GREATEST HITS’ THREE CD SET RELEASED: FRIDAY 25th FEBRUARY 2022
This three-CD collection mixes live recordings of such Purple chestnuts as ‘Smoke On The Water’, ‘Highway Star’, ‘Speed King’ and ‘Black Knight’, as well as latter-day highlights such as ‘Somebody Stole My Guitar’ and ‘Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming’, which shows that their hard-rocking values have lost none of their edge.
Deep Purple rose to prominence in the late sixties and early seventies and, alongside fellow Brits Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, formed an ‘Unholy Trinity’ that achieved a Global dominance over the music marketplace at the time. The band cemented their status through the time-honoured method of hard touring, being a stellar combo onstage, and having the knack to compose memorable, well-constructed and punchy hard rock anthems that have become classics of the genre.
Most hard rock fans and indeed Purp fans in particular, remember the classic line-up of Ian Gillan (vocals), Richie Blackmore (lead guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums) as the bands’ high watermark, with the mega-selling Machine Head as perhaps their defining long player, although ‘In Rock’ and ‘Fireball’ are similarly revered. Deep Purple had a musical pedigree that seemed to guarantee success.
Of course, the problem with keeping what became a Hard Rock juggernaut together was balancing the various forces at work. Egos, the relentless pressure of touring, writing and recording and individuals wanting to assert their authority meant that the centre could not hold. The internal strife that caused the ‘classic’ Purple line up to splinter at times resembled a hard rocking soap opera. Subsequent line-up changes did bring renewed focus – and there are many long-term Purple fans who will make a case for the David Coverdale / Glenn Hughes era of the band and the brief recruitment of the ill-starred but richly talented guitarist Tommy Bolin – the band would eventually split in 1976.
They have since reformed numerous times, but the induction of guitarist Steve Morse in 1994 seemed to reinvigorate the Purple collective – then comprising of Gillan, Glover, Paice and Lord – and the band soldiered on, Lord would die of cancer in July 2012 aged seventy-one, and his role in the band is currently filled by Don Airey. They released their first album consisting entirely of covers, ‘Turning To Crime’, in November 2021 and there is no sign of the band wanting to throw in the towel over fifty years after their inception.