Saturday, September 18, 2010

Deep Purple ( 1970-1976 )

Shortly after the orchestral release, the band began a hectic touring and recording schedule that was to see little respite for the next three years. Their first studio album of this period, released in mid-1970, was In Rock (a name supported by the album's Mount Rushmore-inspired cover), which contained the then-concert staples "Speed King", "Into The Fire" and "Child in Time". The band also issued the UK Top Ten single "Black Night". The interplay between Blackmore's guitar and Lord's distorted organ, coupled with Gillan's howling vocals and the rhythm section of Glover and Paice, now started to take on a unique identity that further separated the band from its earlier albums.

A second album, the creatively progressive Fireball, was issued in the summer of 1971. The title track "Fireball" was released as a single, as was "Strange Kind of Woman" – not from the album but recorded during the same sessions (although it was included on the US version of the album instead of the UK version's song "Demon's Eye".)




Within weeks of Fireball's release, the band were already performing songs planned for the next album. One song (which later became "Highway Star") was performed at the first gig of the Fireball tour, having been written on the bus to a show in Portsmouth, in answer to a journalist's question: "How do you go about writing songs?" Three months later, in December 1971, the band travelled to Switzerland to record Machine Head. The album was due to be recorded at a casino in Montreux, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig burned down the casino. The album was actually recorded at the nearby empty Grand Hotel. This incident famously inspired the song "Smoke on the Water". Gillan believes that he witnessed a man fire a flare gun into the ceiling during the concert, prompting Mark Volman of the Mothers to comment: "Arthur Brown in person!"

Continuing from where both previous albums left off, Machine Head has since become the band's most famous album, including tracks that became live classics such as "Highway Star", "Space Truckin'", "Lazy" and "Smoke on the Water", the song Deep Purple is most famous for. Deep Purple continued to tour and record at a rate that would be rare thirty years on: when Machine Head was recorded, the group had only been together three and a half years, yet it was their seventh LP. Meanwhile the band undertook four North America tours in 1972 and the August tour of Japan that led to a double-vinyl live release, Made in Japan. Originally intended as a Japan-only record, its worldwide release saw the double LP become an instant hit. It remains one of rock music's most popular and highest selling live-concert recordings (although at the time it was perhaps seen as less important, as only Glover and Paice turned up to mix it).

The classic Deep Purple Mark II line-up continued to work and released the album Who Do We Think We Are (1973), featuring the hit single "Woman from Tokyo", but internal tensions and exhaustion were more noticeable than ever. In many ways, the band had become victims of their own success. Still riding the wave of Machine Head and Made in Japan, the addition of Who Do We Think We Are made them the top-selling artists of 1973 in the USA. Ian Gillan admitted in a 1984 interview that the band was pushed by management to complete the album on time and go on tour when they badly needed a break. The bad feelings culminated in Gillan quitting the band after their second tour of Japan in the summer of 1973 over tensions with Blackmore, and Glover being pushed out with him.

The band first hired Midlands bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, formerly of Trapeze. After acquiring Hughes, they debated continuing as a four-piece with Hughes as both bassist and lead vocalist. Instead, auditions were held for lead vocal replacements. Two primary candidates surfaced: a Scotsman, Angus Cameron McKinlay, and David Coverdale. They settled on Coverdale, an unknown singer from Saltburn in Northeast England, primarily because Blackmore liked his masculine, blues-tinged voice, and Angus was eliminated. This new line-up continued into 1974 with the hard rock album Burn, a highly successful release (only the second album, after Machine Head, to crack the USA Top 10) followed by another world tour. Hughes and Coverdale added vocal harmonies and elements of funk and blues, respectively, to the band's music, a sound that was even more apparent on the late 1974 release Stormbringer. Besides the title track, the album had a number of songs that received much radio play, such as "Lady Double Dealer", "The Gypsy" and "Soldier Of Fortune". Yet Blackmore voiced unhappiness with the album and the direction Deep Purple had taken, stating simply, "I don't like funky soul music." As a result, he left the band on 21 June 1975 to form his own band with Ronnie James Dio of Elf, called Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, later shortened after one album to Rainbow.

With Blackmore's departure, Deep Purple was left to fill one of the biggest bandmember vacancies in rock music. In spite of this, the rest of the band refused to stop, and to the surprise of many long-time fans, actually announced a replacement for the "irreplaceable" Man in Black; American Tommy Bolin.

There are at least two versions about the recruitment of Bolin: Coverdale claims to have been the one who suggested auditioning Bolin. "He walked in, thin as a rake, his hair coloured green, yellow and blue with feathers in it. Slinking along beside him was this stunning Hawaiian girl in a crochet dress with nothing on underneath. He plugged into four Marshall 100-watt stacks and...the job was his". But in an interview originally published by Melody Maker in June 1975, Bolin himself claimed that he came to the audition following a recommendation from Blackmore. Bolin had been a member of many now-forgotten late-1960s bands – Denny & The Triumphs, American Standard, and Zephyr, which released three albums from 1969–72. Before Deep Purple, Bolin's best-known recordings were made as a session musician on Billy Cobham's 1973 jazz fusion album Spectrum, and as Joe Walsh's replacement on two James Gang albums: Bang (1973) and Miami (1974). He had also jammed with such luminaries as Dr. John, Albert King, The Good Rats, Moxy and Alphonse Mouzon, and was busy working on his first solo album, Teaser when he accepted the invitation to join Deep Purple.

The resulting album, Come Taste the Band, was released in October 1975. Despite mixed reviews, the collection revitalised the band once again, bringing a new, extreme funk[citation needed] edge to their hard rock sound. Bolin's influence was crucial, and with encouragement from Hughes and Coverdale, the guitarist developed much of the material. Later, Bolin's personal problems with drugs began to manifest themselves, and after cancelled shows and below-par concert performances, the band was in danger.