Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.
Deep Purple have had several line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976–1984). The 1968–1976 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV. Their second and most commercially successful line-up featured Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (keyboards, backing vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). This line-up was active from 1969 to 1973, and was revived from 1984 to 1989, and again from 1992 to 1993. The band achieved more modest success in the intervening periods between 1968 and 1969 with the line-up including Rod Evans (lead vocals) and Nick Simper (bass, backing vocals), between 1974 and 1976 (Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore in 1975) with the line-up including David Coverdale (lead vocals) and Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals), and between 1989 and 1992 with the line-up including Joe Lynn Turner (vocals). The band's line-up (currently featuring Ian Gillan, and guitarist Steve Morse from 1994) has been much more stable in recent years, although keyboardist Jon Lord's retirement from the band in 2002 (being succeeded by Don Airey) left Ian Paice as the only original Deep Purple member still in the band.
Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1's Greatest Artists of Hard Rock programme and a poll on British radio station Planet Rock ranked them 5th among the "most influential bands ever". The band received the Legend Award at the 2008 World Music Awards. Deep Purple (specifically Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Gillan, Glover, Evans, Coverdale and Hughes) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
In 1967, former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis contacted London businessman Tony Edwards, in the hope that he would manage a new group he was putting together, to be called Roundabout. Curtis' vision was a "supergroup" where the band members would get on and off, like a musical roundabout. Impressed with the plan, Edwards agreed to finance the venture with two business partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire, all of Hire-Edwards-Coletta (HEC) Enterprises.
The first recruit to the band was the classically trained Hammond organ player Jon Lord, Curtis' flatmate who had most notably played with the Artwoods (led by Art Wood, brother of future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and featuring Keef Hartley). Lord was currently performing in a backing band for the vocal group The Flower Pot Men (formerly known as the Ivy League), along with bassist Nick Simper and drummer Carlo Little. Simper had previously been in Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and survived the 1966 car crash that killed Kidd. Lord put the two on alert that he'd been recruited for the Roundabout project, after which Simper and Little suggested guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, whom Lord had never met. Simper had known Blackmore since the early 1960s when his first band, the Renegades, debuted around the same time as one of Blackmore's early bands, the Dominators.
HEC persuaded Blackmore to return from Hamburg to audition for the new group. Blackmore was making a name for himself as a studio session guitarist, and had also been a member of the Outlaws, Screaming Lord Sutch, and Neil Christian. Curtis' erratic behaviour and lifestyle, fueled by LSD use, caused a sudden disinterest in the project he had started, forcing HEC to dismiss him from Roundabout. But HEC was now intrigued with the possibilities Lord and Blackmore brought, while Lord and Blackmore were also keen to continue. The two carried on with recruiting additional members, keeping Tony Edwards as their manager. Lord convinced Simper to join for good, but left Carlo Little behind in favor of drummer Bobby Woodman.
In March 1968, the four then-current members (Lord, Blackmore, Simper and Woodman) moved into Deeves Hall, a country house in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. The band would live, write and rehearse at Deeves Hall, which was fully kitted out with the latest Marshall amplification. According to Simper, "dozens" of singers were auditioned until the group heard Rod Evans of the club band The Maze, and thought his voice fit their style well. Tagging along with Evans was his band's drummer, Ian Paice. Blackmore had seen Paice on tour with The Maze in Germany in 1966, and had been impressed by the 18-year-old's drumming. The band hastily arranged an audition for Paice, given that Woodman was vocally unhappy with the direction of the band's music. Both Paice and Evans won their respective jobs, and the line-up was complete.
During a brief tour of Denmark and Sweden in April, in which they were still billed as Roundabout, Blackmore suggested a new name: "Deep Purple", named after his grandmother's favourite song. The group had resolved to choose a name after everyone had posted one on a board in rehearsal. Second to Deep Purple was "Concrete God", which the band thought was too harsh to take on.
