Tag Archives: Ritchie Blackmore

Rocks In The Attic #405: Deep Purple – ‘Deepest Purple’ (1980)

RITA#405One of the good things about Deep Purple is their almost prog-ish approach to heavy metal – six minutes of a track like Highway Star is the norm, rather than the exception. It also works against them, because when Warner Brothers / Harvest decide to release a compilation of the band’s hits, there’s a difficult decision to be made: either release an awesome – loud! – double LP, or take the easy way out, and employ noise reduction techniques to cram all of the songs on one disc.

So it’s a shame that this album runs at sixty four minutes, and sounds quiet as hell – not what you need when listening to Purple. Yes, you can turn it up, but it’s not the same, is it? I’ve fallen out with bands who’ve done this to their fans – Manic Street Preachers’ Know Your Enemy being one horrible, seventy five minute example – so it’s not something I can easily overlook. Cheap bastards!

Every home should own a Deep Purple record – whether it be a studio album (Machine Head is the obvious choice) or a compilation – just as they should own something by Zeppelin and Sabbath. The three together really are the holy trinity of heavy metal. But of the three, Purple are probably the band that gets the least amount of press – possibly because Ritchie Blackmore is just such a raving oddball, and doesn’t exactly do wonders for his band’s legacy. That Mark II line-up of Purple should be as celebrated as similar bands where there’s no weak link among the players in the spotlight, or across the back line. Instead, they come across as a poor cousin of metal’s founding fathers – just plain wrong.

Hit: Smoke On The Water

Hidden Gem: Burn

Rocks In The Attic #319: Rainbow – ‘Down To Earth’ (1979)

RITA#319As far as records signed by famous dead drummers go, this one’s a beaut. I found this in a record store in Manchester, with ‘To Lesley, Best Wishes, Cozy Powell’ scrawled on it in biro. My Mum’s name is Lesley, so if she developed a love for late 1970s rock, I could always present this to her as a gift. Given her predilection for Cliff Richard records, I think this one will stay safely in my collection.

Back in 1994, when I was too young to go to music festivals, I remember I had a video that I had taped off MTV. To promote Donington’s Monsters of Rock festival in 1994 – the one headlined by Aerosmith and featuring a great supporting bill of up-and-coming bands like The Wildhearts, Terrorvision and Therapy? – they had put together a show of bands who had played Donington in the past.

It was that video that got me into a lot of bands – at that point I had developed a love for Aerosmith, but I hadn’t been exposed to much else. Most importantly the show closed with a performance of For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) from the AC/DC Live At Donington film from 1991. I’d never seen the mighty ‘DC before, and that performance – the sheer bombast of it all – turned me on to the band big time.

One of the other videos they played to represent past Donington highlights was Rainbow’s Since You’ve Been Gone. The band had headlined the very first Donington back in 1980, and without any footage from that appearance to show, they opted to show the cheesy music video for the song instead. It’s such a fantastic song, hardly the most representative song to showcase Ritchie Blackmore’s band – it’s essentially a pop single – but it’s something that always gets me reaching to turn the volume up.

Hit: Since You’ve Been Gone

Hidden Gem: All Night Long

Rocks In The Attic #132: Deep Purple – ‘Machine Head’ (1972)

Rocks In The Attic #132: Deep Purple - ‘Machine Head’ (1972)This album kicks ass. It was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, using the Rolling Stones mobile studio. That particular piece of equipment was responsible for some landmark albums throughout the ‘70s, and this is definitely one of them.

Everybody knows the opening guitar riff to Smoke On The Water, but beyond that first minute or so, it’s a really soulful piece of music, considering it’s supposed to be the blueprint for heavy metal. The lyrics shouldn’t work either. Imagine a heavy rock song released in the 21st century, where the lyrics recount the inspiration, and the subsequent recording of the song. It sounds terrible – a band resigning themselves to banality because they can’t come up with any original ideas; but everything about Smoke On The Water is awesome.

History – and every guitar magazine on the planet – would have you believe that Ritchie Blackmore is the hero of this album – but Jon Lord’s keyboards really steal the show for me (with Ian Gillan’s vocals a close second). The organ work throughout the album is superb – through the prog rock workouts of Highway Star and Lazy – and that’s coming from a man who usually thinks organs belong in church.

Hit: Smoke On The Water

Hidden Gem: Lazy