Deep Purple (album)
|Studio album by Deep Purple|
|Released||21 June 1969 (US)
November 1969 (UK)
|Recorded||De Lane Lea Studios, Kingsway, London, January-March 1969|
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, progressive rock, hard rock|
Polydor (Canada and Japan)
|Deep Purple chronology|
Deep Purple, also referred to as Deep Purple III, is the third studio album by English rock band Deep Purple, released in 1969 on Harvest Records in the UK and on Tetragrammaton in the US. It was to be the last album with the original lineup.
It was released at a time when the band were starting to grow as performers, both live and in the studio, finding their direction musically. There were some conflicts over whether the band should continue on their rawer, heavier direction. This caused turmoil, which was partially responsible for two of the members, Nick Simper (bass) and Rod Evans (vocals), being replaced. Commercially, this album was the least successful of the three Mark I era albums.
Deep Purple had been on tour overseas in late 1968 to promote their second album, The Book of Taliesyn. Their two so-far released singles and albums had yet to make an impact in Britain when they returned there on 3 January 1969. Their English label EMI pressured the band to make a successful single on their home-court, so there was not much time for restitution after coming home. "Kentucky Woman" had, as their previous single "Hush" not fared well there, even if it had been a hit in the States and done even better in Canada. The band themselves had come up with much more solid original material the second time around, wanting to unleash the full potential for each song. Hence, making a song that would easily fit the three-minute range was becoming difficult. However, they could not release a new album without such a single to promote it.
The band had tried to record a new single to fit the smash-criteria in December, while in America, but nothing had come of it, so they eventually gave up. After returning to England, they settled in studio again in early 1969, and the new single contender, "Emmaretta" was completed on 7 January, after four takes needed. It was scheduled as a B-side. They needed a new A-side, so after experimenting a bit with different ideas, "The Bird Has Flown" was yielded. It was a more progressive and complicated work than "Emmaretta", so the song itself took a bit longer time to finish, which they did later on the 7th. Following this short visit to the studio, the band set up for a series of one-nighters across Britain the following February and March. "Wring That Neck" from their previous album, which had yet to be released in the UK, was issued there as the single B-side to promote the touring band.
During this two-month tour, the band also set up their spare slots for some time to record at the De Lane Lea Studio in London, where the band opted to re-record "The Bird Has Flown", which had already been released with "Emmaretta" in the US, but was not properly developed for the album; again showing their desire to create solid original material. The new version was completed on 18 March, and retitled "Bird Has Flown". Other songs on the album were recorded in a widespread time period over the course of February and March.
Word of Deep Purple's success in America had finally given some influence on their reputation in the UK, as they gradually rose in popularity and request. Music magazines began printing articles on them, and their whole reputation grew considerably over the course of these two months. Jon Lord elaborated the previous difference in popularity the band had experienced between the US and the UK before, in this manner:
"We must be the only schizophrenic group in existence; if we go out and do a date in England we can earn 150 pounds. In the states, a similar date will earn us about 2500 pounds.
When a reporter asked Lord about why he thought Deep Purple was having such a hard time finding the big audience back home, he answered:
"Because we've had hits I think the British underground devotees tend to look down on us. Americans are so much more broad-minded about this business of having hit singles."
As such, a typical headline in an English music magazine in early 1969 would be something like: "They lose £2350 a night working in Britain".
Promotion in America
"Emmaretta" was a commercial stint for the band, who sounded nothing like the style which was presented on it. This change in style was a stab to try to get a hit. However, yet again their single did not convince the British public. In late March, the band had completed the sessions for their third, as yet unnamed, album. Early April 1969 found Deep Purple on their way back to America to start off a new tour, which would last for another two months, similar to how they had done it in Britain.
Upon arrival, the band found out that their North American label Tetragrammaton had not yet manufactured their now finished album. Thus, people who saw them on the road would, for a time, only find the band's back-catalogue sitting on store shelves. Additionally, things were now starting to look grim for the year-old label, and bankruptcy was looming. After building a strong foundation and showing a desire to really back up their artists (such as the heavy promotions of "Hush" and "Kentucky Woman" in America), the label's spending had just got out of control. Deep Purple had not been able to repeat the success of "Hush," and very few singles by other artists assigned to the label had sold well enough.