In May 1968, the band moved into Pye Studios in London's Marble Arch to record their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple, which was released in July by American label Tetragammaton, and in September by UK label EMI. The group had success in North America with a cover of Joe South's "Hush", and by September 1968, the song had reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 2 in the Canadian RPM charts, pushing the Shades LP up to No. 24 on Billboard's pop album charts. The following month, Deep Purple was booked to support Cream on their Goodbye tour.
The band's second album, The Book of Taliesyn, was quickly recorded, then released in North America to coincide with the tour. The album included a cover of Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman", which cracked the Top 40 in both the US (#38 on the Billboard charts) and Canada (#21 on the RPM charts), though sales for the album were not as strong (#54 in US, #48 in Canada). The Book of Taliesyn would not be released in the band's home country until the following year and, like its predecessor, it failed to have much impact in the UK charts.
Early in 1969, the band recorded a single called "Emmaretta", named after Emmaretta Marks, then a cast member of the musical Hair, whom Evans was trying to seduce. By March of that year, the band had completed recording for their third album, Deep Purple. The album contained strings and woodwind on one track ("April"), showcasing Lord's classical antecedents such as Bach and Rimsky-Korsakov, and several other influences were in evidence, notably Vanilla Fudge. (Lord and Blackmore had even claimed the group wanted to be a "Vanilla Fudge clone".) This would be the last recording by the original line-up.
Deep Purple's troubled North American record label, Tetragrammaton, delayed production of the Deep Purple album until after the band's 1969 American tour ended. This, as well as lackluster promotion by the nearly broke label, caused the album to sell poorly, finishing well out of the Billboard Top 100. Soon after the third album's eventual release, Tetragrammaton went out of business, leaving the band with no money and an uncertain future. (Tetragrammaton's assets were assumed by Warner Bros. Records, who would release Deep Purple's records in the US throughout the 1970s.) During the 1969 American tour, Lord and Blackmore met with Paice to discuss their desire to take the band in a heavier direction. Feeling that Evans and Simper would not fit well with a heavy rock style, both were replaced that summer. Paice stated, "A change had to come. If they hadn't left, the band would have totally disintegrated." Both Simper and Blackmore noted that Rod Evans already had one foot out the door. Simper said that Evans had met a girl in Hollywood and had eyes on being an actor, while Blackmore explained, "Rod just wanted to go to America and live in America."
In search of a replacement vocalist, Blackmore set his own sights on 19-year-old singer Terry Reid. Though he found the offer "flattering", Reid was still bound by the exclusive recording contract with his producer Mickie Most and more interested in his solo career. Blackmore had no other choice but to look elsewhere. The band hunted down singer Ian Gillan from Episode Six, a band that had released several singles in the UK without achieving their big break for commercial success. Gillan had at one time been approached by Nick Simper when Deep Purple was first forming, but Gillan had reportedly told Simper that the Roundabout project would not go anywhere, while he felt Episode Six was poised to make it big. Six's drummer Mick Underwood – an old comrade of Blackmore's from his days in the Outlaws – introduced the band to Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. This effectively killed Episode Six and gave Underwood a guilt complex that lasted nearly a decade, until Gillan recruited him for his new post-Purple band in the late 1970s. According to Blackmore, Deep Purple was only interested in Gillan and not Glover, but Roger was retained on the advice of Ian Paice.
This created the Deep Purple Mark II line-up, whose first release was a Greenaway-Cook tune titled "Hallelujah". At the time of its recording, Nick Simper still thought he was in the band, and had called the studio to inquire about the recording dates for the song. He then found that the song had already been recorded with Glover on bass. The remaining original members of Deep Purple then instructed management to inform Simper that he had been officially replaced.
Despite television appearances to promote the "Hallelujah" single in the UK, the song flopped. Blackmore had told the British weekly music newspaper Record Mirror they "need to have a commercial record in Britain", and described the song as "an in-between sort of thing"—a median between what the band would normally make but with an added commercial motive.
