50 years ago

Posted: March 21, 2018 in Classic Rock, Deep Purple Family, General

It was 50 years ago this month that the first version of Deep Purple were formed. Technically the band was still called Roundabout after the aborted first moves towards forming a band in 1967 with Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and Chris Curtis. The group had a management team (HEC) that believed in Lord and Blackmore and Nick Simper was brought in from The Flowerpot Men (that had also featured Lord, they left in late February) for putting the project together in a Georgian Farmhouse called Deeves Hall in Ridge (Hertfordshire). The designated drummer was Bobby Woodman. Terry Reid and Ian Gillan (!) were both offered the job as vocalist but both turned it down (Gillan still had high hopes for Episode Six). An ad was put in Melody Maker for a vocalist and some time was spent checking out hopefuls. Rod Evans fitted in well and was offered the job. Woodman was not happy about the choice and was consequently the first guy to get the boot as drummer Ian Paice (also a member of Rod Evans band The Maze) auditioned behind his back. Suddenly, by the end of March, they had a functioning unit. When the name came up they discussed changing it and when Blackmore suggested Deep Purple he was initially shot down in flames. The idea would not be accepted for some time yet. Producer Derek Lawrence popped up one day and offered his services, which would mean a US deal. Decca had already shown interest, it was all coming together (as we all know, Derek won the fight). Songs were written and gigs were booked for April in Denmark and Sweden, still billed as Roundabout. During this trek, discussions came up again and this time Deep Purple was decided upon, beating Concrete God. In May, Deep Purple would enter a London studio to cut the first album.

To be continued…

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