Deep Purple is a british rock band that pioneered hard rock in the late 60's (and still, as of 2010, exists) and also was one of the first bands incoorporating classical music in the sound of rock. The band had several setups known as Mark I, Mark II etc. There is no doubt that Deep Purple was one of the most influential bands of the seventies, and has inspired generations of musicians/bands in the genre of hard rock/heavy metal.
The Embryo of Deep Purple was from the very beginning an idea from The Searchers former drummer Chris Curtis. A psychedelic trend was around since Beatles Sgt. Pepper album and Jimi Hendrix's "Are You experienced?" -album. The project was first named "the Roundabout" and was supposed to follow the psychedelic trend. The first setup consisted of the brothers Chris & Dave Curtis (on vocals), Jon Lord on the Keys, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Nick Simper on bass and Bobby Woodman on drums. Both Blackmore and Lord were living in Hamburg at that time, and were working as session musicians. Lord had a minor succes from playing piano on the Kinks "You really got me", but otherwise none of the members had made any fame. Ritchie Blackmore was not happy with the psychedelic genre, and made more or less the two brothers leave the band before its even had started to rehearse seriously.
The Roundabouts had setup a rehearsing session in Denmark, and since the brothers left, they were holding new auditions for the vacancies. A lot of singers were auditioning, amongst them was even Rod Stewart. Finally Rod Evans got the job. Ian Paice, who was visiting the audition as a friend of Rod's, not knowing that a drummer also was needed, was hired as well. (both were members of a british band, M.I.5/The Maze, and Bobby Woodman had left by then)
When discussing the band's name during the rehearsals in Denmark, all was agreed to that "The Roundabouts" was kind of silly, and another name has to be found. "Fire" was on the line, but since another band already took that, Ritchie Blackmore suggested "Deep Purple" from a soul song by Nino Tempo/April Stevens. The other members was not so excited over the name, but Ritchie was persistent and on their first gig in Denmark it was Deep Purple. (even though they were announced as the Roundabouts)
Deep Purple Mark I
Deep Purple recorded their first single "Hush" which never made it to the charts in Europe, but reached the TOP 5 in the U.S. This phenomena gave the band a record deal with Tetragrammaton and their first L.P album ("Shades of Deep Purple") was released in september 1968. The following album ("the Book of Taliesyn") never reached any succes in Europe, but two singles made it to the TOP 20 in the. U.S ("Kentucky Women" and "River Deep Mountain High").
After they played as an opening act for Cream in the U.S and the audience actually dissed Cream yelling "Purple, Purple", Blackmore realized that Deep Purple must go into a heavier direction. Nick Simper and Rod Evans simply don't fitted in into the new direction and they were fired shortly after this. In november 1969 was their last album as Mark I released, entitled just "Deep Purple".
Deep Purple Mark IIa
The band hired Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Gillan (vocals) from the british pop-band Episode Six to replace Simper & Evans. At the same time keyboard player Jon Lord, who was a classical trained pianist, and also a skilled jazz player in the beginning of the sixties, wrote a piece for BBC ("Concerto for Group and Orchestra"), that was performed/recorded in Royal Albert Hall. They became big in England because of this event, but the band didn't want to build their fame on this album, and they worked hard to establish them as a live act.
The concerts were often very long due to improvised duels between Jon Lord and Blackmore. This was an element that was a trademark for the band at that time, but seemed to disappear later in their career.
Their first major success in Europe was with the single "Black Night", which never actually was on an album. With the release of their first "real" rock album "Deep Purple In Rock" with classics like "Child in Time" (nr 2 on the charts) and "Speed King", the band establishes themselves as one of the leaders in the genre.
In 1971, the band released "Fireball" that topped the charts in the album list. At the same time the band was working very hard and toured constantly. Just a couple of weeks after the release of "Fireball", they were into writing material for their next album, and the song "Highway Star" (opening song of "Machine Head") was actually written in the bus between two gigs.