The band gained some much-needed publicity in September 1969, with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, a three-movement epic composed by Lord as a solo project and performed by the band at the Royal Albert Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold. Together with Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues and Five Bridges by the Nice, it was one of the first collaborations between a rock band and an orchestra. This live album became their first album with any kind of chart success in the UK. Gillan and Blackmore were less than happy at the band being tagged as "a group who played with orchestras", both feeling that the Concerto was a distraction that would get in the way of developing their desired hard-rocking style. Lord acknowledged that while the band members were not keen on the project going in, at the end of the performance "you could put the five smiles together, and it would have spanned the Thames." Lord would also write the Gemini Suite, another orchestra/group collaboration in the same vein, for the band in late 1970. In 1975, Blackmore stated that he thought the Concerto for Group and Orchestra wasn't bad but the Gemini Suite was horrible and very disjointed. Roger Glover later claimed Jon Lord had appeared to be the leader of the band in the early years.
Shortly after the orchestral release, Deep Purple 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 non-album single "Black Night", released around the same time, finally put Deep Purple into the UK Top Ten. 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 separated the band from its earlier albums. Along with Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin II and Sabbath's Paranoid, In Rock codified the budding heavy metal genre.
On the album's development, Blackmore stated: "I got fed up with playing with classical orchestras, and thought, 'well, this is my turn.' Jon was into more classical. I thought, 'well you do that, I'll do rock.' And I said, 'If this fails, this record, I'll play with orchestras the rest of my life.'" In Rock performed well, especially in the UK where it reached number 4, while the "Black Night" single reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, and the band performed the song live on the BBC's Top of the Pops. A second album, the creatively progressive Fireball, was issued in the summer of 1971, reaching number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. 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 replaced "Demon's Eye" on the US version of the album). "Strange Kind of Woman" became their second UK Top 10 single, reaching number 8.
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 the Montreux Casino, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig, caused by a man firing a flare gun into the ceiling, burned down the Casino. This incident famously inspired the song "Smoke on the Water". The album was later recorded in a corridor at the nearby empty Grand Hotel.
Continuing from where both previous albums left off, Machine Head became one of the band's most famous albums. It became the band's second number 1 album in the UK, while re-establishing Deep Purple in North America, hitting number 7 in the US and number 1 in Canada. It included tracks that became live classics, such as "Highway Star", "Space Truckin'", "Lazy" and "Smoke on the Water", for which Deep Purple is most famous. 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 the album was their sixth.
Meanwhile, the band undertook four North America tours in 1972, and a Japan tour 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. The classic Deep Purple Mark II line-up continued to work, and released the album Who Do We Think We Are in 1973. Featuring the hit single "Woman from Tokyo", the album hit number 4 in the UK charts and number 15 in the US charts while achieving gold record status faster than any Deep Purple album released up to that time. But internal tensions and exhaustion were more noticeable than ever. Following the successes 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 US.
Ian Gillan admitted in a 1984 interview that the band was pushed by management to complete the Who Do We Think We Are album on time and go on tour, although they badly needed a break. The bad feelings culminated in Gillan, followed by Glover, quitting the band after their second tour of Japan in the summer of 1973 over tensions with Blackmore. In interviews years later, Jon Lord called the departure of Gillan and Glover while the band was at its peak "the biggest shame in rock and roll; God knows what we would have become over the next three or four years."
The band first hired Midlands bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, formerly of Trapeze. According to Ian Paice, Glover had told him and Lord a few months before his official resignation that he wanted to leave the band, so they had already started to drop in on Trapeze shows. After acquiring Hughes, they debated continuing as a four-piece band, with Hughes as both bassist and lead vocalist. According to Hughes, he was persuaded to join under the guise that the band would be bringing in Paul Rodgers of Free as a co-lead vocalist, but by that time Rodgers had just started Bad Company. Instead, auditions were held for lead vocal replacements. They settled on David Coverdale, an unknown singer from Saltburn in Northeast England, primarily because Blackmore liked his masculine, blues-tinged voice.
