|Also known as
||Hertford, Hertfordshire, England
||Hard rock, heavy metal, blues rock, progressive rock
||Tetragrammaton, Warner Bros., Polydor, BMG, EMI, Edel
||The Maze, Episode Six, Rainbow, Paice Ashton Lord, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Gillan & Glover, Hughes Turner Project, Living Loud, Rock Aid Armenia, WhoCares, Black Country Communion
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band’s sound shifted to hard rock in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-Seventies”. They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide, including 8,5 million certified units in the US.
Deep Purple have seen several line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976–1984). The 1968–1976 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV. Their second and most commercially successful line-up featured Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (organ), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). This line-up was active from 1969 to 1973, and was revived from 1984 to 1989, and again from 1992 to 1993. The band achieved more modest success in the intervening periods between 1968 and 1969 with the line-up including Rod Evans (vocals) and Nick Simper (bass, backing vocals), between 1974 and 1976 (Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore in 1975) with the line-up including David Coverdale (vocals) and Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals), and between 1989 and 1992 with the line-up including Joe Lynn Turner (vocals). The band’s line-up (currently featuring Ian Gillan, and guitarist Steve Morse from 1994) has been much more stable in recent years, although organist Jon Lord’s retirement from the band in 2002 (being succeeded by Don Airey) left Ian Paice as the only original Deep Purple member still in the band.
Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1‘s Greatest Artists of Hard Rock programme and a British radio station Planet Rock poll ranked them 5th among the “most influential bands ever”. At the 2011 Classic Rock Awards in London, they received the Innovator Award. In October 2012, Deep Purple were nominated for the first time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but were not voted in the following March. In October 2013, the band was announced as a Hall of Fame nominee for a second time.
The beginning (1967–68)
In 1967, former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis contacted London businessman Tony Edwards, in the hope that he would manage a new group he was putting together, to be called Roundabout. Curtis’ vision was a “supergroup” where the band members would get on and off, like a musical roundabout. Impressed with the plan, Edwards agreed to finance the venture with two business partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire, all of Hire-Edwards-Coletta (HEC) Enterprises.
The first recruit to the band was the classically trained Hammond organ player Jon Lord, Curtis’ flatmate who had most notably played with The Artwoods (led by Art Wood, brother of future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and featuring Keef Hartley). He was followed by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was persuaded to return from Hamburg to audition for the new group. Blackmore was making a name for himself as a studio session guitarist, and had also been a member of The Outlaws, Screaming Lord Sutch, and Neil Christian. Curtis’ erratic behaviour soon forced him out of his own project, but Lord and Blackmore were keen to continue, and carried on recruiting additional members, keeping Tony Edwards as their manager.
It [“Deep Purple“] was a song my grandmother used to play on the piano
— Ritchie Blackmore on choosing the band’s name.
For the bass guitar, Lord suggested his old friend Nick Simper, with whom he had played in a band called The Flower Pot Men and their Garden (formerly known as The Ivy League) back in 1967. Simper had previously been in Johnny Kidd and The Pirates and survived the car crash that killed Kidd. Simper had known Blackmore since the early 1960s when his first band, the Renegades, debuted around the same time as one of Blackmore’s early bands, the Dominators. Bobby Woodman was the initial choice for the drums, but during the auditions for a singer, Rod Evans of the Maze came in with his drummer, Ian Paice. Blackmore had seen Paice on tour with the Maze in Germany in 1966, and had been impressed by the 18-year-old’s drumming. While Woodman was out for cigarettes, Blackmore quickly arranged an audition for Paice. Both Paice and Evans won their respective jobs, and the line-up was complete.
The band began in earnest in March 1968 at Deeves Hall, a country house in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. The band would live, write and rehearse at Deeves Hall, which was fully kitted out with the latest Marshall amplification. After a brief tour of Denmark and Sweden in April, in which they were still billed as Roundabout, Blackmore suggested a new name: “Deep Purple“, named after his grandmother’s favourite song. The group had resolved to choose a name after everyone had posted one on a board in rehearsal. Second to Deep Purple was “Concrete God”, which the band thought was too harsh to take on.
Early years (1968–70)
In May 1968, the band moved into Pye Studios in London’s Marble Arch to record their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple, which was released in July. The group had success in North America with a cover of Joe South‘s “Hush“, and by September 1968, the song had reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 2 on the Canadian RPM charts, pushing the Shades LP up to No. 24 on Billboard’s pop album charts. The following month, Deep Purple was booked to support Cream on their Goodbye tour.
