This is the seventh book by `Rare Record Collector’ and huge Deep Purple fan, Neil Priddey. This book details all UK vinyl releases by the group from the founding in 1968 to the final closure of the band’s own record label in 1982. Discover the essential facts on how to identify rare first pressings from less valuable later reissues and also read about the group’s turbulent history that accompanied each new album and the line-up changes along the way.
Former drummer and singer with The Searchers, Chris Curtis, had come up with a concept for a new group and persuaded keyboard player Jon Lord to join him. Together they approached a wealthy businessman named Tony Edwards to finance them. The group was to be called Roundabout, and musicians would ‘jump on and off’ the Roundabout as and when they coud commit to the project.
How prophetic that concept ended up becoming. The group quickly gelled into Deep Purple, without Curtis. And in a little over eight years, musicians came and went with alarming regularity. Even founder members were not immune to the ever-fluctuating changes. By the time the group finally folded in 1976, there had been four distinct line-ups of the band with a radical change in sound and direction at each stage. Each line-up came to be known as Mk.1 with Rod Evans (vocals) and Nick Simper (bass), then Mk.2 with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, Mk.3 with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes and finally Mk.4 with Tommy Bolin replacing Ritchie Blackmore on guitar.
Most critics and fans tended to cite the Gillan/Glover Mk.2 line-up as the band’s best. So, when in 1984 the disparate Mk.2 musicians folded their respective, separate projects (including Rainbow and Whitesnake) and reformed the ‘classic’ line-up, fans held their breath and critics held their pens, ready to write damning critiques of the reformation.
To the surprise of many, the group seemed to enjoy rekindling the old magic and in general, produced music and shows worthy of the legendary name. But soon, old wounds opened again. Gillan went and then returned, Blackmore left for good and even Jon Lord eventually called it a day to be replaced by Don Airey.
For a group founded in 1968 to be still as prolific in output and touring nearly 50 years on is no mean feat, although several fans – as happened with the Tommy Bolin line-up – have said it’s just not Purple without Blackmore, and even more so without co-founder Jon Lord.
Just as another of Britain’s rock legends Black Sabbath, who’ve finally called it a day in 2017, Deep Purple have hinted at 2018 being the year when the group will fold for good. It will close the book on a unique 50 year history that’s been emotional, exciting, creative and highly tumultous in equal amounts, producing some of the very best heavy rock music along the way. It’s an outstanding legacy.