If You're Going to San Francisco,"
but the band have denied this. It featured Tony Burrows, Neil Landon,
Robin Shaw, and Pete Nelson on vocals, Ged Stone on guitar, Nick Simper
on bass, Jon Lord on organ, and Carlo Little on drums.
In 1968, the group Roundabout formed, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore
on guitar, Jon Lord on Hammond organ, Chris Curtis on vocals, and others.
After only a month of rehearsals, Blackmore and Lord split from the group.
The two joined forces with vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nick Simper and
drummer Ian Paice. The new band was named Deep Purple.
In October 1968, Deep Purple had tremendous success in the US with its
cover of Joe South's "Hush," taken from their acclaimed debut
album Shades of Deep Purple. In 1969, two more successful albums followed:
The Book of Taliesyn and Deep Purple, the latter of which contained a
symphony orchestra on some tracks. After three albums and extensive touring
in the States, it was the inclusion of vocalist Ian Gillan (who replaced
Evans) and bassist Roger Glover (who replaced Simper) that created the
essential Deep Purple line-up. Initially, this line-up released a landmark
album in Concerto for Group and Orchestra a three-part movement written
by Lord and performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted
by Malcolm Arnold. It is widely known as the first successful collaboration
between a rock band and an orchestra.
Shortly after the orchestral release, the band shocked the music world
by creating extremely heavy, hard rock music, and thus becoming a pioneer
in the world of heavy metal. Their heaviness was only rivalled by newcomers
Black Sabbath. During this period, Deep Purple became one of the most
popular hard rock acts in the world, releasing the highly influential
and successful albums Deep Purple in Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head
(the latter featuring their most famous song, "Smoke on the Water"),
and the live album Made in Japan.
The classic line-up continued up through the album Who Do We Think We
Are (1973) at which point both Gillan and Glover left. They were replaced
by an unknown singer named David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes on bass and
vocals. This new line-up continued seamlessly into 1974 with the album
Burn, another highly successful Purple album. Hughes and Coverdale added
a funky R&B/soul sound to the band's heavy metal elements, a sound
that was even more apparent on the 1975 release Stormbringer. Blackmore
was not happy with the results, and as a result he left to form his own
With Blackmore's departure, Deep Purple was left to fill one of the biggest
vacancies in rock. The gap was filled by the prodigiously talented Tommy
Bolin who had established himself as a vivid imaginative guitarist with
acts such as Zephyr, James Gang and Billy Cobham. On the face of it Bolin
was just what the doctor ordered. However the subsequent album, 1976's
Come Taste the Band, for all its quality, proved unpopular with die-hard
fans and didn't attract any new ones. Bolin himself turned out not to
be ready for the job of filling Blackmore's shoes, suffering hostility
from some crowds while turning in performances of highly variable quality.
He had a drug habit, heroin, which made matters all the worse. After a
particularly traumatic tour to promote Come Taste the Band, the band broke
up. Later Tommy Bolin died of a heroin overdose whilst on tour supporting
Subsequently, most of the past members of Deep Purple would go on to have
considerable success in a number of other bands including Rainbow, Whitesnake
and Gillan, while there were a number of promoter-led attempts to get
the band to reform especially with the revival of the hard rock market
in the late 70s/early 80s.
In April 1984, 8 years after the demise of Deep Purple, it happened. It
was announced on BBC radio's The Friday Rock Show that the "classic"
early 70s line-up of Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice was reforming
and recording new material. Deep Purple signed a deal with Polydor in
Europe and Mercury in North America. The album Perfect Strangers was released
in October 1984 and the tour followed, starting in New Zealand and winding
its way across the world into Europe by the following summer. It was a
tremendous success. The UK homecoming proved mixed as they elected to
play just a single festival show (with main support from The Scorpions).
The weather was famously bad but 80,000 turned up anyway.
The line-up recorded and toured The House of Blue Light in 1987 though
to lower sales, a live album Nobody's Perfect (1988) was culled from US
shows on this tour. While in the UK a new version of "Hush"
was released to mark 20 years of the band. In 1989, Ian Gillan quit the
band again, as his relations with Blackmore soured. His replacement was
former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. This line up recorded just one
album, Slaves and Masters (1990), and toured in support of it.
With the tour done, Turner was forced to go as Jon Lord and Ian Paice
realised Deep Purple needed Gillan back in the fold. Blackmore relented
and the classic line-up recorded The Battle Rages On in 1993. During the
support tour in mid-1994, tensions between Gillan and Blackmore came to
a head yet again. Blackmore walked out, never to return and leaving the
band in a fix. Joe Satriani was drafted in, so the live dates (in Japan)
could be completed. Satriani was asked to join full time, but declined.
The band auditioned guitarists, and Steve Morse of Dixie Dregs impressed
them enough to get the gig.
The revitalised Deep Purple enjoyed success throughout the rest of the
1990s, releasing the critically acclaimed Purpendicular in 1996, and Abandon
in 1998. Most of this period was spent on the road via constant touring.
The group continued forward until 2002, when founding member Jon Lord
(who, along with Ian Paice, was the only member to be in all incarnations
of the band) announced he was leaving the band to pursue personal projects
(especially orchestral work). Rock keyboard veteran Don Airey (Rainbow/Whitesnake,
etc.), who had helped Purple out when Lord was injured in 2001, joined
the band. In 2003, Deep Purple released their first studio album in five
years, the highly praised Bananas, and began touring in support of the
Deep Purple and Heavy Metal
Despite their association with the sub-genre, Deep Purple has never been
purely a heavy metal band, though many later heavy metal bands cite their
influence. The group has frequently changed styles and line-ups over the
years, but has always included virtuoso players in its ranks and placed
a high priority on musicianship. Some incarnations of Deep Purple have
brought aspects of jazz to a rock context due to their frequent use of
their songs as vehicles for extended and sophisticated solos.
This article about Deep Purple is posted under the
GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from this Wikipedia
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