The band’s second album, The Book of Taliesyn (including a cover of Neil Diamond‘s “Kentucky Woman“), was released in North America to coincide with the tour, reaching number 38 on the Billboard charts and number 21 on the RPM charts, although it would not be released in their home country until the following year. Early 1969 saw Deep Purple record their third album, simply titled Deep Purple. The album contained strings and woodwind on one track (“April”), showcasing Lord’s classical antecedents such as Bach and Rimsky-Korsakov, and several other influences were in evidence, notably Vanilla Fudge. (Lord and Blackmore had even claimed the group wanted to be a “Vanilla Fudge clone”.) Not satisfied with the possibilities for singles off this album, the band also recorded a single called “Emmaretta”, named after Emmaretta Marks, then a cast member of the musical Hair, whom Evans was trying to seduce. This would be the last recording by the original line-up.
Deep Purple’s troubled North American record label, Tetragrammaton, delayed production of the Deep Purple album until after the band’s 1969 American tour ended. This, as well as lackluster promotion by the nearly broke label, caused the album to sell poorly, finishing well out of the Billboard Top 100. Soon after the third album’s eventual release, Tetragrammaton went out of business, leaving the band with no money and an uncertain future. (Tetragrammaton’s assets were assumed by Warner Bros. Records, who would release Deep Purple’s records in the US throughout the 1970s.) During the 1969 American tour, Lord and Blackmore met with Paice to discuss their desire to take the band in a heavier direction. Feeling that Evans and Simper would not fit well with a heavy rock style, both were replaced that summer. Paice stated, “A change had to come. If they hadn’t left, the band would have totally disintegrated.” As Ritchie Blackmore explained it:
Nicky wasn’t constructive, he didn’t have any ideas, and he was an average bass player, so he had to go. Rod just wanted to go to America and live in America.
In search of a replacement vocalist, Blackmore set his own sights on 19-year-old singer Terry Reid. Though he found the offer “flattering”, Reid was still bound by the exclusive recording contract with his producer Mickie Most and more interested in his solo career. Blackmore had no other choice but to look elsewhere. The band hunted down singer Ian Gillan from Episode Six, a band that had released several singles in the UK without achieving their big break for commercial success. Gillan had at one time been approached by Nick Simper when Deep Purple was first forming, but Gillan had reportedly told Simper that the Roundabout project would not go anywhere, while he felt Episode Six was poised to make it big. Six’s drummer Mick Underwood – an old comrade of Blackmore’s from his days in The Outlaws – introduced the band to Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. This effectively killed Episode Six and gave Underwood a guilt complex that lasted nearly a decade, until Gillan recruited him for his new post-Purple band in the late 1970s. According to Blackmore, Deep Purple was only interested in Gillan and not Glover, but Roger was retained on the advice of Ian Paice.
He turned up for the session…he was their [Episode Six’s] bass player. We weren’t originally going to take him until Paicey said, “he’s a good bass player, let’s keep him.” So I said okay.
— Ritchie Blackmore on the hiring of Roger Glover.
This created the Deep Purple Mark II line-up, whose first release was a Greenaway–Cook tune titled “Hallelujah”. Despite TV appearances to promote the record in the UK, the song flopped. Blackmore had told the Record Mirror they “need to have a commercial record in Britain”, and described the song as “an in-between sort of thing”—a median between what the band would normally make but with an added commercial motive.
The band gained some much-needed publicity in September 1969, with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, a three-movement epic composed by Lord as a solo project and performed by the band at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold. Together with Five Bridges by The Nice, it was one of the first collaborations between a rock band and an orchestra. This live album became their first album with any kind of chart success in the UK. However, Gillan and Blackmore especially were less than happy at the band being tagged as “a group who played with orchestras” at the time; what they had in mind was to develop the band into a much tighter, hard-rocking style. Despite this, Lord wrote the Gemini Suite, another orchestra/group collaboration in the same vein, for the band in late 1970. In 1975, Blackmore stated that he thought the Concerto for Group and Orchestra wasn’t bad but the Gemini Suite was horrible and very disjointed. Roger Glover later claimed Jon Lord had appeared to be the leader of the band in the early years.
