Tagged with "deep"
2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee - Deep Purple Tags: deep purple rock roll hall fame word life production new quality entertainment

They created a riff everyone knows, a concert format no one had previously presented, and a sound to which countless bands owe a great debt. That gives Deep Purple at least three claims on history. The chugging chord progression of “Smoke on the Water” became so deeply embedded in the culture, it now has the resonance of a Biblical quote. The 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra was the first live release ever to pair a rock band with a full symphony, while Deep Purple’s essential musculature forged the hard-rocking sound that later solidified into heavy metal. “If there were a Mount Rushmore of hard rock, it would have only three heads – Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple,” according to guitarist extraordinaire Tom Morello. “They are the Holy Trinity of hard rock and metal bands.”

Of the three, Deep Purple has the fastest attack. While Zeppelin and Sabbath weighed their music down, to powerful effect, Purple has kept theirs fleet, presaging the pace that later helped define thrash. They further distinguish themselves with a particular mix of classical and proto-metal sounds. Several other groups in the late 60s may have drawn significant inspiration from the classical world, including the Nice, Procol Harum and the Moody Blues. But none of them grounded it in such a fiercely rocking style.

Such assets allowed Purple to progress through a range of incarnations while holding fast to their prime hue. The consistent power of the band’s lineups explains why players from iterations both preceding and following the version that fans know best are being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, the band’s peak lineup – singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice – minted the most indelible works, including In Rock and Machine Head. But every incarnation has held the music to a high standard, anchored by the encompassing drumming of Paice, the sole member to bash with the band from Day One.

That day occurred in 1968, but its roots snaked back to 1967, when Chris Curtis – the former drummer of U.K. band the Searchers – had an idea for a “supergroup” of revolving musicians. It was to be called, aptly enough, Roundabout. Curtis’ first hire was Hammond organ player Jon Lord, a classically trained musician who had worked with the Artwoods (led by Ron Wood’s brother Art). Next he brought in Ritchie Blackmore, a successful session player who performed with the campy Screaming Lord Sutch. When the mercurial Curtis lost interest in the project he conceived, Lord and Blackmore decided to fill out the lineup on their own.

For the bass, Lord brought in Nick Simper, with whom both he and Blackmore had played in the past. Another audition drew a twofer of talent from a band called the Maze: vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice. Both made the cut. (Previously, Lord and Blackmore had asked singer Ian Gillan to audition for the band – an interesting foreshadowing of the band’s future – but he turned them down, believing that his group at the time, Episode Six, had a better chance of breaking through.)

The finalized lineup began rehearsals in March 1968 in Hertfordshire. During those sessions, Blackmore suggested a fresh name: “Deep Purple,” which referenced his grandmother’s favorite song. (The band’s best rejected moniker was Concrete God.) Two months later, the group recorded its debut, Shades of Deep Purple, in just three days, which accounts for four cover songs balancing an equal number of originals. Luckily, the band had a role model for turning other artists’ compositions into vehicles for personal expression in the American group Vanilla Fudge. That U.S. band went gold by larding pop hits from Motown and the Beatles with heavy doses of psychedelia. Purple’s LP was released in America on the Tetragrammaton label, followed by a U.K. release on EMI/Parlophone.

The United States was first to embrace the band, making its cover of the Joe South song “Hush,” burnished by Evans’ commanding vocal, a Top Five hit. Purple’s sonic treatment of “Hush” as well as the Fab Four’s “Help!” was distinguished by a rash of classical quotes and flourishes borrowed from composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravel. Much of the impetus for this came from Lord, balanced by Blackmore’s own feverish leads in the opening instrumental “And the Address” and the funky psychedelia of “Mandrake Root,” a clear homage to Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” Grounding their differing approaches was the holistic drumming of Paice who, at 18, had the voraciousness of Keith Moon, but with far more precision. The album reached Billboard’s Top 25, and the band garnered an opening slot on Cream’s Farewell tour.

Purple’s second LP, The Book of Taliesyn, was released in the U.S. a brisk three months after the band’s debut. It featured three covers, including Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman,” which entered the Top 40. To vary things, the songs ran longer and delved deeper into prog-rock soloing. The original lineup’s first two albums may have been promising, but with their third release, a self-titled effort issued in June 1969, they encountered a creative standoff and a business disaster. Their American label folded, ruining the prospects of any promotion for the disc. At the same time, the ruling body of Lord and Blackmore felt that the harder direction on the album should be pushed exponentially, and sacked Simper and Evans.

Blackmore wanted to replace Evans with the powerhouse vocalist Terry Reid, but when Reid turned him down, the band tapped Ian Gillan – Episode Six, it turned out, had gone nowhere. (Reid, incidentally also rebuffed Jimmy Page, who wanted him as frontman for a little band to be called Led Zeppelin.) This time, Gillan signed on, as did the bassist from Episode Six, Roger Glover. The revamped band began its next phase with a bold twist. Fulfilling a long-held dream, Lord created a symphonic extravaganza to be known as Concerto for Group and Orchestra. In September 1969, Purple recorded that groundbreaking, three-movement work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra live at the Royal Albert Hall. Though, in places, the music seemed less a collaboration than a face-off, the concerto’s most exciting sections proved the connection between the drama of classical music and the impact of rock. The novelty helped heighten the band’s press profile, and gave it its first U.K. chart presence. The album also included a new rock song, “Child in Time,” which would find ideal expression on the band’s next album, the pivotal Deep Purple In Rock (1970).

