Music / Deep Purple
The classic (Mark II) line-up of Deep Purple. From left to right: Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice.
The current lineup (Mark VIII). From left to right: Don Airey, Ian Paice, Steve Morse, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover.

Nobody gonna take my car, I'm gonna race it to the ground
Nobody gonna beat my car, it's gonna break the speed of sound
"Highway Star", Machine Head

Deep Purple is a long-running hard rock band founded in 1968. They are one of the widely considered "Big Three (or Four)" of early Heavy Metal (along with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and—if you count them—Blue Cheer). Their style is primarily Blues Rock and Hard Rock, with occasional ventures into other rock sub-genres, including some prog efforts.

The group is also known for their constantly rotating line-up; the group has its roots in a proposed rock band called Roundabout, so named because musicians would get "on and off" the group as they pleased. This didn't quite work out, and while the group that eventually became Deep Purple is notable for its endless membership changes, each successive group has been more or less a cohesive unit.

Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):

  • Don Airey - keyboard (2002-Present)
  • Ritchie Blackmore - guitar (1968-1975, 1984-1993)
  • Tommy Bolin - guitar, vocals, bass (1975-1976, died 1976)
  • David Coverdale - lead vocals (1973-1976)
  • Rod Evans - lead vocals (1968-1969)
  • Ian Gillan - lead vocals, harmonica, percussion, conga (1969-1973, 1984-1989, 1992-Present)
  • Roger Glover - bass, synthesizer, vocals (1969-1973, 1984-Present)
  • Glenn Hughes - bass, backing and lead vocals (1973-1976)
  • Jon Lord - keyboard, organ, vocals, synthesizer, piano (1968-1976, 1984-2002, died 2012)
  • Steve Morse - guitar (1994-Present)
  • Ian Paice - drums, percussion (1968-1976, 1984-Present)
  • Joe Satriani - guitar (1993-1994)
  • Nick Simper - bass, vocals (1968-1969)
  • Joe Lynn Turner - lead vocals (1989-1992)

Studio Discography:

  • 1968 - Shades Of Deep Purple
  • 1968 - The Book Of Taliesyn
  • 1969 - Deep Purple
  • 1970 - Deep Purple in Rock
  • 1971 - Fireball
  • 1972 - Machine Head
  • 1973 - Who Do We Think We Are
  • 1974 - Burn
  • 1974 - Stormbringer
  • 1975 - Come Taste The Band
  • 1984 - Perfect Strangers
  • 1987 - The House Of Blue Light
  • 1990 - Slaves And Masters
  • 1993 - The Battle Rages On...
  • 1996 - Purpendicular
  • 1998 - Abandon
  • 2003 - Bananas
  • 2005 - Rapture Of The Deep
  • 2013 - NOW What?!

Live Discography:

  • 1969 - Concerto for Group and Orchestra
  • 1972 - Made In Japan
  • 1976 - Made In Europe
  • 1977 - Last Concert In Japan
  • 1980 - Deep Purple In Concert
  • 1982 - Live In London
  • 1988 - Nobody's Perfect
  • 1988 - Scandinavian Nights
  • 1991 - In The Absence Of Pink
  • 1992 - Live In Japan
  • 1993 - Gemini Suite Live
  • 1994 - Come Hell Or High Water
  • 1995 - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple In Concert
  • 1996 - California Jamming
  • 1996 - Mk III: The Final Concerts
  • 1997 - Live At The Olympia '96
  • 1999 - Total Abandon: Australia '99
  • 2000 - Live At The Royal Albert Hall
  • 2000 - Days May Come And Days May Go
  • 2001 - The Bootleg Series 1984 - 2000
  • 2001 - Live At The Rotterdam Ahoy
  • 2001 - The Soundboard Series
  • 2001 - Live In Paris 1975
  • 2001 - This Time Around: Live In Tokyo
  • 2002 - Inglewood Live In California
  • 2004 - Live Encounters....
  • 2004 - New Live And Rare: Live In Europe 1969-71
  • 2004 - Perks And Tit
  • 2004 - Space Vol 1 & 2
  • 2006 - Live At Montreux 1996
  • 2006 - Live In Europe 1993
  • 2006 - Live In Montreux 69
  • 2007 - Live In Denmark 1972
  • 2007 - Live At Montreux 2006: They All Came Down To Montreux
  • 2011 - Phoenix Rising
  • 2011 - BBC Sessions 19681970
  • 2011 - Live At Montreux 2011
  • 2013 - Perfect Strangers Live
  • 2013 - NOW What?! Live Tapes
  • 2014 - Celebrating Jon Lord At The Royal Albert Hall
  • 2014 - Graz 1975

Some tropes in this band's history include:

