Shades of Deep Purple
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|Shades of Deep Purple|
|Studio album by Deep Purple|
|Recorded||11–13 May 1968
Pye Studios, London
|Genre||Hard rock, psychedelic rock|
|Deep Purple chronology|
|Original UK cover|
|Singles from Shades of Deep Purple|
It was released without much attention in the UK, where it did not perform well in sales. In the US on the other hand, it was a massive success, contributing largely to the attention Deep Purple would get there and eventually also over to the UK. Stylistically it is close to psychedelia and progressive rock.
Early days of development
Rehearsing began in February, after Nick Simper, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice (as yet without an appropriate drum kit) had hired Rod Evans to sing after some auditions. Their first rehearsals (Paice having now acquired his favoured drum kit) involved mostly jamming and some occasional glimpses with the instrumentals "And The Address" and "Mandrake Root", which Blackmore had written earlier that year. (Mandrake Root was also the name of an earlier band that Blackmore had been trying to form in Germany when the call came from Deep Purple's management.)
Their previous test-singer, Chris Curtis had been wanting to add a cover of a Beatles song to an eventual album and therefore the first proper song that was set in motion turned out to be "Help!". "Mandrake Root" was given lyrics, so the album would feature only one instrumental. Then, with those three well inducted, the band started to think on "I'm So Glad", a song by Skip James, which had earlier been covered by Cream. Ian Paice and Rod Evans had also recorded the song earlier, with their band The Maze.
It was to be proven typical with Deep Purple in these early years that all the cover songs recorded were considerably longer and more grandiose than the originals. "I'm So Glad" was certainly no exception. When the track was recorded, the first movement of Scheherazade was added before the actual song began.
The next song added to the rehearsals was "Hey Joe", a song originally, but disputably, written by Billy Roberts and mistakenly credited to "Deep Purple" on original releases of the Shades album. The Jimi Hendrix Experience had recorded a version of this song in late 1966 and this was used as the main inspiration. But as well as "I'm So Glad", the song was heavily blown up and stretched in length. Joe South had written a song for Billy Joe Royal the previous year, called "Hush" and this song was also picked up by the band.
The later rehearsals and demo recordings
After an agreed set list, the band began the finesse-rehearsals. Ritchie Blackmore convinced a friend of his, Derek Lawrence, to produce. He and Blackmore had cooperated some years before. Lawrence ran an independent production company that recorded singles and sold the results over to the United States. Lawrence had seen some of their sessions and was very impressed with what he saw.
Deep Purple's employer, HEC, was set in contact with American record-label, Tetragrammaton. The Americans were looking for a British band to work with on their new label. HEC set their talented deployers in full action and arranged for the band to cut some demos in between March and April. Two of their previously developed songs, "Hush" and "Help" were recorded for this purpose, as well as two newcomers: "Love Help Me" and "Shadows", both written by the band. "Help" was previewed for EMI, who had offered them a deal concerning distribution in Europe. The demos (except "Shadows", which was dropped) were previewed by Tetragrammaton, who after careful consideration chose "Hush" as their commitment.
The album-recording and promotions
The demos were followed by promotions of the finished album, which first earned them some gigs in Scandinavia. The band name was also the developed at this time. "Deep Purple" was suggested by Blackmore, as it was also the name of his grandmother's favourite song. When they returned to England, the cable containing Tetragrammaton's decision to sign them had arrived. The request had apparently resulted in an agreement for a green-light and the band was now supported by a label overseas. This was a saving grace, as the budget provided by HEC was nearly spent. Good gear and promotion had not gone without some cost.
With the band on promotion-tour, some studio time had been successfully booked and on Saturday, 11 May 1968, Deep Purple went into Pye studios at ATV House in London. There, with aforementioned Derek Lawrence producing and Barry Ainsworth acting as engineer, they reworked and improved the material they had rehearsed and recorded before. "And The Address" and "Hey Joe" were cut first, followed by "Hush" and "Help" later that day. On Sunday, "Love Help Me", "I'm So Glad" (with the Scheherazade-prelude entitled "Happiness") and "Mandrake Root" were recorded. The latter required a large amount of mixing, with sound-effects being provided by the BBC. Finally, on Monday, 13 May, "One More Rainy Day" was cut, completing the recording of their debut album. The final finesses were made and the band concluded their duties in studio later the same day.
