Sloan’s Secret Stash- Deep Purple
This week we return to the era of hair bands and parachute pants, with a band that laid the groundwork for 80’s heavy metal back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Deep Purple was forged from the same blue collar English fires that spewed forth Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But their sound was more polished than either of their contemporaries.
Callers to The All-Request Electric Lunch frequently ask for Deep Purple and more than once you’ve asked for the song profiled this week. But first, back-story.
Birthed from several already fairly established bands, most of the classic members we normally think of as Deep Purple were in place from the inception; Jon Lord on keys, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and Ian Paice on skins. Two original members didn’t make it past the first album however; Rod Evans, who’s smooth bluesy vocal graced their first big hit ‘Hush’ and Nick Simper the bassist, who faded into obscurity. They were replaced with Ian Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass. This switch proved to be the magic pieces to fame, as each subsequent release garnered more and more accolades, both from critics and record buyers alike.
Their album ‘Machine Head‘ released in 1972, produced the song they are most known for, in fact it’s the tune most aspiring rock guitarists first learn as a teen; ‘Smoke On The Water’. It also contained three other radio staples; ‘Highway Star’, ‘Lazy’ and ‘Space Truckin’ ‘.
The group went through several other member changes, most notably lead singers and guitarists, and it’s members or replacements have spawned or been members of more than 10 other bands, including Whitesnake (David Coverdale), Rainbow(Ritchie Blackmore & Joe Lynn Turner), Black Sabbath(Ian Gillan) and The James Gang (Tommy Bolin). But their comeback album with the classic line-up, ‘Perfect Strangers’ in 1984, is considered one of the best reunion albums of all time.
Regulars of the Electric Lunch know I’m partial to this band, always have been. They reside at the top of my list of ‘Best Concerts Ever’, for their February 1985 appearance at Met Center with Giuffria (another band profiled on the first Secret Stash). It was one of those nights that bears a striking resemblance to every concert-adventure teen movie ever made. It was a night filled with ‘purple smoke’ and substances previously only available to the CIA, and capped off by an after-concert party in which my posse and I proceeded to play a game of ‘Rock Trivia’.
During the ensuing trivia game, I drew one of the question cards… the question was (and I’m not making this up), ‘What 1970’s heavy metal group wrote a song detailing their fiery experiences at the Montreux Pop Festival?’ Of course the answer, as we all knew, was Deep Purple. The absolute crazy thing about it was, when you flipped over the card for the answer, it wasn’t printed on the back of the card. Which lead to the startling conclusion that, because of the Deep Purple concert, we were all seeing everything in purple and therefore, unable to actually see the words ‘Deep Purple’ printed on the card.
With that in mind, I present to you ‘Perfect Strangers’.