Deep Purple – 18 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in London in 1968. They started out as a psychedelic and progressive rock band but changed to a heavier sound on the release of their 1970 album “Deep Purple In Rock”.
At one point they were listed as the loudest band in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records for a concert they performed in London at the Rainbow Theatre.
They have had several lineup changes throughout the years with past members including Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale.
Those are all facts you probably already knew about the band, keep reading for 18 impressive facts about Deep Purple you didn’t know.
One Of The Singers They Auditioned Was Rod Stewart
Before they became famous, the core of the band Deep Purple auditioned many singers trying to find the right “voice” for the band. One of those who auditioned was Rod Stewart, he never got the job.
They Weren’t Always Called Deep Purple
When the band first started performing they performed under the name “Roundabout”. It was Ritchie Blackmore who came up with the name “Deep Purple” as a possible name for the band. After his grandmother’s favourite song of the same name which was composed by Peter DeRose in 1933. One of the other names considered was “Concrete God”.
Their First Hit Single Was A Cover
Deep Purple released a cover of the Joe South composition “Hush” which peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1968 and number 2 on the Canadian RPM chart.
This all helped to push their debut album “Shades Of Deep Purple” to number 24 on the Billboard pop albums chart.
They Never Thought One Of Their Most Successful And Popular Songs Would Be A Hit
Deep Purple’s song “Smoke On The Water”, a true story about a Swiss casino burned down during a Frank Zapper And The Mothers Of Invention concert. Which was witnessed by Deep Purple band members from their hotel room. Was never going to be a hit song, which is why it wasn’t released as a single for almost a year after the album “Machine Head” was released.
In 1973 when it was released, “Smoke On The Water” sold more than 500,000 copies just in the US. It is still their most popular single to this day.
They Have Had 14 Lineup Changes But Currently Retain 3 Original Members
Over the years Deep Purple have had 14 lineup changes but have always stuck to 5 members at a time. 3 of the original lineup, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice are the only remaining members from the original lineup.
They Only Have One Founding Member Though
With all the lineup changes over the years, Deep Purple have changed personnel many times whilst always sticking to being a 5 piece band. The only constant during all of the years the band has been performing, since 1968 is drummer Ian Paice.
They Have Sold Over 100 Million Albums
In total, worldwide, Deep Purple has sold over 100 million albums, which makes them one of the best selling bands of all time.
With their Top 5 best selling albums being;
- Machine Head (1972)
- Made In Japan (1972)
- Perfect Strangers (1984)
- Deepest Purple (1980)
- Deep Purple In Rock (1970)
They Never Really Made It Big In The US
Deep Purple have been a highly successful band and are often cited along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as being responsible for revolutionising the rock genre. But in almost 60 years, they have never had a number one album or single in the US.
The album that scored them number one success throughout Europe and Australia, “Deep Purple In Rock” failed to make the Top 100 on the Billboard 200 chart. Their most successful albums in the US are “Machine Head” which peaked at number 7, and “Burn” which stopped at number 9.
Of the 22 studio albums the band has released, only 7 have entered the US Top 30. Their singles have never been that well received either, with “Hush” and “Smoke On The Water” both peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
They Wrote One Of Their Songs On A Tour Bus
In 1971, Deep Purple were travelling to Portsmouth on their tour bus and wrote the song “Highway Star” during the journey. They refined it during rehearsals and performed it live that very night. The song was then added to the track listing for their next album “Machine Head” (1972).
Ian Gillan Played Jesus Christ In The Show Jesus Christ Superstar
When Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the show “Jesus Christ Superstar” Ian Gillan was hand picked to play the role of Jesus Christ in 1970. When the film of the show was in the pipeline, the director Norman Jewison wanted Gillan to play the role again. But Gillan refused because of his hectic schedule with Deep Purple.
The Cover Of One Of Their Albums Features Def Leppard’s Guitarist
Deep Purple’s album “Made In Japan” has a picture on the back cover taken at a concert in London. On closer inspection you might just be able to spot a 14 year old Phil Collen who went on to become guitarist with the Sheffield based Def Leppard.
SEE ALSO: Def Leppard Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)
They Released An Album Of Covers
Deep Purple’s 2021 album “Turning To Crime” is an album of cover songs performed by Deep Purple. It includes songs previously recorded by artists including; Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Little Feat, Booker T. And The MG, The Allman Brothers Band and The Spencer Davis Group.
