309: DEEP PURPLE

Deep Purple’s first major lineup change and subsequent shift from psychedelic prog rock to a hard rock sound would, along with a few other events, would be the catalyst for what we now consider the birth of heavy metal. Alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple helped determine the direction for hard rock and heavy metal for multiple generations that followed.

With 1970’s ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ Deep Purple introduced the world to what would become known as the Mk. II lineup. This album was the beginning their permanent shift to a heavier hard rock sound, shedding the psychedelic influences of the previous decade.

By the mid-seventies however, the band was in disarray. Guitarist and founding member Ritchie Blackmore had left (to start a new band we will talk about soon…) and the band was riddle with addiction. This culminated in 1976 with manager Rob Cooksey famously stating “the band will not record or perform together as Deep Purple again.”

Through the rest of the 70s and the early 80s, there was newfound interest in the now-defunct Deep Purple. Hard rock was seeing a mainstream revival, and live recording and reissues were being circulated by fans. Multiple promoters attempted to orchestrate a Deep Purple reunion but were unsuccessful. 

But in 1984, the original Mk II lineup reunited for a new album – ‘Perfect Strangers’ – and a hugely successful world tour. This iteration continued u tik the early 90s until the fractures began to return. Gillan left and was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner for an album, before returning again much to Blackmore’s chagrin. Blackmore lasted until late 1993, walking out mid tour, never to return.

But, excepting the 8 year breakup that helped fuel their status, Deep Purple have carried on. Later this month, Deep Purple will release ‘Turning to Crime’, a covers album and their twenty-second studio album since 1968. Deep Purple are an unstoppable machine and continue to inspire modern rock bands today.