Deep Purple

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Shades (1968), 5/10
Book Of Taliesyn (1968), 5/10
Deep Purple (1969), 5.5/10
Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1969), 6.5/10
In Rock (1970), 6.5/10
Fireball (1971), 5.5/10
Machine Head (1972), 7/10
Made In Japan (1972), 7.5/10 (live)
Who Do We Think We Are (1973), 4/10
Burn (1974) , 5/10
Stormbringer (1974), 4/10
Come Taste The Band (1976), 4/10
Perfect Strangers (1984), 4/10
The House of Blue Light (1987), 4/10
Nobody's Perfect (1988), 4/10
Slaves And Masters (RCA, 1990), 4/10
The Battle Rages On (Giant, 1993), 4/10
Purpendicular (1996), 5/10
Abandon (1998), 5/10
Bananas (2003), 4/10
Rapture of the Deep (2005), 4/10
Now What (2013), 4/10

(Translated from my original Italian text by Leonardo Horka)

Hard rock was invented by Led Zeppelin but was formalised (for better or worse) by Deep Purple. Deep Purple focused mainly on the amplification and the repetition of a few effective clichés.

Formed in 1968 by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord, they debuted with three mediocre progressive rock albums: Shades (Parlophone, 1968), which included the psychedelic suite Mandrake Root and many covers (the classic Hush by Joe South), The Book Of Taliesyn (1968), which included two complex compositions by Lord (Shield, Anthem) and many covers (including a longer version of River Deep Mountain High), and Deep Purple (1969), with the bizarre twelve-minute suite April. This phase culminated with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra (Warner, 1969), written by Jon Lord, one of the most original works of "classical-rock" of those years.

Deep Purple took on the classical guise when they enlisted singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. In Rock (1970) was a transitional album. On the one hand there was the long, melodramatic Child in Time (partially taken from Bombay Calling by It's A Beautiful Day), which remains one of the pinnacles of melodramatic art-rock alongside pieces by Genesis (Speed King), and on the other hand there were lightning-fast, deafening tracks like Bloodsucker and Flight Of The Rat.

The single Black Knight (1970) is a rip-off of Rick Nelson's Summertime 1962.

Blackmore was one of the least original guitarists of the time, but his style of elemental and excruciating riffs (which were at odds with blues rock and progressive rock of the time) was actually quintessential for future hard rock. It was based on those riffs, and based on Gillan's increasingly hysterical singing, that the band released Fireball (1971), with Fireball (very similar to Rock Star, 1970 single by the Canadian band Warpig) and especially the powerful and ultrasonic boogies of Machine Head (1972): the frenetic Highway Star (the masterpiece of the rhythm section, to which the organ adds a hellish pulse, with their most famous riff and one of the most famous of the whole of hard rock, but taken from an old bossanova song by Astrud Gilberto and Gil Evans, Maria Quiet, from 1966), Lazy (which steals the riff instead from Stepping Out by Cream, year 1972), Smoke On The Water, and the psychedelic blues jam Space Trucking. Deep Purple had transformed themselves into canonical exponents of hard rock. Their kilometre-long songs, performed live, with massive use of amplification, provided excellent fuel for the sado-masochistic libidos of the masses.

The double live album Made In Japan (1972) consecrated them at the head of the movement and sublimated that practice in a delirious version of Strange Kind Of Woman, where all the barbaric excesses of the group are present.

After Who Do We Think We Are (1973), with the single Woman From Tokyo, Gillan and Glover left the group. While Jon Lord recorded the solo album Gemini Suite (1974), accompanied by the symphony orchestra, David Coverdale was hired as vocalist to record Burn (1974) which includes Burn and Stormbringer (1974). Then Blackmore also quit, to form Rainbow, and was replaced by the spectacular jazz rock guitarist Tommy Bolin for Come Taste The Band (1975), which included seven of his own compositions (Bolin died of an overdose shortly afterwards).

Blackmore, Gillan and Glover reunited the band for Perfect Strangers (Mercury, 1984), and The House of Blue Light (1987), Nobody's Perfect (1988). Gillan left his bandmates again to record Slaves And Masters (RCA, 1990), but returned for The Battle Rages On (Giant, 1993). The prestigious American guitarist Steve Morse replaced Blackmore on Purpendicular (1996) and Abandon (1998), which includes Watching The Sky. The new line-up (Ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice) actually delivered some of the most technically memorable numbers in Deep Purple's career.

In 1978, David Coverdale formed Whitesnake, named after the title of his first solo album, White Snake (1977), a veteran band that also included Jon Lord, and, since 1984, Colin Hodgkinson and Cozy Powell. A new line-up, again led by Coverdale, finally achieved success (after ten years of mediocre albums) with 1987 (Geffen, 1987) and the melodramatic pop metal of Here I Go Again and Is This Love. Steve Vai took part in Slip Of The Tongue (1989).

The terrible Bananas (EMI, 2003) marked yet another return by Deep Purple, followed by Rapture of the Deep (2005) and Now What (2013).

Jon Lord died in July 2012.