They Recorded The First Speed Metal Song
Taken from their 1970 album “Deep Purple In Rock”, the track “Hard Lovin’ Man” which was derived from a bass riff created by Roger Glover, was the first ever speed metal track. It has a running time of 7 minutes and 10 seconds.
Roger Glover Produced Judas Priest’s 1977 Album
After releasing 2 albums on a small label called Gull, Judas Priest were growing more and more dissatisfied with what they perceived as a lack of funding from the label. They then signed with CBS Records and Roger Glover was hired to produce their next album “Sin After Sin”.
The band fired Glover after one session, but after weeks of struggling they recalled him and Glover insisted they include a cover of the Joan Baez song “Diamonds And Rust”. It became the first Judas Priest song to receive any radio air time.
Roger also produced 3 of Nazareth’s albums (“Razamanaz”, “Loud ‘N’ Proud” and “Rampant”) and he produced many other singles and albums by various artists including Status Quo, Rory Gallagher and Deep Purple.
Joe Satriani Was Once Their Guitarist
Joe Satriani was briefly guitarist with Deep Purple during their 1993 Japanese tour and he stayed on for their 1994 Summer European tour. Joe was called in to take over guitar duties from the recently departed Ritchie Blackmore.
They Were Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (Eventually)
There appears to have been some controversy about Deep Purple being admitted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Many famous artists including members of KISS, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Rush as well as Chris Jericho all lobbied for Deep Purple to gain entry. Before finally in 2016 they were inducted.
With almost no exceptions, every hard rock band in the last 40 years, including mine, traces its lineage directly back to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Where I grew up, and in the rest of the world outside of North America, all were equal in status, stature and influence. So in my heart – and I know I speak for many of my fellow musicians and millions of Purple fans when I confess that – I am somewhat bewildered that they are so late in getting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
They Performed At The Royal Albert Hall in 1969
In 1969 Deep Purple, along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold, performed the “Concerto For Group And Orchestra” at The Royal Albert Hall. It was one of the first collaborations between a rock band and an orchestra.
The 3-movement epic was composed by Jon Lord as a solo project but he managed to get the band involved even though they were, at first, reluctant. He said that at the end of the performance “you could have put the five smiles together and spanned the Thames”.
Ian Gillan Was Metal’s First Screamer
Taken from the same album as “Hard Lovin’ Man”, the track “Child In Time” features Gillan screaming his way through the song. “Child In Time” was also the song that made Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) buy his first album.
Do You Know Any More?
That’s our 18 impressive facts you didn’t know about Deep Purple, do you know any more? We’d love to hear them, please share them with us in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Deep Purple were originally called Roundabout, they considered calling themselves Concrete God, before Ritchie Blackmore suggested Deep Purple after his grandmother’s favourite song.
Deep Purple’s first single was “Hush” which was a cover of Joe South’s song. It peaked at number 4 on the US charts and number 2 on the Canadian RPM chart.
The title of Deep Purple’s album of cover songs is “Turning To Crime” which was released on November 26th 2021.
The Deep Purple song that is considered to be the first speed metal song is “Hard Lovin’ Man” which was taken from the album “Deep Purple In Rock”.
The Deep Purple song that contains the lines “See the blind man, shooting at the world, bullets flying, oh, taking toll” is “Child In Time” which was taken from the album “Deep Purple In Rock”.
In the original production of the show “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Ian Gillan was cast in the role of Jesus Christ.
The album that Deep Purple were recording in Switzerland when they witnessed the burning down of the Montreux Casino was “Machine Head” which was released on March 25th 1972.
When Deep Purple were recording the album “Fireball” Ian Paice set up his drum kit in a corridor to change its sound for some of the recording.
The Deep Purple song “Smoke On The Water” describes the burning down of the Montreux Casino in Switzerland where Frank Zapper And The Mothers Of Invention were performing..
Deep Purple have never achieved a number one record in the US.
The Deep Purple song that contains the lines “Rainbow shaker, on a stallion twister, bareback rider, on the eye of the sky” is “Stormbringer” taken from the album of the same name.
Deep Purple have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.
The title of Deep Purple’s debut album was “Shades Of Deep Purple” which was released in 1968.
The title of Deep Purple’s first single is “Hush” which was a cover of the Joe South song. It peaked at number 4 in the US and number 2 on the Canadian RPM chart.
Joe Satriani played guitar for Deep Purple during their 1993 Japanese tour and he stayed on for their 1994 Summer European tour. Joe was called in to take over guitar duties from the recently departed Ritchie Blackmore.