Child in Time

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This article is about the Deep Purple song. For other uses, see Child in Time (disambiguation).
"Child in Time"
Child in Time.png
Cover of the 1972 Belgium single
Song by Deep Purple from the album Deep Purple in Rock
Released June 1970
Recorded 1969–1970 at IBC Studios, London
Length 10:18
Label Harvest (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Writer(s) Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice
Producer(s) Deep Purple

"Child in Time" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple. A protest song against the Vietnam War, 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".[1] 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."[1]

"Child in Time" is an essentially simple composition, featuring an organ intro, three power chords, and a two-minute-long guitar solo. Lyrically dark, vocalist Ian Gillan utilizes his wide vocal range and goes from quiet singing to loud, high-pitched, banshee-esque screaming. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore comes in with a slow solo, which builds up to a fast-pace playing and then ends abruptly, with the whole song cycle starting over again sans guitar solo. The song was one of the last on which Blackmore recorded his parts using the Gibson ES-335 that had been his mainstay electric instrument in Deep Purple's early years prior to switching to Fender Stratocasters.[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 has not been featured regularly at concerts since 1995. Gillan cites many personal reasons for leaving the song out[citation needed], but it is likely that, given his advancing years, the song is becoming increasingly difficult to perform without sampled vocal backings. Its last appearance in Deep Purple's live set was at Kharkov's Opera Theatre's scene in 2002.[5] In that performance, high-pitched guitar was used to cover up Gillan's then-limited vocal range during the "screaming" parts. A similar technique is used on current live performances of "Space Truckin'".

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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kusnur, Narendra (2002-05-03). "Ian Gillan, Mumbai, India. 3 May 2002". Mid-Day Newspaper. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  2. ^ "A short story about Ritchie Blackmore and his long forgotten 1961 Gibson ES-335". 
  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; Harvey P. 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. ^ Deep Purple Russian WWW Pages
  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]