L'hard-rock venne inventato dai Led Zeppelin ma venne formalizzato (nel bene e nel male) dai Deep Purple. I Deep Purple puntarono soprattutto sull'amplificazione e sulla ripetizione di pochi ma efficaci cliche`.

Formati nel 1968 dal chitarrista Ritchie Blackmore e dal tastierista Jon Lord, esordirono con tre mediocri album di progressive-rock: Shades (Parlophone, 1968), che conteneve la suite psichedelica Mandrake Root e molte covers (la classica Hush di Joe South), Book Of Taliesyn (1968), che conteneva due complesse composizioni di Lord (Shield, Anthem) e molte cover (fra cui una versione chilometrica di River Deep Mountain High), e Deep Purple (1969), con la bizzarra suite di dodici minuti April. Questa fase culmino` con il Concerto for Group and Orchestra (Warner, 1969), scritto da Jon Lord, una delle opere piu` originali del "classical-rock" di quegli anni.

I Deep Purple assunsero la veste classica quando arruolarono il cantante Ian Gillan e il bassista Roger Glover. In Rock (1970) era un album di transizione. Da un lato c'era la lunga, melodrammatica Child In Time (parzialmente ripresa da Bombay Calling degli It's A Beautiful Day), che rimane uno dei vertici dell'art-rock melodrammatico accanto alle piece dei Genesis (Speed King) e dall'altro c'erano brani fulminei e assordanti come Bloodsucker e Flight Of The Rat.

Il singolo Black Knight (1970) non e` altro che una copia di Summertime 1962 di Rick Nelson

Blackmore era uno dei chitarristi meno originali dell'epoca, ma il suo stile fatto di riff molto elementari e lancinanti (un controsenso per il blues-rock e il progressive-rock dell'epoca) era in realta` la quintessenza del futuro hard-rock. Fu proprio attorno a quei riff, e attorno al canto sempre piu` isterico di Gillan, che il gruppo imposto` Fireball (1971), con Fireball (molto simile a Rock Star, singolo del 1970 del gruppo Canadese Warpig) e soprattutto i poderosi e ultrasonici boogie di Machine Head (1972): la frenetica Highway Star (il capolavoro della sezione ritmica, a cui l'organo aggiunge un impulso infernale, con il loro riff piu` celebre e uno dei piu` celebri dell'intero hard-rock, ma preso da una vecchia canzone bossanova di Astrud Gilberto e Gil Evans, Maria Quiet, del 1966), Lazy (che ruba il riff invece a Stepping Out dei Cream, anno 1972), Smoke On The Water, e la jam blues-psichedelica Space Trucking. I Deep Purple si erano trasformati in esponenti canonici dell'hard-rock. I loro brani chilometrici, interpretati dal vivo, facendo un ricorso massiccio alla amplificazione, fornivano ottimo combustibile per le libidini sado-masochiste delle masse.

Il doppio live Made In Japan (1972) li consacro` alla testa del movimento e sublimo` quella prassi in una versione delirante di Strange Kind Of Woman, dove sono tutti gli eccessi barbari del gruppo.

Dopo Who Do We Think We Are (1973), con il singolo Woman From Tokyo, Gillan e Glover abbandonarono il gruppo. Mentre Jon Lord registrava l'album solista Gemini Suite (1974), accompagnato dall'orchestra sinfonica, David Coverdale venne assunto come cantante per registrare Burn (1974), la cui Burn e Stormbringer (1974). Poi anche Blackmore si licenzio`, per formare i Rainbow, e venne sostituito dallo spettacolare chitarrista jazz-rock Tommy Bolin per Come Taste The Band (1975), che contiene sette sue composizioni. (Bolin mori` di overdose poco dopo).

Blackmore, Gillan e Glover riformarono il gruppo per Perfect Strangers (Mercury, 1984), e The House of Blue Light (1987), Nobody's Perfect (1988). Gillan abbandono` di nuovo i compagni che registrarono Slaves And Masters (RCA, 1990), ma poi torno` per The Battle Rages On (Giant, 1993). Il prestigioso chitarrista Americano Steve Morse sostitui` Blackmore su Purpendicular (1996) e Abandon (1998), che contiene Watching The Sky. La nuova formazione (Ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice) diede in effetti alcuni dei numeri tecnicamente piu` memorabili della carriera dei Deep Purple.

Nel 1978 David Coverdale formo` i Whitesnake, battezzati dal titolo del suo primo album solista, White Snake (1977), un complesso di veterani che annoverava anche Jon Lord, e, dal 1984, anche Colin Hodgkinson e Cozy Powell. Una nuova formazione, sempre capeggiata da Coverdale, giungera` finalmente al successo (dopo dieci anni di album mediocri) con 1987 (Geffen, 1987) e il pop-metal melodrammatico di Here I Go Again e Is This Love. Steve Vai partecipa a Slip Of The Tongue (1989).

The terrible Bananas (EMI, 2003) marked yet another return by Deep Purple, followed by Rapture of the Deep (2005) and Now What (2013)

Jon Lord died in july 2012.

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