Highway Star (song)
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|Song by Deep Purple from the album Machine Head|
|Recorded||6–21 December 1971
Warner Bros. (US)
|Machine Head track listing|
"Highway Star" is one of British rock group Deep Purple's most famous songs. The song is the opening track on the 1972 album Machine Head and is the fastest song (tempo-wise) on the album. It is characterised by a long classically-inspired guitar solo and organ solo. Organist Jon Lord claimed that the organ and guitar solos were based on Bach-like chord sequences.
This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single "G" repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that same night. The song first appears on the 1972 LP Machine Head. The track remains one of the band's staples in live concerts, and was the set opener even before it was released on any album.
The very first live version released, recorded live for German TV program Beat-Club in September 1971 is featured on the History, Hits & Highlights '68–'76 DVD. The most famous live version is featured on the 1972 live album Made in Japan. It's also the opening track on the live albums "Nobody's Perfect" (1988) and "Come Hell or High Water (1994).
The structure of the song consists of a 35 second bass/guitar introduction, before the band launches into the thumping opening riff, which soon leads into the first vocals section (0:55). The first two verses are sung, then Jon Lord begins his organ solo (2:14). The organ solo lasts for about a minute, then Ian Gillan sings the third verse of the song (3:24). At the conclusion of the third verse, the guitar solo starts (4:04), and lasts for just under a minute and twenty seconds. Then, the fourth and final verse, which in the original recording is simply a repetition of the first verse down a fifth, is sung, finishing around 6:10. Depending on the version, there may be a 15 second-long exit section before the end of the song. When the song is played live, Gillan has been known to improvise its lyrics, as seen in the official video for the song.
Because of its fast tempo, "Highway Star" is covered by numerous bands in the speed metal genre as well as other bands from other genres.
- Night Ranger covers a portion of this song live during their song, "This Boy Needs to Rock". The album version of "This Boy Needs To Rock", from their Seven Wishes album, contains a lengthy guitar solo that is essentially exactly the same guitar solo found in "Highway Star".
- Faith No More has covered at least one verse of the song, which can be heard on the second disc of their greatest hits album Who Cares a Lot?.
- X-Cops, a GWAR side project, covered the song (with slightly different lyrics to better reflect the theme of the band and album) on their only album, You Have the Right to Remain Silent....
- Metal Church covered the song on their self-titled debut album.
- Australian classical guitar band Saffire perform an equally fast but acoustic cover of Highway Star on their 2004 CD Nostalgica.
- Serbian band Cactus Jack covered the song on their 2003 live/tribute album Deep Purple Tribute.
- Alter Bridge covered the song several times on their concerts with Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy playing both guitar parts.
- Les Fradkin recorded a instrumental MIDI Guitar version for his solo album "Hyper MIDI Guitar" in 2010.
- Type O Negative has a version of the track on 'The Best of Type O Negative'.
- Dream Theater performed the song as well as the rest of the Made in Japan album on 13 January 2006. It was subsequently released as an official bootleg on Mike Portnoy's Ytse Jam Records.
- Bugotak band from Novosibirsk made their Men Chuguruk cover with throat singing vocals in Buryat language and instruments of Siberian indigenous people.
- Do As Infinity covered the song on the last live from "Need Your Love Tour". It appears in their "Live in Japan II" DVD.
- Quintorigo covered the song in their album Grigio.
- The New Jersey band Project EriE has covered this song numerous times sans keyboard player, instead having lead guitar player Nikk Cubillos play the organ solo in addition to the guitar solo.
- Supergroup, Chickenfoot, have performed the song live.
- Buckcherry recorded the song for NASCAR on TNT and included it on the 2009 re-release of their Black Butterfly Album. They have also been performing it live while currently on tour opening for KISS
- A DJ named Speedmaster recorded a faster eurodance remix of the song for the 2001 Dancemania compilation Speed 6.
- East German band Puhdys recorded a cover of this song on their English-language album Far From Home.
- Stryper covered the song on their 2011 release, 'The Covering'.
- Truckin' Little Hankies covered the song in their live show in March 2011.
Appearances in other media 
- It is featured in 2007 music video game Rock Band.
- It is featured in 2008 music video game Rock Revolution.
- It is featured in 2006 Nintendo DS music video game Elite Beat Agents.
- Its electro mix is featured in 1993 battle-racing video game Rock n' Roll Racing.
- Cover version is featured in music video game Guitar Freaks.
- It is featured in the video game The Lost and Damned on the in–game radio station Liberty Rock Radio.
- It is featured in the video game The Ballad of Gay Tony on the in–game radio station Liberty Rock Radio.
- It is featured in the soundtrack of the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused.
- It is featured in the soundtrack of the 1994 movie The Stöned Age.
- It is featured in That '70s Show.
- :::: Roger Glover - the official website
- Roger Glover Interview at stevemorse.com
- By Michaelangelo Matos (2009-05-15). "Chickenfoot's Rowdy Tour Launch Draws Visit From Fire Department | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2011-08-14.