Breakthrough success (1970–73)
Vocalist Ian Gillan on stage in Clemson, South Carolina, US, 1972
Shortly after the orchestral release, Deep Purple began a hectic touring and recording schedule that was to see little respite for the next three years. Their first studio album of this period, released in mid-1970, was In Rock (a name supported by the album’s Mount Rushmore-inspired cover), which contained the then-concert staples “Speed King“, “Into The Fire” and “Child in Time“. The band also issued the single “Black Night“, which finally put Deep Purple into the UK Top Ten. The interplay between Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s distorted organ, coupled with Gillan’s howling vocals and the rhythm section of Glover and Paice, now started to take on a unique identity that further separated the band from its earlier albums. Along with Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II and Sabbath’s Paranoid, In Rock codified the heavy metal genre. On the album’s development, Blackmore stated:
I got fed up with playing with classical orchestras, and thought, “well, this is my turn.” Jon was into more classical. I thought, “well you do that, I’ll do rock.” And I said, “If this fails, this record, I’ll play with orchestras the rest of my life.”
In Rock performed well, especially in the UK where it reached #4, while the “Black Night” single reached #2, and the band performed the song live on the BBC‘s Top of the Pops.
A second album, the creatively progressive Fireball, was issued in the summer of 1971. The title track “Fireball” was released as a single, as was “Strange Kind of Woman“, not from the album but recorded during the same sessions (although it replaced “Demon’s Eye” on the US version of the album).
Within weeks of Fireball’s release, the band were already performing songs planned for the next album. One song (which later became “Highway Star“) was performed at the first gig of the Fireball tour, having been written on the bus to a show in Portsmouth, in answer to a journalist’s question: “How do you go about writing songs?” Three months later, in December 1971, the band travelled to Switzerland to record Machine Head. The album was due to be recorded at a casino in Montreux, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig, caused by a man firing a flare gun into the ceiling, burned down the casino. This incident famously inspired the song “Smoke on the Water“. The album was later recorded in a corridor at the nearby empty Grand Hotel.
Continuing from where both previous albums left off, Machine Head became one of the band’s most famous albums. It reached number 1 in the UK, while re-establishing Deep Purple in North America, hitting number 7 in the U.S. and number 1 in Canada. It included tracks that became live classics, such as “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin’“, “Lazy” and “Smoke on the Water”, for which Deep Purple is most famous. Deep Purple continued to tour and record at a rate that would be rare thirty years on; when Machine Head was recorded, the group had only been together three and a half years, yet the album was their sixth.
When I was nine years old it was all about Deep Purple. My all time favourite [album] is still Made in Japan
Meanwhile, the band undertook four North America tours in 1972, and a Japan tour that led to a double-vinyl live release, Made in Japan. Originally intended as a Japan-only record, its worldwide release saw the double LP become an instant hit. It remains one of rock music’s most popular and highest selling live-concert recordings. The classic Deep Purple Mark II line-up continued to work, and released the album Who Do We Think We Are in 1973. Featuring the hit single “Woman from Tokyo”, the album performed well, hitting number 4 in the UK charts and number 15 in the US charts while achieving gold record status faster than any Deep Purple album released up to that time. But internal tensions and exhaustion were more noticeable than ever. In many ways, the band had become victims of their own success. Following the successes of Machine Head and Made in Japan, the addition of Who Do We Think We Are made them the top-selling artists of 1973 in the US.
New line-up, successes and struggles (1973-76)
Ian Gillan admitted in a 1984 interview that the band was pushed by management to complete the Who Do We Think We Are album on time and go on tour, although they badly needed a break. The bad feelings culminated in Gillan, followed by Glover, quitting the band after their second tour of Japan in the summer of 1973 over tensions with Blackmore.
David Coverdale, vocalist between August 1973 and March 1976
The band first hired Midlands bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, formerly of Trapeze. According to Ian Paice, Glover had told him and Lord a few months before his official resignation that he wanted to leave the band, so they had already started to drop in on Trapeze shows. After acquiring Hughes, they debated continuing as a four-piece band, with Hughes as both bassist and lead vocalist. According to Hughes, he was persuaded to join under the guise that the band would be bringing in Paul Rodgers of Free as a co-lead vocalist, but by that time Rodgers had just started Bad Company. Instead, auditions were held for lead vocal replacements. They settled on David Coverdale, an unknown singer from Saltburn in Northeast England, primarily because Blackmore liked his masculine, blues-tinged voice.