The bands third album was supposed to be recorded with the Rolling Stones mobile recording equipment at the Casino in Montreaux. At the night they arrived Frank Zappa was doin a show at the casino, when a lunatic with a flare gun set the whole place on fire. It is told that Frank Zappa's last word before he left the scene with his guitar was: "-Aaaah, Arthur Brown in person". (Arthur Brown was a british singer who had a hit in 1968 with the satanic song "Fire" and did spectalular performances with burning hats)
Instead the band had to move the recording to the Grand Hotel nearby, and the whole story is told in Deep Purple's most known song "Smoke on the water". Ritchie Blackmore had during these years developed a riffing technique on his guitar, which since then had been a trademark for both Deep Purple and himself. In 1972, the band released "Machine Head" which became a mega-hit world-wide, and they made as much as 4 tours in the U.S in just one year.
They were also touring in Japan, where one of the most well-known live albums of all times were recorded - "Made in Japan".
At the same time the band experienced a lot of internal problems, especially between Ian Gillan and Blackmore - probably due to the pressure from touring/recording constantly for about three years. Gillan decided to leave the band and Blackmore/Paice/Lord has decided to replace Glover as well, but he left by himself before he actually got booted.
In the late 1973 Mark II's last album was released entitled "Who Do We Think We Are?" - the title was supposed to be a joke, but the fact is, that they WERE one of the greatest bands at that time. Only Led Zeppelin was about that big, and there were actually no bands in the same range around. The band had their own jetplane - the Starship - when they were on tour and became the best selling band in the world according to Billboard.
Deep Purple Mark III
Paice/Lord/Blackmore had attended a show with a band called Trapeze in L.A during one of their U.S tours and met the singer/bass player Glenn Hughes. After Glover left he was offered the job which he accepted. They started their search for a new singer and found David Coverdale - who was totally unknown by that time and worked in a cloth shop.
The new line-up released "Burn" as their first album, which was a commercial success. It sold about 12.000.000 copies in the U.S, and another 2.000.000 in Europe.
The critics was sceptic that the new line-up would be as good as the old one, but at their first performance in front of a quarter million people outside L.A at the festival California Jam left no prisoners. Ritchie Blackmore was smashing his guitar and a tv-camera, and partly sat the stage on fire. The band had to leave in a helicopter in order to avoid getting arrested.
The band's style had became more funkier/soulier with the introduction of Hughes/Coverdale , a direction Blackmore wasn't satisfied with. In 1974 came Mark III's last release entitled "Stormbringer". During this time, the members had became more and more selfish, they abondoned the golden rule from the earlier years that all the members should be co-writers on all songs. There was also internal conflicts and Ritchie Blackmore started to separate from the other members when touring. Probably a couple of the members was also taking drugs to keep them going when touring and the band faced a lot of internal problems.
Deep Purple Mark IV
Ritchie Blackmore left the band in april -75, forming his own band "Rainbow" with practically all the members from a band called Elf, even though some members later were replaced. Blackmore was replaced by Tommy Bolin, a talented young guitar player, that unfortunally had severe drug problems. The new band released "Come taste the band", which was far from their energetic hard rock style, even that the band played the "old" hits at their performances.
During the tour in the east Bolin/Hughes lost their focus because of drugs and Jon Lord was abusing alcohol during the tour, and since David Coverdale felt unsatisfied and had to stand aside the stage for long periods during the concerts, the catastrophe was a fact. In March 1976 in Liverpool during one of their last concerts, David Coverdale announced that he was going to leave the band, and got in return: "-There is no band to leave" from Lord/Paice since they decided before to let the band die. Tommy Bolin later died from an overdose in Miami, december 1976 and the rest of the members started other projects.
Deep Purple Mark II Reunites (Mark IIb)
In 1984 the most successful unit of Deep Purple re-united with the release of "Perfect Strangers", which immidiately caused a worlwide echo. The album reached #5 in the U.K and #17 at billboard, even that it was no actually market for hardrock by that time. The band started a world tour in Australia, which kept them busy for a long time. Another album was released in 1987 ("The house of the blue light"), but again - personal problems between Gillan and Blackmore became a major issue and Gillan left the band.
Deep Purple Mark V
Joe Lynn Turner who had been the singer for Ritchies band Rainbow, was hired instead of Gillan and he stayed with the band for just one album. ("Slaves and Masters"). The record company then persuaded Blackmore to take Gillan back in the form of a 250.000 $ check, just in time for the bands 25 year jubilee.