This new line-up continued into 1974, and their spring tour included shows at Madison Square Garden, New York on 13 March, and Nassau Coliseum four days later. The band then headlined the famous California Jam festival at Ontario Motor Speedway located in Southern California on 6 April 1974. Attracting over 250,000 fans, the festival also included 1970s rock giants Black Sabbath, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals and Crofts, Rare Earth and Black Oak Arkansas. Portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the US, exposing the band to a wider audience. This line-up's first album, titled Burn, was a highly successful release, reaching No. 3 in the UK and No. 9 in the US, and was followed by another world tour. The title track "Burn", which opens the album and would open most concerts during the Mark III era, was a conscious effort by the band to embrace the progressive rock movement that was popularised at the time by bands such as Yes, ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant, etc. "Burn" was a complex arrangement which showcased all the band members' musical virtuosity and particularly Blackmore's classically influenced guitar prowess. The album also featured Hughes and Coverdale providing 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 Stormbringer album had a number of songs that received much radio play, such as "Lady Double Dealer", "The Gypsy" and "Soldier of Fortune", and the album reached No. 6 in the UK and No. 20 on the US Billboard charts. However, Blackmore publicly disliked the album and the funky soul elements, even calling it "shoeshine 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 to Rainbow after one album.
With Blackmore's departure, Deep Purple was left to fill one of the biggest band member vacancies in rock music. In spite of this, the rest of the band refused to stop, and announced a replacement for Blackmore: American Tommy Bolin. Before Bolin was recruited, Clem Clempson (Colosseum, Humble Pie), Zal Cleminson (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band), Mick Ronson (David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars) and Rory Gallagher were considered for the part.
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 to 1972. 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 lead guitarist on two post-Joe Walsh 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, one month before Bolin's Teaser album. Despite mixed reviews and so-so sales (#19 in the UK charts and #43 in the US Billboard charts), the collection revitalised the band once again, bringing a new, extreme funk edge to their hard rock sound. Bolin's influence was crucial, and with encouragement from Hughes and Coverdale, the guitarist developed much of the album's material. Despite Bolin's talents, his personal problems with hard drugs began to manifest themselves. During the Come Taste the Band tour, many fans openly booed Tommy's inability to play solos like Ritchie Blackmore, not realising that Bolin was physically hampered by his addiction. At this same time, as he would admit in interviews years later, Hughes was suffering from a cocaine addiction. After several below-par concert performances, the band was in danger.
The end came on tour in England on 15 March 1976 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. In the words of Jon Lord:
The break-up was finally made public in July 1976, with then-manager Rob Cooksey issuing the simple statement: "the band will not record or perform together as Deep Purple again".
Later in the year, Bolin had just finished recording his second solo album, Private Eyes, when, on 4 December 1976, tragedy struck. In a Miami hotel room, during a tour supporting Jeff Beck, Bolin was found unconscious by his girlfriend and bandmates. Unable to wake him, she hurriedly called paramedics, but it was too late. The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin was 25 years old.
After the break-up, most of the past and present members of Deep Purple went on to have considerable success in a number of other bands, including Gillan, Whitesnake and Rainbow. There were, however, a number of promoter-led attempts to get the band to reform, especially with the revival of the hard rock market in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1980, a touring version of the band surfaced with Rod Evans as the only member who had ever been in Deep Purple, eventually ending in successful legal action from the legitimate Deep Purple camp over unauthorised use of the name. Evans was ordered to pay damages of US$672,000 for using the band name without permission.
In April 1984, eight years after the demise of Deep Purple, a full-scale (and legal) reunion took place with the "classic" early 1970s line-up of Gillan, Lord, Blackmore, Glover and Paice. The reformed band signed a worldwide deal with PolyGram, with Mercury Records releasing their albums in the US, and Polydor Records in the UK and other countries. The album Perfect Strangers was recorded in Vermont and released in October 1984. The album was commercially successful, reaching number 5 in the UK Albums Chart and number 17 on the Billboard 200 in the US. The album included the singles and concert staples "Knockin' At Your Back Door" and "Perfect Strangers". Perfect Strangers became the second Deep Purple studio album to go platinum in the US, following Machine Head.