This new line-up continued into 1974, and their spring tour included shows at Madison Square Garden, New York on 13 March, and Nassau Coliseum four days later. The band then headlined the famous California Jam festival at Ontario Motor Speedway located in Southern California on 6 April 1974. Attracting over 250,000 fans, the festival also included 1970s rock giants Black Sabbath, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals and Crofts, Rare Earth and Black Oak Arkansas. Portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the US, exposing the band to a wider audience. This line-up’s first album, titled Burn, was a highly successful release (only the second studio album, after Machine Head, to crack the US Top 10), and was followed by another world tour. The title track “Burn”, which opens the album, was a conscious effort by the band to embrace the progressive rock movement that was popularized at the time by bands such as Yes, ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant, etc. “Burn” was a complex arrangement which showcased all the band members’ musical virtuosity and particularly Blackmore’s classically influenced guitar prowess. The album also featured Hughes and Coverdale providing vocal harmonies and elements of funk and blues, respectively, to the band’s music, a sound that was even more apparent on the late 1974 release Stormbringer. Besides the title track, the Stormbringer album had a number of songs that received much radio play, such as “Lady Double Dealer”, “The Gypsy” and “Soldier Of Fortune.” However, Blackmore publicly disliked the album and the funky soul elements, even calling it “shoeshine music”. As a result, he left the band on 21 June 1975 to form his own band with Ronnie James Dio of Elf, called Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, later shortened to Rainbow after one album.
Glenn Hughes, bassist and co-lead vocalist with Coverdale, 1973 to 1976
With Blackmore’s departure, Deep Purple was left to fill one of the biggest band member vacancies in rock music. In spite of this, the rest of the band refused to stop, and announced a replacement for Blackmore: American Tommy Bolin. Before Bolin was recruited, Clem Clempson (Colosseum, Humble Pie), Zal Cleminson (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band), Mick Ronson (David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars) and Rory Gallagher were considered for the part.
There are at least two versions about the recruitment of Bolin: Coverdale claims to have been the one who suggested auditioning Bolin. “He walked in, thin as a rake, his hair coloured green, yellow and blue with feathers in it. Slinking along beside him was this stunning Hawaiian girl in a crochet dress with nothing on underneath. He plugged into four Marshall 100-watt stacks and…the job was his”. But in an interview originally published by Melody Maker in June 1975, Bolin himself claimed that he came to the audition following a recommendation from Blackmore. Bolin had been a member of many now-forgotten late-1960s bands – Denny & The Triumphs, American Standard, and Zephyr, which released three albums from 1969 to 1972. Before Deep Purple, Bolin’s best-known recordings were made as a session musician on Billy Cobham‘s 1973 jazz fusion album Spectrum, and as lead guitarist on two post-Joe Walsh James Gang albums: Bang (1973) and Miami (1974). He had also jammed with such luminaries as Dr. John, Albert King, The Good Rats, Moxy and Alphonse Mouzon, and was busy working on his first solo album, Teaser, when he accepted the invitation to join Deep Purple.
The resulting album, Come Taste the Band, was released in October 1975, one month before Bolin’s Teaser album. Despite mixed reviews and so-so sales (#19 on the U.K. charts and #43 on the U.S. Billboard charts), the collection revitalised the band once again, bringing a new, extreme funk edge to their hard rock sound. Bolin’s influence was crucial, and with encouragement from Hughes and Coverdale, the guitarist developed much of the album’s material. Despite Bolin’s talents, his personal problems with hard drugs began to manifest themselves. During the Come Taste the Band tour, many fans openly booed Tommy’s inability to play solos like Ritchie Blackmore, not realising that the former was physically hampered by his addiction. After several below-par concert performances, the band was in danger.
Band split and solo projects (1976–84)
Tommy Bolin, guitarist from 1975-76, in a promo photo
The end came on tour in England on 15 March 1976 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Coverdale reportedly walked off in tears and handed in his resignation, to which he was allegedly told there was no band left to quit. The decision to disband Deep Purple had been made some time before the last show by Lord and Paice (the last remaining original members), who hadn’t told anyone else. The break-up was finally made public in July 1976, with then-manager Rob Cooksey issuing the simple statement: “the band will not record or perform together as Deep Purple again.”
Later in the year, Bolin had just finished recording his second solo album, Private Eyes, when, on 4 December 1976, tragedy struck. In a Miami hotel room, during a tour supporting Jeff Beck, Bolin was found unconscious by his girlfriend and bandmates. Unable to wake him, she hurriedly called paramedics, but it was too late. The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin was 25 years old.
