Child in Time

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"Child in Time"
Child in Time.png
Cover of the 1972 Belgium single
Song by Deep Purple
from the album Deep Purple in Rock
ReleasedJune 1970
Recorded1969–1970 at IBC Studios, London
LabelHarvest (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Producer(s)Deep Purple

"Child in Time" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple. Loosely inspired by the Vietnam War[1], it is featured on the band's 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock and runs for over 10 minutes.

History and characteristics[edit]

Ian Gillan has said that "Child in Time" is based on It's a Beautiful Day's psychedelic song "Bombay Calling".[2] It's a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple's "Wring That Neck" and turned it into "Don and Dewey" on their second album Marrying Maiden (1970). As Ian Gillan put it in a 2002 interview, "There are two sides to that song - the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song 'Bombay Calling' by a band called It's A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we'd play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original 'Bombay Calling'. So, we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines 'Sweet child in time, you'll see the line.' That's how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that's why it became so popular."[2]

With themes of war and inhumanity, the song is regarded as a heavy metal anthem[3] and an example of art rock.[4]

A staple of the Deep Purple live concerts in 1970–73 and later after their initial reunion tours of 1985 and 1987–88, the song was not featured regularly at concerts after 1995. It was re-added to the setlist for the band's 2002 European tour, with its final appearance in Deep Purple's live set was at Kharkiv's Opera Theatre's scene in March of that year.[5]

A live version later appeared on the 1972 live album Made in Japan. Another live version can be found on the Scandinavian Nights / Live in Stockholm live album, recorded in September 1970. Gillan also featured a live jazz influenced version of the song in his Ian Gillan Band project of the late 1970s.


"Child in Time" was ranked no. 1 on Radio Veronica's "Super All-Time List" in 1989.[6] The song ranked at no. 16 in Guitarist's 1998 readers poll of Top 100 Guitar Solos of All-Time.[7] English disc jockey John Peel's 1976 list of Festive Fifty featured the song at no. 25.[8] Placed 2nd, 3rd or 4th place most years of the annual Dutch Top 2000 songs of all time.

Covers and references in popular culture[edit]

  • Ian Gillan covered the song on his 1976 solo album Child in Time.
  • The song was covered by Yngwie Malmsteen on his 1996 album Inspiration.
  • Jon Lord's solo organ introduction was sampled by Big Audio Dynamite and used in the introduction to their song "Rush".
  • A portion of this song was featured in the 1996 films Twister, Breaking the Waves and in 23.
  • The song is used in the 1999 Academy Award winning documentary One Day in September, which is about the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage crisis. It plays during a rapid montage of the violent aftermath of the concluding airport shootout.
  • This song was used in the finale of Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour as Eddie and Richie begin traveling back in time to the dawn of time.
  • The song was covered by Cactus Jack on their 2003 album Deep Purple Tribute.
  • A new truncated version also appears on 2006 studio album The Village Lanterne by Blackmore's Night, titled "Mond Tanz / Child in Time".
  • A portion of this song was featured in the 2008 film Der Baader Meinhof Komplex.
  • A portion of this song was featured in the 2007 BBC television documentary The Secret Life of the Motorway, in the last programme of the 3 part series.[9]
  • The song was covered by Rata Blanca and Tarja in a show in Buenos Aires on 9 June 2009.[10]
  • The song is available as downloadable content for the music video game Rock Band 3.
  • The intro of this song was used as basis for the U.U. intro-version of the "Exterminate! (song)" performed by the German dancefloor project Snap!
  • The song was covered by the Japanese metal band Liv Moon in 2010 with a length of 7:59 minutes.
  • Anu Malik drew inspiration from this song for the opening and closing portions of Aisa Zakhm Diya from the Hindi film Akele Hum Akele Tum.[11]
  • The song is used for the Flowers By Kenzo commercial in France.
  • The song is prominently referenced in Sérotonine, a novel by french author Michel Houellebecq, released in 2019. At night two male characters (including the narrator), both drunk and desperate, listen repeatedly ("thirty or forty times") on a high-end vintage audio system (featuring huge Klipschorn speakers) to a 1970 bootleg recording of "Child in Time", from a concert in Duisburg ; the dramaturgy of the song is meticulously described, and the narrator recalls that night as "aesthetically ... the most beautiful moment in my life", the kind of which is recalled when one is about to die.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ - Running 10 minutes and 15 seconds, this is a protest song to the United States' war in Vietnam. The lyrics were written by lead singer Ian Gillan.]
  2. ^ a b Kusnur, Narendra (3 May 2002). "Ian Gillan, Mumbai, India. 3 May 2002". Mid-Day Newspaper. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
  3. ^ Jacqueline Edmondson Ph.D. (3 October 2013). Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-313-39348-8.
  4. ^ Pete Prown; HP Newquist (1997). Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-7935-4042-6.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Super All-Time List - From 1989
  7. ^ Top 100 Guitar Solos of All-Time
  8. ^ John Peel's Festive Fifty 1976
  9. ^ documentary "The Secret Life of the Motorway"
  10. ^ Metal from Finland: TARJA TURUNEN covers Deep Purple's "Child In Time" Archived 14 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Chori se Chori se...when copied songs are as good as the original". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

External links[edit]