While touring, the band experienced some economical limitations, resulting in them asking their manager John Colleta to fly back home, so the hotel-bills would be reduced. In an attempt to salvage their own situation, the Tetragrammaton Label issued "Emmaretta" as a new single, backed by the early version of "Bird Has Flown" as its contemporary B-side. The single was to much dismay and disappointment, largely unsuccessful, failing to affect the US charts. Even though their most recent single there was doing poorly, the band was getting a reputation as a fine live act. The band had now really begun to develop their stage presence into something grander, going in a more loud and heavy direction, showcasing the instrumental talents of Blackmore and Lord which would presage things to come. Deep Purple had effectively turned into a highly proficient band on stage.
However, things were now starting to heat up internally, and band members were getting more vocal about the direction they wanted the music to go, as well as being dissatisfied with their salary for concerts. By late 1968, founding members Lord and Blackmore were starting to yearn for a sharper, rawer and overall heavier sound. But they felt that singer Rod Evans, with his tender, smooth voice, would not be able to cope with louder, more aggressive material. Tensions were also high with bassist Nick Simper, who did not really approve of the band turning heavier. It was in May, during the ongoing American tour, that Lord and Blackmore agreed on changing the lineup; shifting out both bassist Simper and singer Evans. The band's drummer, Ian Paice, on the other hand, had his firm place in the band, and Lord and Blackmore talked their ideas over with him. Paice agreed to the lineup shift.
Release and reception
Manager John Coletta was surprised when he heard the trio's news, advising them to keep quiet about it until the tour was completed and they had returned home to England. Then, after coming home in early June, Deep Purple received notice from their American label that the album was finally ready for release overseas. As was also the case with most of the material on their previous two albums, the songs have a psychedelic rock sound, particularly in the seventh track "Bird has Flown", and a progressive rock feel that verges on classical music, particularly in the long introductory sequence of the 12-minute final track "April", Deep Purple's longest ever studio recording. The band also incorporated a 12-bar blues structure on the songs "The Painter" and "Why Didn't Rosemary?". The sound of the album was heavier than previous works, similar to how the band sounded live during this period.
This album contains more original songs, six in total, than on either of their first two albums, now starting to fully endeavor to write original material. The only cover song on the album is "Lalena", which was originally written and performed by Donovan. Deep Purple, as the album was somewhat confusingly self-titled, was released on 21 June in the US. Derek Lawrence was once again credited as producer. As an effect of the album's heavier, rawer sound, the individuals of the band, perhaps Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice in particular, were starting to really showcase their instrumental abilities, which had both been hidden in the organ-heavy mix on the previous two releases.
When released in America, reception for the album was low. It did not come close to the same success as its two predecessors, peaking at No. 162 in the US Billboard charts. Tetragrammaton's financial problems were partially to blame, as promotion was lacklustre, and the lack of a hit single or tour support were also factors.
Tetragrammaton issued the album in a stark gatefold sleeve, wrapped around with a segmented illustration from Hieronymus Bosch's painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights. The label ran into difficulty over the use of the Museo del Prado-owned painting, which was incorrectly perceived as being anti-religious; featuring "immoral scenes", in the US and thus rejected or poorly stocked by many record shops. The original painting is in colour although it appeared on the LP in monochrome due to a printing error for the original layout and the band opted to keep it that way. The same Bosch painting (in colour) had previously been used as an album cover two years before by Pearls Before Swine on their debut One Nation Underground.
|1.||"Chasing Shadows"||Jon Lord, Ian Paice||5:34|
|4.||"Fault Line"||Ritchie Blackmore, Nick Simper, Lord, Paice||1:46|
|5.||"The Painter"||Rod Evans, Blackmore, Simper, Lord, Paice||3:51|
|6.||"Why Didn't Rosemary?"||Evans, Blackmore, Simper, Lord, Paice||5:04|
|7.||"Bird Has Flown"||Evans, Blackmore, Lord||5:36|
|CD bonus tracks|
|9.||"The Bird Has Flown" (alternate b-side version)||Evans, Blackmore, Lord||2:54|
|10.||"Emmaretta" (single a-side)||Evans, Blackmore, Lord||3:00|
|11.||"Emmaretta" (BBC radio session; 16 January 1969)||Evans, Blackmore, Lord||3:09|
|12.||"Lalena" (BBC radio session; 6 June 1969)||Leitch||3:33|
|13.||"The Painter" (BBC radio session; 6 June 1969)||Evans, Blackmore, Simper, Lord, Paice||2:18|
"Chasing Shadows" is one of the songs in the band's catalogue that to the largest degree showcases Ian Paice's skills as a drummer. The song starts and ends with extended themes of African drum rhythms and cowbells.