After the break-up, most of the past and present members of Deep Purple went on to have considerable success in a number of other bands, including Gillan, Whitesnake and Rainbow. There were, however, a number of promoter-led attempts to get the band to reform, especially with the revival of the hard rock market in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1980, a touring version of the band surfaced with Rod Evans as the only member who had ever been in Deep Purple, eventually ending in successful legal action from the legitimate Deep Purple camp over unauthorised use of the name. Evans was ordered to pay damages of US$672,000 for using the band name without permission.
Reformation, reunions and turmoil (1984–94)
In April 1984, eight years after the demise of Deep Purple, a full-scale (and legal) reunion took place with the “classic” early 1970s line-up of Gillan, Lord, Blackmore, Glover and Paice. The reformed band signed a worldwide deal with PolyGram, with Mercury Records releasing their albums in the US, and Polydor Records in the UK and other countries. The album Perfect Strangers was recorded in Vermont and released in October 1984. A solid release, it sold extremely well (reaching number 5 in the UK and number 17 on the Billboard 200 in the US) and included the singles and concert staples “Knockin’ At Your Back Door” and “Perfect Strangers“. The reunion tour followed, starting in Australia and winding its way across the world to North America, then into Europe by the following summer. Financially, the tour was also a tremendous success. In the U.S., the 1985 tour out-grossed every other artist except Bruce Springsteen. The UK homecoming saw the band perform a concert at Knebworth on 22 June 1985 (with main support from the Scorpions; also on the bill were UFO and Meat Loaf), where the weather was bad (torrential rain and 6″ of mud) in front of 80,000 fans. The gig was called the “Return Of The Knebworth Fayre”.
Deep Purple at the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California. January 1985
The Mark II line-up then released The House of Blue Light in 1987, which was followed by a world tour (interrupted after Blackmore broke a finger on stage while trying to catch his guitar after throwing it in the air) and another live album Nobody’s Perfect (1988) which was culled from several shows on this tour, but still largely based on the by-now familiar Made in Japan set-list. In the UK a new version of “Hush” (with Gillan on lead vocals) was released to mark 20 years of the band. In 1989 Gillan was fired as his relations with Blackmore had again soured and their musical differences had diverged too far. Originally, the band intended to recruit Survivor frontman Jimi Jamison as Gillan’s replacement, but this fell through due to complications with Jamison’s record label. Eventually, after auditioning several high-profile candidates, including Brian Howe (White Spirit, Ted Nugent, Bad Company), Doug Pinnick (King’s X), Australians Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) and John Farnham (Little River Band), Terry Brock (Strangeways, Giant) and Norman “Kal” Swann (Tytan, Lion, Bad Moon Rising), former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner was recruited into the band. This Mark V line-up recorded just one album, Slaves & Masters (1990) and toured in support. It achieved modest success and reached number 87 on the Billboard Charts in the US, but some fans criticised it as little more than a so-called “generic Foreigner wannabe” album.
With the tour complete, Turner was forced out, as Lord, Paice and Glover (and the record company) wanted Gillan back in the fold for the 25th anniversary. Blackmore grudgingly relented, after requesting and eventually receiving 250,000 dollars in his bank account and the classic line-up recorded The Battle Rages On…. However, Gillan reworked much of the existing material which had been written with Turner for the album. As a result, Blackmore became infuriated at what he considered non-melodic elements. During an otherwise successful European tour, Blackmore walked out in 1993, for good, during a 17 November show in Helsinki, Finland. Joe Satriani was drafted to complete the Japanese dates in December and stayed on for a European Summer tour in 1994. He was asked to join permanently, but his commitments to his contract with Epic Records prevented this. The band unanimously chose Dixie Dregs/Kansas guitarist Steve Morse to become Satriani’s successor.
Revival with Steve Morse and longer tours (1994–present)
Deep Purple was approaching death in 1993. Audiences were falling off, we were playing 4,000-seaters with barely 1200, 1500 people in them. … Then, fortunately, Ritchie walked out, the sun shone again and we all said: “OK, we’ll give it one more shot.” So, yes, we are grateful for that chance.