Album cover and release
The album was now well and finished and tapes were taken to Tetragrammaton representatives that had come to London. The material proved to be more than satisfactory with the label. Due to this, it was with few worries the band approached their next stop, which was the famous Mr. Fish Emporium, where the band-members were clothed in hip styles and fashions. There they did the obligatory photo-shoot. The resulting shots were shipped to America and Tetragrammaton began their distribution of the album there.
The "Hush" single was released overseas by Tetragrammaton and it turned out to be a huge success, peaking at #4 on the US charts, #2 on the Canadian charts, and garnering the band considerable attention. The label's reluctance to release "Help" as the promotional single and instead go for "Hush", proved ingenious. Widely distributed and hyped, the song was played on radios all over the US, particularly the West Coast and the band was well noticed thanks to this. The album was released in the United States in July, 1968 and raced up the Billboard Pop Chart, ultimately peaking at #24. The single was released in the UK as well, but it was, not surprisingly, overlooked as their European label chose to promote "Help" more heavily there. Ian Paice had this to say about success in the US versus the lack of success back home, in an interview for Melody Maker:
"We have been given proper exposure over there. The Americans really know how to push records."
Then, the band did some promotional gigs for the BBC, but otherwise, England in general was not very prioritised. They did some gigs in local pubs and festivals, but the crowd didn't seem that interested. As Jon Lord reflected it to Beat Instrumental Magazine:
"We felt that England was unlikely to be as receptive to a new group as America, so we tried to get signed up with an American record company. We were lucky in that we were signed by a new label, who were anxious to get started with a hit and we had a lot of promotion and publicity. We had far greater freedom both financially and artistically than we could ever have got with a British company. An English company as a rule won't spend any time or effort with you until you're an established name, but isn't that leaving it a bit late?"
Ian Paice's explanation for their lack of touring and promotion in England, reflected to Melody Maker:
"This is because we haven't been offered the money we want and unless there is some sort of prestige attached, there is no point in doing the general run of gigs. And as far as we are concerned, dancing audiences are out. There are only about three numbers in our act that they can dance to. We make a point of warning promoters that we are not a dancing group."
The album was released in the United Kingdom in September 1968 and just as Lord states, the whole thing was not really noticed in the musical environment there. By October, Deep Purple set off to the States, where they were to tour. When they arrived and played their first gigs, attention that was completely in contrast to what they had been given in England, was blasting their way. The success of the "Hush" single was a giant boost in America. The band played at many different locations, including festivals, bars and even at the Playboy Mansion, alongside Hugh Hefner and a bunch of dancing women. The album was from then on a success.
A monaural pressing of the album was released in the UK and Europe (but not in the US), which was simply a fold-down of the stereo mix.
- Side one
|1.||"And the Address" (instrumental)||Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord||4:38|
|3.||"One More Rainy Day"||Lord, Rod Evans||3:40|
|4.||"Prelude: Happiness/I'm So Glad"||Blackmore, Evans, Lord, Ian Paice, Nick Simper / Skip James||7:19|
- Side two
|5.||"Mandrake Root"||Blackmore, Lord, Evans||6:09|
|6.||"Help!"||John Lennon, Paul McCartney||6:01|
|7.||"Love Help Me"||Blackmore, Evans||3:49|
|8.||"Hey Joe"||Billy Roberts||7:33|
|Bonus tracks on the CD reissue|
- Ritchie Blackmore - guitar
- Rod Evans - lead vocals
- Jon Lord - organ, keyboards, backing vocals
- Ian Paice - drums
- Nick Simper - bass, backing vocals
- Produced by Derek Lawrence
- Engineered by Barry Ainsworth
- Bonus tracks recorded in 1968 & 1969
- Dedicated to Bobby, Chris, Dave and Ravel
- Digitally remastered and restored by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios, London
- Allmusic review
- Welch, Chris. "The Story of Deep Purple." In Deep Purple: HM Photo Book, copyright 1983, Omnibus Press.
- "Observer Music Monthly – Greatest British Albums - June 2004". Kerrang. Retrieved 10 February 2009.