Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee--Deep Purple

     One could argue that if for nothing else Deep Purple should receive a special award from the Hall of Fame for inspiring hundreds of thousands of guitar players to begin a musical road with those now famous power chords which open, "Smoke on the Water". However there was much more to the band, and honestly am baffled as to why it has taken so long for them to be considered.
     The group started out from drummer Chris Curtis, formally of the band The Searchers ("Needles and Pins", "Love Potion No. 9) to start out a band which would revolve it's members in and out as needed. It was to be called "Roundabout", and several investors were interested in this proposition so Curtis went about to put together the first incarnation of the band.
     He first turned to keyboardist Jon Lord who was followed by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. It wasn't very long that the investors in Curtis' idea were interested in Lord and Blackmore, but the drummer's behavior, always a bit erratic, had become more trouble than it was worth and was booted out of his own band. Nick Simper (Bass) was recruited, and Rod Evans (vocals) brought his drummer Ian Pace with him from their group, The Maze.  Shortly after beginning to tour in the spring of 1968, the name Deep Purple was chosen over Roundabout.
     Over the next couple of years, the group had success with the albums, "Shades of Deep Purple" (1968), "The Book of Taliesyn" (1968), and "Deep Purple" (1969). They also reached the heights of the top 40 twice in 1968 with a cover of Joe South's, "Hush", and Neil Diamond's, "Kentucky Woman".
     All of this early work blended the classical leanings of Lord, with the increasing bold work of Blackmore's power chord riffing and laid the foundations of not only heavy metal, but along with Keith Emerson and The Nice, provided a template for "classical" style progressive rock. As the 70's dawned however, it was decided to up the ante....
     Lord and Blackmore had decided to steer the band into more of a hard rock direction. Thinking that Simper and Evans were not suited for the new direction, they were replaced by vocalist Ian Gillian and bassist Roger Glover. This brought the group into what has been considered their classic years. "Deep Purple In Rock" (1970), "Fireball" (1971), "Made in Japan" (1972), and "Machine Head" (1973) set the standard for hard rock in the early 70's, and along with Black Sabbath set the blueprint for a host of heavy metal groups who would appear in the mid-80's.
     The pressures of almost constant touring for several years, a management pushed album, "Who Do You Think We Are" (1973) that was sub par in comparison to the previous work, and friction with Blackmore (that was probably caused by all the above), led Gillian and Glover to quit. He was replaced by David Coverdale (vocals) and Glenn Hughes (bass). The resulting album, "Burn" (1974) was a success. After the next release ("Stormbringer" in 1975) however, Blackmore was not pleased with the direction the band was going and quit. New guitarist Tommy Bolin helped propel 1976's, "Come Taste The Band", but his drug use and subsequent behavior led the band to break up later that year.
     The band reformed in 1984 and has continued to tour in various forms ever since. The line up today consists of Pace, Glover, Gilliam, Steve Morris (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards). Blackmore joined the reformed group in 84, but left in 1993 and since 1995 has been teamed up with his then girlfriend, Candice Night to form the folk rock duo, "Blackmore's Night". (Which if you like acoustic renaissance style really might want to check them out). Lord also teamed up with the reformed group and stayed until 2002, the last few of those years working on solo projects as well. He passed away July of 2012 at the age of 71.



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