The reunion tour followed, starting in Australia and winding its way across the world to North America, then into Europe by the following summer. Financially, the tour was also a tremendous success. In the US, the 1985 tour out-grossed every other artist except Bruce Springsteen. The UK homecoming saw the band perform a concert at Knebworth on 22 June 1985 (with main support from the Scorpions; also on the bill were UFO and Meat Loaf), where the weather was bad (torrential rain and 6" of mud) in front of 80,000 fans. The gig was called the "Return of the Knebworth Fayre".
The Mark II line-up then released The House of Blue Light in 1987, which was followed by a world tour (interrupted after Blackmore broke a finger on stage while trying to catch his guitar after throwing it in the air) and another live album Nobody's Perfect (1988) which was culled from several shows on this tour, but still largely based on the by-now familiar Made in Japan set-list. In the UK a new version of "Hush" (with Gillan on lead vocals) was released to mark 20 years of the band. In 1989 Gillan was fired as his relations with Blackmore had again soured and their musical differences had diverged too far. Originally, the band intended to recruit Survivor frontman Jimi Jamison as Gillan's replacement, but this fell through due to complications with Jamison's record label. Eventually, after auditioning several high-profile candidates, including Brian Howe (White Spirit, Ted Nugent, Bad Company), Doug Pinnick (King's X), Australians Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) and John Farnham (Little River Band), Terry Brock (Strangeways, Giant) and Norman "Kal" Swan (Tytan, Lion, Bad Moon Rising), former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner was recruited into the band. This Mark V line-up recorded just one album, Slaves & Masters (1990) and toured in support. It achieved modest success and reached number 87 in the Billboard Charts in the US, but some fans criticised it as little more than a so-called "generic Foreigner wannabe" album.
With the tour complete, Turner was forced out, as Lord, Paice and Glover (and the record company) wanted Gillan back in the fold for the 25th anniversary. Blackmore grudgingly relented, after requesting and eventually receiving 250,000 dollars in his bank account and the classic line-up recorded The Battle Rages On.... However, Gillan reworked much of the existing material which had been written with Turner for the album. As a result, Blackmore became infuriated at what he considered non-melodic elements. During an otherwise successful European tour, Blackmore walked out in 1993, for good, after a show on 17 November in Helsinki, Finland. Joe Satriani was drafted to complete the Japanese dates in December and stayed on for a European Summer tour in 1994. He was asked to join permanently, but his commitments to his contract with Epic Records prevented this. The band unanimously chose Dixie Dregs/Kansas guitarist Steve Morse to become Satriani's successor.
Morse's arrival revitalised the band creatively, and in 1996 a new album titled Purpendicular was released, showing a wide variety of musical styles, though it never made chart success on the Billboard 200 in the US. The Mark VII line-up then released a new live album Live at The Olympia '96 in 1997. With a revamped set list to tour, Deep Purple enjoyed successful tours throughout the rest of the 1990s, releasing the harder-sounding Abandon in 1998, and touring with renewed enthusiasm. In 1999, Lord, with the help of a Dutch fan, who was also a musicologist and composer, Marco de Goeij, painstakingly recreated the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, the original score having been lost. It was once again performed at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1999, this time with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The concert also featured songs from each member's solo careers, as well as a short Deep Purple set, and the occasion was commemorated on the 2000 album In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, the box set The Soundboard Series was released featuring concerts from the 2001 Australian Tour plus two from Tokyo, Japan.
Much of the next few years was spent on the road touring. Most of the songs played in their live concerts consisted of classic 1970s material. The group continued forward until 2002, when founding member Lord (who, along with Paice, was the only member to be in all incarnations of the band) announced his amicable retirement from the band to pursue personal projects (especially orchestral work). Lord left his Hammond organ to his replacement, rock keyboard veteran Don Airey (Colosseum II, Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake), who had helped Deep Purple out when Lord's knee was injured in 2001. In 2003, Deep Purple released their first studio album in five years (Bananas) and began touring in support of the album. EMI Records refused a contract extension with Deep Purple, possibly because of lower than expected sales. Actually In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra sold more than Bananas. In July 2005, the band played at the Live 8 concert in Park Place (Barrie, Ontario) and, in October released their next album, Rapture of the Deep, which was followed by the Rapture of the Deep tour. This Mark VIII line-up's two studio albums were produced by Michael Bradford.
