Wednesday, December 06, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Deep Purple

After the emergence of Cream and Jimi Hendrix set the stage for what became known as hard rock, three bands from England set out to emulate that same sound with a touch of psychedelia and blues thrown in for good measure.

The first of these British bands to record an album and burst on the scene was Deep Purple.

Purple started out as a psychedelic band with pop overtones, but after a lineup change that saw the original singer and bass player leave, the classic lineup of Deep Purple began recording their brand of hard rock at the start of the seventies and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon with the classic song, 'Smoke on the Water.'

Deep Purple was formed in Hertford, England, in 1968, with an inaugural lineup that featured guitarist Blackmore, vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice. Originally called Roundabout, the group toured Scandinavia and recorded their debut LP - Shades of Deep Purple - in 1968.

After releasing their third album, Evans and Simper were dismissed and the band started anew, recruiting singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover from the ranks of the pop group Episode Six.

Blackmore took creative control of the band, steering it towards a heavier, guitar-dominated approach which took full advantage of Gillan's powerful vocals. The gamble worked as Deep Purple released a string of commercially successful and now classic seventies hard rock records - In Rock, Machine Head, Fireball, Who Do We Think We Are, and Burn - which introduced David Coverdale to the world.

Despite numerous lineup upheavals during their career, Deep Purple remains alive and well in the 21st century.

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