Deep Purple Brief Biography, Albums & Singles Discography, Chart Positions Home Books Music Films TV 1960s Music Index 1970s Music Index 1980s Music Index 1990s to Contemporary Music Index

Deep Purple Brief Biography


Deep Purple, along with Led Zeppelin, were heavy metal/heavy rock pioneers in the late 1960s. British group Deep Purple grew out of several '60s bands, including The Flowerpot Men (the group that had the 1967 hit at the height of flower power, 'Let's Go To San Francisco', and included organist Jon Lord and bassist Nick Simper), and the slightly later group, Roundabout (which featured guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and Lord). Blackmore, Lord, and Simper joined forces in 1968, augmented by Rod Evans (vocals) and Ian Paice (drums), to form the first incarnation of Deep Purple.

An instant success, Deep Purple saw their single 'Hush' reach number four in the US in '68, which was a year heavy rock really came to the fore, with Led Zeppelin being formed that year, and also being the year of The Beatles 'Helter Skelter' and Iron Butterfly's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'. Deep Purple themselves, were a support act on Cream's last tour, all of their first few albums were well received, and, on the eponymous 1969 'Deep Purple' album, the band employed a symphony orchestra on some of the tracks.

The line-up was about to change, however, with former Episode Six members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover replacing Evans on vocals, and Simper on bass, respectively.

Around this time, Deep Purple, like a number of bands of the late '60s, were becoming more expansive musically, and, with their new line-up, their Jon Lord inspired classical meets rock album, 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra', was performed at the lofty surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall, with Malcolm Arnold conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Thus, Deep Purple had proved, early on in their careers, that they had more finesse than most of the heavy rock bands which were to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s. Deep Purple never really liked being labelled heavy rock anyway, and, like Led Zeppelin, their music was just as powerful as any heavy rock band around you'd care to name, but these two giants of British rock were also a damn sight more versatile, too.

Deep Purple's success continued unabated until the mid-'70s, by which time they had built up a reputation as one of the big three of heavy rock bands - the others being Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In the early '70s Deep Purple produced their two most famous songs, 'Black Night' (though as a single not going down too well in the US, chartwise) and (with, pretty much unquestionably, the most famous opening guitar riff on any heavy rock song) 'Smoke On The Water'.

A turbulent couple of years for Deep Purple occurred from 1973 onwards, with both Gillan and Glover leaving the group, and being replaced by vocalist David Coverdale (relatively unknown up to that point), and Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes. They made their first appearances on the 1974 album, 'Burn', which continued the run of successful Deep Purple albums. Coverdale and Hughes also continued the Deep Purple tradition of embracing different forms of music, and were bringing in funk and soul, especially on the group's next album, 'Stormbringer'. Blackmore, however, did not like the direction Deep Purple were taking, and left to form Rainbow.

Ritchie Blackmore's departure proved to be a crushing blow for the group, and they had really reached their zenith, so there was only one way to go now. The tragic American guitarist Tommy Bolin was brought in, but never really did himself justice due to drug problems, problems which were maybe exacerbated by the high expectations of having to replace one of rock's best guitarists. 'Come Taste The Band', from 1975, was Purple's last album before their reformation in 1984.

Former members of Deep Purple were to find success with Rainbow, Whitesnake, and Gillan - a rare occurrence of the remnants of a top rock band being successful thrice over.

In April, 1984, the most revered line-up of Deep Purple - Gillan, Blackmore, Lord, Paice, and Glover - got together again to record a new album, 'Perfect Strangers', and play a world tour, both of which were successful. Things were quite rosy until Gillan was fired in 1989, and replaced by ex-Rainbow frontman Joe Lynn Turner. It wasn't long before Gillan returned again, but tensions had always run high between Blackmore and Gillan, and this time Blackmore left, to be replaced by Joe Satriani in 1994. Then when Satriani preferred to concentrate on his solo career, Steve Morse stepped in, later in '94.

Deep Purple have gained respect in latter years for such albums as 'Purpendicular', and even revisited the Royal Albert Hall, to perform 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra' again, in 1999. This time with the London Symphony Orchestra. When Jon Lord quit the band to take things a bit easier, in 2002, he was replaced by Don Airey, who had good credentials, having played with Rainbow and Whitesnake.