In February 2007, Gillan asked fans not to buy a live album Come Hell or High Water being released by Sony BMG. This was a recording of their 1993 appearance at the NEC in Birmingham, England. Recordings of this show have previously been released without assistance from Gillan or any other members of the band, but he said: "It was one of the lowest points of my life – all of our lives, actually". In 2009, Ian Gillan said, "Record sales have been steadily declining, but people are prepared to pay a lot for concert tickets." In addition, Gillan stated "I don't think happiness comes with money." In 2011, Deep Purple did concert tours in 48 countries. The Songs That Built Rock Tour featured a 38-piece orchestra, and included a performance at London's O2 Arena. Until May 2011, the band members had disagreed about whether to make a new studio album, because it would not really make money any more. Roger Glover stated that Deep Purple should make a new studio album "even if it costs us money."
In early 2011, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes told VH1 they would like to reunite with former Deep Purple Mark III line-up for the right opportunity, such as a benefit concert. The current band's chief sound engineer on nine years of tours, Moray McMillin, died in September 2011, aged 57.
After a lot of songwriting sessions in Europe, Deep Purple decided to record through the summer of 2012, and the band announced the release of their new studio album in 2013. Steve Morse announced to French magazine Rock Hard that the new studio album would be produced by the highly respected Bob Ezrin, who is known for his works with Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Pink Floyd. On 16 July 2012, the band's co-founding member and former organ player, Jon Lord, died in London, aged 71. In December 2012, Roger Glover revealed in an interview that the band has completed work on 14 songs for a new studio album, with 11 or 12 tracks set to appear on the final album to be released in 2013. On 26 February 2013, the title of the band's nineteenth studio album was announced as Now What?!, which was recorded and mixed in Nashville, Tennessee, and released on 26 April 2013.
On November 25, 2016, Deep Purple announced Infinite as the title of their twentieth studio album, which is due for release on April 7, 2017. The album will be accompanied by The Long Goodbye Tour. At the time of the tour's announcement in December 2016, Paice told the Heavyworlds website it "may be the last big tour", adding that the band "don't know". He described the tour as being long in duration, and said: "We haven't made any hard, fast plans, but it becomes obvious that you cannot tour the same way you did when you were 21. It becomes more and more difficult. People have other things in their lives, which take time. But never say never." On 3 February 2017, Deep Purple released a video version of "Time for Bedlam", the first track taken from the new album and the first new Deep Purple track for almost 4 years.
Deep Purple are cited as one of the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The group have influenced a number of rock and metal bands including Metallica, Judas Priest, Queen, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Alice in Chains, Pantera, Bon Jovi, Europe, Rush, Motörhead, and many new wave of British heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden, and Def Leppard. Iron Maiden's bassist and primary songwriter, Steve Harris, states that his band's "heaviness" was inspired by "Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in."
In 2000, Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" programme. At the 2008 World Music Awards the band received the Legend Award. In 2011, they received the Innovator Award at the 2011 Classic Rock Awards in London. A Rolling Stone readers' poll in 2012 ranked Made in Japan the sixth best live album of all time. As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Machine Head (1972), Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head was released on 25 September 2012. This tribute album features artists such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, Chickenfoot consisting of former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Flaming Lips, Black Label Society, Papa Roach vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, and the supergroup Kings of Chaos featuring Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, and former Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.