"Blind" is somewhat of a foray into classical music again, which Deep Purple had done frequently on their previous album. The song is thoroughly led by Jon Lord's baroque-themed keyboard sound, which is also used to create a very retro sounding solo later into the song. Between verses, there are drum fills by Ian Paice. There is also a very distorted guitar solo by Ritchie Blackmore.
"Lalena" is the only cover song on this album, having been written and performed by Donovan in October 1968. On their previous two albums, covers had been more prominent, but this time the band opted to keep most of the material their own. It is one of the calmest, most low-paced songs in Deep Purple's catalogue. It was never played live after 1969, but it was played at a BBC session, which was recorded and included on the remastered and expanded edition of Deep Purple.
Fault Line/The Painter
"Fault Line" is a short instrumental, and it works as an introduction to "The Painter", which it seamlessly segues into. An eerie organ sound (created, according to liner notes, by cutting out the tape of Lord's organ chord and splicing it in backwards) is prominent in the "Fault Line" intro. "The Painter" is an uptempo 12-bar blues piece, featuring many guitar fills and several keyboard and guitar solos. It was one of the few songs Ian Gillan performed with the band after he had replaced Rod Evans as the vocalist, doing so at a BBC session in the summer of 1969. However, it was never played live after 1969. This particular version of the song has yet to be released to the public, but it exists on bootlegs. Also worthy of notice is that "Fault Line" and "The Painter" were split into two separate tracks on the remastered and expanded edition of Deep Purple.
Why Didn't Rosemary
Created as somewhat of a throwback to the rhythms of American Blues and rock n' roll in the 1950s, "Why Didn't Rosemary" is one of the first songs to really showcase Ritchie Blackmore's talent at detailed, bluesy guitar solos. Jon Lord's keyboard is barely featured here. The song is backed up by a "blues" style bass-line. Lyrically, "Why Didn't Rosemary" deals with a girl that got pregnant, because she didn't take "the pill". The story goes that the band wrote the song immediately after seeing the movie Rosemary's Baby.
Bird Has Flown
"Bird Has Flown" is arguably the most known song from the album, being released as a single, and is perhaps also the most psychedelic one. It starts off with a very sharp, quite distorted guitar riff, followed by a thumping bass-and-drum rhythm. This version of the song was recorded within the same time period as the other songs on the finished album, but there was also an earlier version of it, entitled, "The Bird Has Flown", recorded in early January for a potential single release. That shorter, less heavy version was eventually released as a single exclusively in the US. Before being included on the remastered and expanded edition of Deep Purple, that version of the song was also extremely rare, as the single did not sell particularly well upon its initial release in 1969. Also of note: it is one of the few Mark I era songs that Ian Gillan performed with the band, doing so at a BBC session in the summer of 1969. This particular version of the song was released to the public in 2002, featured on the box-set, Listen, Learn, Read On. "Bird Has Flown" was not played live again after 1969.
"April" is a 12-minute long piece consisting of three distinct sections. The first section is started off with a long organ introduction, followed by some acoustic guitar. Following this is an electric guitar solo, which up to this point in Ritchie Blackmore's career was the longest guitar solo he had played on record. After the guitar solo ends, there is a classical-sounding piece for 12-piece chamber orchestra, composed by Lord but with no Deep Purple members playing. This second section is also the longest one. After different aspects of woodwinds and strings, the third section - a more straight-ahead rock song - begins, introduced by a short drum fill. Then Rod Evans starts to sing Jon Lord's lyrics. The song ends with another guitar solo, which gradually fades out. One instrumental part of "April" was released as the B-side to the first Mark II single, "Hallelujah". The song was never performed live.
|Japanese Albums Charts||89|
|US Billboard 200||162|
- Rod Evans - lead vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore - guitar
- Jon Lord - organ, keyboard, backing vocals
- Nick Simper - bass, backing vocals
- Ian Paice - drums
- Additional personnel
- Produced by Derek Lawrence
- Engineered by Barry Ainsworth
- Digitally remastered and restored by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios, London
^shipments figures based on certification alone