Now up to Mk VIII, Deep Purple, with stalwarts Gillan, Glover, and Paice still in the band, made a resounding impression at the Canadian leg of Live 8, and are true rock 'n' roll survivors - being the longest lasting of all the major heavy rock groups...though whisper it - as they're not keen on being called heavy rock, of course!

- Paul Rance/

Deep Purple DVDs available from - in association with Amazon

Deep Purple DVDs

Product image for ASIN: B00006IU5R Deep Purple - Concerto For Group And Orchestra [1969]
'Deep Purple - In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra [2000]' Deep Purple - In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra [2000]

Deep Purple DVDs

Product image for ASIN: 6305898863 Deep Purple Live in Australia 1999 - Total Abandon
Deep Purple - Machine Head

Deep Purple Studio Albums

Shades Of Deep Purple, September 1968 (UK) #24 US

The Book Of Taliesyn, December 1968 (US), July 1969 (UK) #54 US

Deep Purple, June 1969 (US), November 1969 (UK) #162 US

Deep Purple In Rock, June 1970 (UK) #4 UK, #143 US

Fireball, May 1971 (US), September 1971 (UK) #1 UK, #32 US

Machine Head, March 1972 (UK) #1 UK, #7 US

Who Do We Think We Are, February 1973 (UK) #4 UK, #15 US

Burn, February 1974 (UK) #3 UK, #9 US

Stormbringer, December 1974 (UK) #6 UK, #20 US

Come Taste The Band, October 1975 (UK) #19 UK, #43 US

Deep Purple Studio Albums since the 1984 Reunion

Perfect Strangers, November 1984 #5 UK, #17 US
The House Of Blue Light, January 1987 #10 UK, #34 US
Slaves & Masters, October 1990 #45 UK, #87 US
The Battle Rages On, July 1993 #21 UK, #192 US
Purpendicular, February 1996
Abandon, May 1998
Bananas, August 2003
Rapture Of The Deep, October 2005

Deep Purple Live Albums

Concerto For Group And Orchestra (1969)

Made In Japan (1972) #16 UK, #6 US

Made In Europe (1975) #12 UK, #148 US (released as Deep Purple Live in the UK)

Last Concert In Japan (1976)

Deep Purple In Concert (1970-1972) released 1980 #30 UK

Live In London (1974) released 1982 #23 UK

Scandinavian Nights (1970) released 1988

Nobody's Perfect, released 1988 #38 UK, #105 US

In The Absence Of Pink (1985) released 1991

Come Hell Or High Water (1993) released 1994

On the Wings Of A Russian Foxbat = King Biscuit Flower Hour, (1975) released 1995

California Jamming = Live At The California Jam, (1974) released 1996

The Final Concerts (recorded live in Europe 1975) released 1996

Live at the Olympia '96, released 1997

Total Abandon : Live in Australia (1999)

In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra (1999)

This Time Around - Live In Tokyo (1975) released 2001

Live In Stuttgart & Birmingham (1993) released 2005

Deep Purple Compilation Albums

Purple Passages, 1972 #57 US
24 Carat Purple, 1975 #14 UK
The Mark II Purple Singles, 1979 #24 UK
Deepest Purple/The Very Best Of Deep Purple, 1980 #1 UK, #148
When We Rock, We Rock, And When We Roll, We Roll, 1980
The Anthology, 1985 #50 UK
30: Very Best Of Deep Purple, 1998 #39 UK
Winning Combinations: Deep Purple And Rainbow, 2003

Deep Purple's Most Successful Singles

1968 Hush #4 US
1968 Kentucky Woman #38 US
1969 River Deep - Mountain High #53 US
1970 Black Night #2 UK, #66 US
1971 Strange Kind Of Woman #8 UK
1971 Fireball #15 UK
1972 Never Before #35 UK
1973 Smoke On The Water #21 UK (1977 release), #3 US
1973 Woman From Tokyo #60 US
1974 Might Just Take Your Life #91 US
1977 New Live And Rare EP #31 UK
1978 New Live And Rare EP II #45 UK
1980 Black Night (reissue) #43 UK
1980 New Live And Rare EP III #48 UK
1985 Knocking At Your Backdoor #61 US
1985 Perfect Strangers #48 UK
1985 Knocking At Your Backdoor/Perfect Strangers #68 UK
1988 Hush (re-recording) #62 UK
1990 King Of Dreams #70 UK

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