Prior to October 2012, Deep Purple had never been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (though they have been eligible since 1993), but were nominated for induction in 2012 and 2013. Despite ranking second in the public's vote on the Rock Hall fans' ballot, which had over half a million votes, they were not inducted by the Rock Hall committee. Kiss bassist Gene Simmons and Rush bassist Geddy Lee commented that Deep Purple should obviously be among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. There have been criticisms in the past over Deep Purple not having been inducted. Toto guitarist Steve Lukather commented, "they put Patti Smith in there but not Deep Purple? What's the first song every kid learns how to play? ...And they're not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ...the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has lost its cool because of the glaring omissions." Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash expressed his surprise and disagreement for the non-induction of Deep Purple; "The list of people who haven't even been nominated is mind-boggling.. big one for me is Deep Purple. How could you not induct Deep Purple?". Metallica band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett have also lobbied for the band's induction. In an interview with Rolling Stone in April 2014, Ulrich pleaded: "I'm not gonna get into the politics or all that stuff, but I got two words to say: 'Deep Purple'. That's all I have to say: Deep Purple. Seriously, people, Deep Purple. Two simple words in the English language...'Deep Purple'! Did I say that already?" In 2015, Chris Jericho, WWE wrestler and current vocalist of rock band Fozzy, stated: "that Deep Purple are not in it . It's bullshit. Obviously there's some politics against them from getting in there."
In response to these, a Hall of Fame chief executive said, "The definition of 'rock and roll' means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music." Roger Glover remains ambivalent about induction and got an inside word from the Hall, "One of the jurors said, ‘You know, Deep Purple, they’re just one-hit wonders.’ How can you deal with that kind of Philistinism, you know?". Ian Gillan also commented, "I've fought all my life against being institutionalised and I think you have to actively search these things out, in other words mingle with the right people, and we don't get invited to those kind of things." On 16 October 2013 Deep Purple were again announced as nominees for inclusion to the Hall, and once again they were not inducted.
In April 2015, Deep Purple topped the list in a Rolling Stone readers poll of acts that should be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. In October 2015, the band were nominated for induction for the third time. In December 2015, the band were announced as 2016 inductees into the Hall of Fame, with the Hall stating: "Deep Purple's non-inclusion in the Hall is a gaping hole which must now be filled," adding that along with fellow inductees Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, the band make up "the Holy Trinity of hard rock and metal bands." The band was officially inducted on April 8, 2016. The Hall of Fame announced that the following members were included as inductees: Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Ian Gillan, Rod Evans, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Excluded from induction were Nick Simper, Tommy Bolin, Joe Lynn Turner, Joe Satriani, Steve Morse and Don Airey.
Prior to the induction ceremony, Ian Gillan announced that he was barring Hughes, Coverdale, Evans and Blackmore from playing with them onstage, as these members are not in the current "living, breathing" version of the band. Of the eight inducted members, five showed up. Blackmore didn't show; a posting on his Facebook page claimed he was honored by the induction and had considered attending, until he received correspondence from Bruce Payne, manager from the current touring version of Deep Purple saying, "No!" In interviews at the Rock Hall, however, Gillan insisted he personally invited Blackmore to attend, but not to play onstage. Evans, who had disappeared from the music scene more than three decades prior, also didn't show. And because Lord had died in 2012, his wife Vickie accepted his award for him. The current members of the band played "Highway Star" for the opening performance. After a brief interlude playing the Booker T. & the M.G.'s song "Green Onions" while photos of the late Jon Lord flashed on the screen behind them, the current Deep Purple members played two more songs: "Hush" and their signature tune "Smoke on the Water". Although barred from playing with Deep Purple, both David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes (as well as Roger Glover) joined fellow inductees Cheap Trick and an all-star cast to perform a cover of the Fats Domino song "Ain't That a Shame".
Deep Purple are considered to be one of the hardest touring bands in the world. From 1968 until today (with the exception of their 1976–1984 split) they continue to tour around the world. In 2007, the band received a special award for selling more than 150,000 tickets in France, with 40 dates in the country in 2007 alone. Also in 2007, Deep Purple's Rapture of the Deep Tour was voted number 6 concert tour of the year (in all music genres) by Planet Rock listeners. The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour was voted number 5 and beat Purple's tour by only 1%. Deep Purple released a new live compilation DVD box, Around the World Live, in May 2008. In February 2008, the band made their first ever appearance at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia at the personal request of Dmitry Medvedev who at the time was considered a shoo-in for the seat of the Presidency of Russia. Prior to that, Deep Purple has toured Russia several times starting as early as 1996, but has not been considered to have played such a significant venue previously. The band was part of the entertainment for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
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