–Ian Gillan, on the band’s rebirth
Morse’s arrival revitalised the band creatively, and in 1996 a new album titled Purpendicular was released, showing a wide variety of musical styles, though it never made chart success on Billboard 200 in the US. The Mark VII line-up then released a new live album Live at The Olympia ’96 in 1997. With a revamped set list to tour, Deep Purple enjoyed successful tours throughout the rest of the 1990s, releasing the harder-sounding Abandon in 1998, and touring with renewed enthusiasm. In 1999, Lord, with the help of a Dutch fan, who was also a musicologist and composer, Marco de Goeij, painstakingly recreated the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, the original score having been lost. It was once again performed at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1999, this time with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The concert also featured songs from each member’s solo careers, as well as a short Deep Purple set, and the occasion was commemorated on the 2000 album Live at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2001, the box set The Soundboard Series was released featuring concerts from the 2001 Australian Tour plus two from Tokyo, Japan.
Much of the next few years was spent on the road touring. The group continued forward until 2002, when founding member Lord (who, along with Paice, was the only member to be in all incarnations of the band) announced his amicable retirement from the band to pursue personal projects (especially orchestral work). Lord left his Hammond organ to his replacement, rock keyboard veteran Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake), who had helped Deep Purple out when Lord’s knee was injured in 2001. In 2003, Deep Purple released their first studio albums in five years (Bananas) and began touring in support of the album. EMI Records refused a contract extension with Deep Purple, possibly because of lower than expected sales. Actually In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra sold more than Bananas. Most of the songs played in their live concerts consist of classic 1970s material. In July 2005, the band played at the Live 8 concert in Park Place (Barrie, Ontario) and, in October released their next album, Rapture of the Deep, which was followed by the Rapture of the Deep tour. This Mark VIII line-up’s two studio albums were produced by Michael Bradford, who is known as rap or pop musician.
In February 2007, Gillan asked fans not to buy a live album Come Hell or High Water being released by Sony BMG. This was a recording of their 1993 appearance at the NEC in Birmingham. Recordings of this show have previously been released without assistance from Gillan or any other members of the band, but he said: “It was one of the lowest points of my life – all of our lives, actually”. In 2009, Ian Gillan said, “Record sales have been steadily declining, but people are prepared to pay a lot for concert tickets.” In addition, Gillan stated “I don’t think happiness comes with money.” In 2011, Deep Purple did concert tours in 48 countries. The Songs That Built Rock Tour featured a 38-piece orchestra, and included a performance at London’s O2 Arena. Until May 2011, the band members had disagreed about whether to make a new studio album, because it would not really make money anymore. Roger Glover stated that Deep Purple should make a new studio album “even if it costs us money.”
Glover and Morse in 2013 in Spain.
In early 2011, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes told VH1 they would like to reunite with former Deep Purple Mark III line-up for the right opportunity, such as a benefit concert. The current band’s chief sound engineer on nine years of tours, Moray McMillin, died in September 2011, aged 57.
After a lot of songwriting sessions in Europe, Deep Purple decided to do recording through the summer of 2012, and the band announced the release of their new studio album in 2013. Steve Morse announced to French magazine Rock Hard that the new studio album would be produced by the highly respected Bob Ezrin, who is known for his works with Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Pink Floyd. On 16 July 2012, the band’s co-founding member and former organ player, Jon Lord, died in London, aged 71. In December 2012, Roger Glover revealed in an interview that the band has completed work on 14 songs for a new studio album, with 11 or 12 tracks set to appear on the final album to be released in 2013. On 26 February 2013, the title of the band’s new album was announced as Now What?!, which was recorded and mixed in Nashville, Tennessee.
Deep Purple are cited as one of the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The group have influenced a number of rock and metal bands including Metallica, Queen, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Alice in Chains, Pantera, Bon Jovi, Europe, Rush, Motörhead, and many New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. Iron Maiden’s bassist and primary songwriter, Steve Harris, states that his band’s “heaviness” was inspired by “Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in.”
In 1971, there were only three bands that mattered, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple
In 2000, Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1‘s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” programme. In 2011, they received the Innovator Award at the 2011 Classic Rock Awards in London. A Rolling Stone readers’ poll in 2012 ranked Made in Japan the sixth best live album of all time. As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Machine Head (1972), Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head was released on 25 September 2012. This tribute album features artists such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, Chickenfoot consisting of former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, Black Label Society, Papa Roach vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, and the supergroup Kings of Chaos featuring Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, and former Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.