Deep Purple Mark VI
When reunited for the third time, the band released "The Battle rages On" in 1993, but Blackmore still had his conflicts with Gillan and even though the tour in Europe was succesfull, Blackmore left the band again and was replaced by Joe Satriani for the Japan tour. Satriani was offered a permanent place in the band, but due to other contract obligations he had to turn down the offer. This constellation was known as Mark VI.
Deep Purple Mark VII
The new guitar player hired was Steve Morse who played with Kansas and had his own band "The Dixie Dregs" for years. Morse was actually an excellent replacement for Blackmore even though the old Deep Purple fans thought that there is no Deep Purple without Blackmore. Blackmore started to collaborate with his wife Candice Night in the band Blackmore's Night, playing Baroque-influented stuff and is, when this is written still active. This line-up made three albums ("Purpendicular","Abandon" and a new version of "Concerto for Group and Orchestra")
Deep Purple Mark VIII
Jon Lord left Deep Purple in 2002, probably because of that he wanted to slow down and focus on composing instead. Keyboard wizard Don Airey (ex. Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, Rainbow, Whitesnake and nearly every hard-rock band around) replaced him and this line-up is still active.
From the very beginning Deep Purple's main sound was a mix of Blackmores distorted guitar guitar riffing in conjunction with Jon Lords overdriven organ sound. Ian Paice's hard drumming with unusual beats was also a trade-mark. These attributes combined built a foundation for Ian Gillan to sing extremely high notes on, which also was a noticable feature of the Mark II line-up. A lot of the music was highly improvised from the beginning, but cleaned up a little since the years passed by. Deep Purple was really a live act, which is easy to understand by listening to the songs performed on "Live in Japan" compared to the studio ones. Many of their chord progressions and themes was borrowed from classical/baroque music and has influented the neoclassical players of today.
Child in Time - Mark II 1970
Smoke on the water - Mark II 1973
Burn - Mark III 1974
Sometimes I feel like screaming - Mark VIII 2007
Shades of Deep Purple, September 1968
The Book of Taliesyn, December 1968 (US), July 1969
Deep Purple, June 1969 (US), November 1969
Deep Purple in Rock, June 1970
Fireball, May 1971 (US), September 1971
Machine Head, March 1972
Who Do We Think We Are, February 1973
Burn, February 1974
Stormbringer, December 1974
Come Taste the Band, October 1975
Perfect Strangers, October 1984
The House of Blue Light, January 1987
Slaves & Masters, October 1990
Mk IIc The Battle Rages on..., July 1993
Purpendicular, February 1996
Abandon, May 1998
Bananas, August 2003
No official recordings available
Concerto for Group & Orchestra
Deep Purple in Concert
Space Vols 1 & 2
Gemini Suite Live
Scandinavian Nights (Stockholm) = Live & Rare
Made in Japan = Live in Japan
Live in Japan (= a kind of 3CD edition of "Made in Japan")
California Jamming = Live at the California Jam
Live in London
Made in Europe
Mk III - The Final Concerts = Archive Alive!
Last Concert in Japan
This Time Around
King Biscuit Flower Hour = On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat
In the Absence of Pink (Knebworth '85)
No official recordings available
Come Hell or High Water (not the same as the Video "Come Hell or High Water")
No official recordings available
Mks IIa, IIc & VII
New, Live & Rare - The Bootleg Collection 1984-2000 (12CD Box)
Live at the Olympia '96
Total Abandon - Live in Australia (also as video & DVD)
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (also as video & DVD)
Live At The Rotterdam Ahoy
The Soundboard Series (12CD Box)
None recorded so far
Concerto for Group & Orchestra
Doing Their Thing...
Scandinavian Nights (Live in Denmark) = Machine Head Live 1972
Live at the California Jam
Deep Purple Rises over Japan
Bad Attitude [CD Video]
Heavy Metal Pioneers [Rockumentary]
Come Hell or High Water (not the same as the CD "Come Hell or High Water")
Mks IIa, V, VII
New, Live & Rare - The Video Collection
Around the World 1995-1999
Bombay Calling - Live in India 1995
Total Abandon - Australia '99 (also as CD)
A Band Downunder [Rockumentary] (also as bonus on the DVD "Total Abandon")
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (also as CD)
Related GMC Lessons