  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: My woman from To-key-oh...
    • From "Smooth Dancer": "You're acting like a girl who's got a false preg-NAN-cy..."
  • Album Title Drop: "Listen, Learn, Read On" from The Book Of Taliesyn.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Aversion. Even with Ian Paice's explosive drumming style, he is The Quiet One of the group and is the only remaining original member.
  • Badass Moustache: Jon Lord. Full stop.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Played straight with the band disbanding when Ritchie Blackmore departed, then subverted when the classic Mark II line-up reunited in 1984. Then double subverted when Blackmore left the group for good in 1993.
  • Buffy Speak: In "Smoke On The Water". The band rented the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to record what would become Machine Head. The lyrics refer to "the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside".
  • Car Song: "Highway Star".
  • Contemptible Cover: It doesn't help that the cover of their third (self-titled) album is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.
  • Cool Shades: Ian Paice.
  • Cover Version: Quite a few, especially of songs by The Beatles (one of which, "Help", was thought by John Lennon to be better than their own version). "Hush" (arguably one of Deep Purple's most famous songs) is also a cover (the original by Billy Joe Royal was released a year before Deep Purple's version).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Ian Gillan.
  • Downer Ending: Occurs in "Strange Kind Of Woman"...
    She finally said she loved me
    I wed her in a hurry
    No more callers and I glowed with pride
    I'm dreaming
    I feel like screaming
    I won my woman just before she died
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Lazy". Nearly four and a half minutes of organ solo before the actual song starts. (And the rest of the song is only three minutes long!)
    • Their cover of The Beatles' "We Can Work it Out" also opened with a long instrumental called "Exposition" (which, true to Jon Lord's classical background, includes quotes from Ludwig van Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" overture).
    • And prefiguring "Lazy", we have "April" from their third album, of which only the final third has vocals.
    • Their cover of Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" has a four-minute intro.
  • Epic Rocking: On most of their albums.
    • "The Mule" and several other songs from Deep Purple in Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head live (at least circa Made In Japan). Definitely well-deserved; who doesn't want to sit through twenty minutes of "Space Truckin'" or "Smoke on the Water"?
    • "Child in Time". That is all.
  • Five-Man Band: Mark VI is not being counted as it only existed as a touring line-up and never released any material.
  • Genre Roulette: While they are generally considered a Hard Rock band, their music incorporates multiple influences. In addition, each Mark has its signature take on rock (with Mark I being more of a Progressive Rock bent, Mark II on the harder rock/metal part, Mark III/IV known for funk influences, Mark V with an AOR sound that sounded more like 80's Rainbow or Foreigner, and the modern lineup being a mix of all of this).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: in 1973, Deep Purple were recording their Who Do We Think We Are album. Domineering band leader and perpetually black-clad guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was being difficult by staying up all night, sleeping late (during most of the day, actually), and only showing up at the studio when the rest of band had already called it a day. Blackmore was also discussing with the managers about replacing the singer, Ian Gillan, behind Gillan's back. Gillan sensed this and wrote a song about it, "Smooth Dancer". Ostensibly being the words of an embittered lover, the song all but spells out Blackmore's name and just about every line expresses Gillan's disgust about his behaviour. Blackmore apparently never caught on (or cared), and just like with most other songs on the record, he added a guitar track to the song on his own after the others had finished it. Soon after, Gillan chose to quit rather than be fired. Examples of lines gotten past Blackmore's radar:
    "Baby, you're the one who can never see the sun / Because it don't shine nightly"
    "Don't you look at me because I'm gonna shake free"
    "You've swollen up inside with nothing but your pride"
    "Your two-timing ways / They don't bother me none / [...] I'm gonna walk to freedom"
    "Black suede, I sense your mockery / I tried to go along with you / But you're black and I know just what to do"
    "Baby, you can rock'n'roll / But you can never show your soul, smooth dancer."
    • "Knocking at Your Back Door" is also chock-full of innuendo
  • Great Balls of Fire: At the California Jam, where the group had to exit by helicopter to avoid arrest by fire marshals and ABC executives.
  • I Am the Band: Averted; Ian Paice remains the only original member of Deep Purple but never was its true leader.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Both Fireball and Burn evoke this, and then there's the subject of "Smoke on the Water".
  • In-Name-Only: An infamous faux-reunion in 1980 with Rod Evans as the only member to have had anything to do with Deep Purple; fortunately they were given a cease-and-desist order.
    • Poor, poor Rod Evans took the fall for the whole scam. His musical career was completely derailed because of it. The scammers running the show and the other band members were barely affected.
  • Instrumentals: "And the Address...", "Wring That Neck", "A 200", "Contact Lost".
  • Insufferable Genius: Ritchie Blackmore has a lengthy history of this.
  • Intercourse with You: "Hard Lovin' Man".
  • Heavy Metal: A Ur-Example of the genre.