Prior to October 2012, Deep Purple had not been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as they’ve been eligible since 1993), but were nominated for induction in 2012 and 2013. Despite ranking 2nd in the public’s vote on the Rock Hall fans’ ballot, which had over half a million votes, they were not inducted by the Rock Hall committee. Kiss bassist Gene Simmons and Rush vocalist Geddy Lee commented that Deep Purple should obviously be among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. There have been criticisms in the past over Deep Purple not having been inducted. Toto guitarist Steve Lukather commented, “they put Patti Smith in there but not Deep Purple? What’s the first song every kid learns how to play? [“Smoke On The Water”]…And they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? …the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has lost its cool because of the glaring omissions.” Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash expressed his surprise and disagreement for the non-induction of Deep Purple; “The list of people who haven’t even been nominated is mind-boggling..(the) big one for me is Deep Purple. How could you not induct Deep Purple?”. When asked what band he’d like to see inducted into the Rock Hall, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich also singled out Deep Purple. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett commented: “I’ve been lobbying for Deep Purple for a long, long time. If Black Sabbath can be in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Deep Purple definitely belongs in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. ‘Cause they had great songs, great musicianship, they had an impact, and they’re a huge influence on the heavy metal community as a whole. So I definitely think that they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.” In response to these, a Hall of Fame chief executive said, “The definition of ‘rock and roll’ means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music.” Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan also commented, “To us, with the greatest respect, it doesn’t mean a lot although it’s rather like an award in the U.K., if I were to get one. I probably wouldn’t accept it. But then again, after a week of thinking about it, I would accept it because it would be on behalf of the family and friends and everyone who supports the band and who’s looked after us after all these years. It’s kind of a recognition of everyone. But whether we deserve it, I don’t know. I always get embarrassed talking about this stuff.” On October 16, 2013 Deep Purple were again announced as nominees for inclusion to the Hall.
Current members of Deep Purple with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2011
- Current members
- Ian Paice – drums, percussion (1968–1976, 1984–present)
- Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica, percussion (1969–1973, 1984–1989, 1992–present)
- Roger Glover – bass (1969–1973, 1984–present)
- Steve Morse – guitar (1994–present)
- Don Airey – organ, keyboards (2002–present, touring member August 2001 – February 2002)
- Former members
Deep Purple are considered to be one of the hardest touring bands in the world. From 1968 until today (with the exception of their 1976–1984 split) they continue to tour around the world. In 2007, the band received a special award for selling more than 150,000 tickets in France, with 40 dates in the country in 2007 alone. Also in 2007, Deep Purple’s Rapture of the Deep Tour was voted number 6 concert tour of the year (in all music genres) by Planet Rock listeners. The Rolling Stones‘ A Bigger Bang Tour was voted number 5 and beat Purple’s tour by only 1%. Deep Purple released a new live compilation DVD box, Around the World Live, in May 2008. In February 2008, the band made their first ever appearance at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia  at the personal request of Dmitry Medvedev who at the time was considered a shoo-in for the seat of the Presidency of Russia. Prior to that, Deep Purple has toured Russia several times starting as early as 1996, but hasn’t played a venue of this caliber. The band was part of the entertainment for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Deep Purple in Brazil, March 2009
- Deep Purple Debut Tour, 1968
- Shades of Deep Purple Tour, 1968
- The Book of Taliesyn Tour, 1968
- Deep Purple European Tour, (pre-tour for In Rock) 1969–1970
- In Rock World Tour, 1970–1971
- Fireball World Tour, 1971–1972
- Machine Head World Tour, 1972–1973
- Deep Purple European Tour 1974
- Burn World Tour, 1974
- Stormbringer World Tour, 1974–1975
- Come Taste The Band World Tour, 1975–1976
- Perfect Strangers World Tour, aka Reunion Tour 1984–1985
- The House of Blue Light World Tour, 1987–1988
- Slaves and Masters World Tour, 1991
- Deep Purple 25 Years Anniversary World Tour, aka The Battle Rages on Tour, 1993
- Deep Purple and Joe Satriani Tour, 1993–1994
- Deep Purple Secret Mexican Tour (short warm-up tour with Steve Morse), 1994
- Deep Purple Secret USA Tour, 1994–1995
- Deep Purple Asian & African Tour, 1995
- Purpendicular World Tour, 1996–1997
- A Band on World Tour, 1998–1999
- Concerto World Tour, 2000–2001
- Deep Purple World Tour, 2001–2003
- Bananas World Tour, 2003–2005
- Rapture of the Deep tour, 2006–2011
- The Songs That Built Rock Tour, 2011–2012
- Now What?! World Tour, 2013-2014