  • Jerk Ass: Blackmore's ego and...problematic personality have become the stuff of legend. The issues that the rest of the band had with him progressed to the point where it was a matter of his being ejected and the band surviving, or his staying and causing the band to collapse.
  • Knight Templar Parent: The father in "Anyone's Daughter".
  • Live Album: They outnumber their studio outputs at this point.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Mark II barely makes it as a Type V, totalling 10 years and two months.
    • The present Mk 8 line-up of Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey has now notched up 12 years as of 2014, qualifying as a Type 2 long runner line-up.
  • Meaningful Name: Ian Paice, the drummer. May also be a Punny Name.
    • The albums Who Do We Think We Are (last album before Mark II's dissolution and the formation of Mark III) and The Battle Rages On (Mark II's last album, period) reflect the Creative Differences that had affected the band, primarily between Blackmore and Gillan.
  • Metal Scream: Ian Gillan in Child in Time. The last sequence can be scary at the wrong time, for the wrong people.
    • May this also count as Careful with That Axe?
    • Ian Gillan pulls them off routinely, period. Even in his sixties, the man can wail. Not for nothing he's called the Silvervoice.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Ranges from 2 ("Anyone's Daughter") to 7 ("Fireball"), but rarely goes lower than 5.
  • Nice Hat: Roger Glover. In recent years he's taken to a bandana, though. Ritchie Blackmore also sported a top hat in the mid-70s, as seen on the cover of Burn.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted by Ian Gillan (singer) and Ian Paice (drummer).
  • Plagiarism: The frontman of the group, Ian Gillan, admitted that "Child In Time" plagiarized "Bombay Calling" by It's a Beatiful Day.
    • "Bombay Calling"? A Bollywood music director plagiarised the opening/ending of the song, with a different song in the middle instead of the guitar solo, and without the nightmarish ending sequence (it's a light and fluffy song).
  • The Prankster: Ritchie Blackmore was notorious for tormenting his bandmates and everyone around him with rather cruel pranks.
  • Precision F-Strike: Not Responsible from Perfect Strangers has the only known instance in a Deep Purple song. In their entire recording history.
  • Pun-Based Title: Many of their album (and song) titles, with Purpendicular and Abandonnote  being two prominent examples.
  • Rearrange the Song: The band produced a reworked version of the Mark II era song "Bloodsucker" and released it as "Blüdsucker" on their album Abandon.
  • Recycled Lyrics: "hard lovin' man" from "Bloodsucker", and reappearing on the track of the same name later on the same album.
    • Lampshaded in the song "Hungry Daze" from their 1984 album Perfect Strangers, which recycles the first line of "Smoke on the Water"
      "We all came down to Montreux, but that's another song"
  • Revolving Door Band: Deep Purple and its two Spin-Off bands Rainbow and Whitesnake enjoyed a complex, deeply odd three-way set of revolving doors. Members of one band would often spend time in one or both of the other two bands, moving among them almost as if they were a single, three-headed line-up.
    • Further complicating the picture, the three bands later served as a sort of farm team for post-Ozzy Black Sabbath.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: California Jam, 1974; Blackmore threw guitars into the audience and more infamously smashed a network video camera with his guitar.
  • Rushmore Refacement: The cover of Deep Purple in Rock, which is also a Visual Pun.
  • Scatting
  • Self-Titled Album: Notably, their third one instead of the more typical debut album (which, however, still contained the band name).
  • Show, Don't Tell: "Highway Star" counts. It was written as a response to an interviewer's question regarding how the band writes their songs.
  • Song of Song Titles: Sort of. The first song Gillan ever wrote with Deep Purple was "Speed King", where he just quoted bits of lyrics from other rock 'n roll tunes (by Little Richard, Elvis Presley and so on) - apparently only the chorus is 100% his.
  • Space Trucker: "Space Truckin'". Partly the Trope Namer, as it seems.
  • Spin-Off: Rainbow, arguably. And Whitesnake, too; what with Mark III/IV vocalist David Coverdale being, well, the band.
  • Stop and Go: "Pictures of Home".
  • A Storm Is Coming: "Stormbringer".
  • Subliminal Seduction: The windy sounds at the start of "Stormbringer", when played backwards, are outright unpleasant.
  • Take That:
  • Titled After the Song: At a band meeting to pick a name, Blackmore suggested the standard "Deep Purple", because it was his grandmother's favourite song and she would often pester him to play it. Everybody else agreed to the suggestion.
  • Title Track: Fireball, Stormbringer, Burn, Perfect Strangers, The Battle Rages On, Bananas, Rapture of the Deep.
  • The Stoic: Find a Mk II band picture. Usually the band smiles, except for Blackmore who just pulls off a generic unemotional facial expression. He also tried that in concert.
  • Token Evil Teammate: For Ritchie Blackmore's last few years in the band, the others apparently considered him this.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Part of what made Mk III distinctive; although David Coverdale was the lead vocalist, bassist Glenn Hughes would also sing some songs and the two would often trade off vocals, as in "Burn".
  • We Used to Be Friends: Ian Gillan feels this way towards Ritchie Blackmore. Although Gillan has stated that enough time has passed since Blackmore left for good that he can look back fondly on their work together, he still has absolutely no desire to try and reconcile with him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Original vocalist Rod Evans disappeared after his involvement with the infamous "Deep Purple Reunion" of 1980. He hasn't been seen or heard from since, but is apparently recieving royalties again as of 2015.
  • You Are Number 6: Bad Attitude from The House of Blue Light has this line:
    Don't want a number, I've got a name