In Rock presented the first fully focused sound for Purple, with a velocity, density, and skill that formed the blueprint for heavy metal to come. It found a thrilling balance between Blackmore’s flight-of-the-bumblebee leads and Lord’s surging organ solos – an argumentative, call-and-response pattern that established Lord as one of the only rock organists with the power to challenge the primacy of the electric guitar. It was on this album that Gillan perfected a scream that would become one of metal’s defining cri de coeurs; a yowl so hallowed that it inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to cast him in the lead on the original Jesus Christ Superstar recording the same year.

In Rock holds as much value in the annals of metal history as Sabbath’s Paranoid and Zeppelin’s second album, offering the ideal setup for its chaser, Fireball, released one year later. The title track opens the album like a bullet out of a gun. In the style of Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown,” it predicted the racing subgenre that, decades later, became known as speed metal. Still, those albums served as mere test runs for the band’s masterpiece, Machine Head. The 37-minute disc contains not a single slack second, from the opening rallying cry, “Highway Star,” to the final freakout, “Space Truckin.’” With its flickering riffs and pulsing rhythm, “Highway Star” captures the excitement of automated travel, with more wind-in-the-face veracity than any song this side of “Born to Be Wild.” Yet another track would become the band’s most referenced, most revered recording: There isn’t an electric guitarist alive who didn’t cut his or her teeth on the key chords of “Smoke on the Water.” Says Morello: “Only Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony gives it a run for the money as far as recognizability and badassed-ness.”

The song’s lyrics became legendary for telling the story behind the album’s creation. Originally, Purple planned to record Machine Head at the Montreux Casino, “by the Lake Geneva shoreline.” But when “some stupid with a flare gun/ burned the place to the ground,” they had to cut it in a corridor at the nearby Grand Hotel. The adversity intensified their creativity, making the album a commercial colossus upon its 1972 release, spending 118 weeks on the Billboard chart and going Number One internationally. Perhaps no work could properly follow that, but the group did manage some high points on Who Do We Think We Are (1973), especially the catchy single, “Woman From Tokyo.”

More exciting was a live album, Made in Japan, cut in 1972 in Osaka and Tokyo, which showed both the potency of the band in concert and its improvisational skill, evident in a 19-plus minute take on “Space Truckin.’” Despite their creative high, exhaustion from touring and internal tensions caused a potentially ruinous split: Both Gillan and Glover ditched the band in 1973. The defection of the signature singer proved so challenging that the remaining members wound up hiring two vocalists to replace him – the unknown David Coverdale, and ex-Trapeze player Glenn Hughes, who doubled on bass.

In 1974 the recast band released Burn, with a title track that ably underscored its trademark balance of speed and skill. While the album and its followup went gold, the band faced another potentially deadly blow when Blackmore ankled in 1975. They tried to rally by hiring the fleet, jazz-tinged American guitarist Tommy Bolin. But the drug-hampered musician lasted just one album, the funk-influenced Come Taste the Band. Clearly, the spirit had gone out of the group. They finally called it quits in March 1976. Nine months later, Bolin died of an overdose.

It seemed a sad end to a great legacy, but after a 9-year Purple diaspora, its peak lineup reunited in 1984 for the platinum-selling Perfect Strangers. Blackmore would bow out again a decade later, but the remaining core of Gillan, Paice, Lord, and Glover soldiered on with dexterous guitarist Steve Morse and, following the retirement of Lord in 2002, organist Don Airey. In 2012, at 71, Lord died of pancreatic cancer. Still, Purple continues to tour and record, with Gillan’s peacocking voice, Paice’s barreling drums, and Glover’s pumping bass extending a sound that will always epitomize a singular expression of rock’s power.

By Jim Farber

- See more at: http://www.rockhall.com/inductees/deep-purple/bio/#sthash.YWsi2FwJ.dpuf

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

One of the greatest hip hop duos during the golden era – Mobb Deep
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: mobb deep hip hop duo golden era word life production feature weekly blog

As golden age rap suddenly gave way to West Coast gangsta in the early '90s, an East Coast variety of hardcore rap arose in turn, with Mobb Deep initially standing tall as one of New York's hardcore figureheads on the basis of their epochal album The Infamous. Released in April 1995, The Infamous was released almost exactly a year after Illmatic and about a half year after Ready to Die -- the debut masterpieces of Nas and the Notorious B.I.G., respectively, both albums likewise of momentous significance for East Coast hardcore rap. On The Infamous, Mobb Deep (comprised of Prodigy and Havoc) set the tone for future generations of hardcore New York rappers, from G-Unit to Dipset. Subsequent releases from the duo were likewise influential, especially Hell on Earth (1996). However, by the late '90s, Mobb Deep was no longer setting trends; in fact, they seemed to be following them, and they lost some of their stature as subsequent generations of hardcore rappers arose. For a few years, Mobb Deep struggled to reclaim their commercial standing, until they eventually drifted into the G-Unit camp, where they signed a lucrative deal to join 50 Cent and company. Blood Money (2006), Mobb Deep's first release under the G-Unit banner, rekindled interest in the veteran duo, who enjoyed a substantial uptick in sales and airplay.

Juvenile Hell

Prodigy (Albert Johnson, born November 2, 1974) and Havoc (Kejuan Muchita, born May 21, 1974) grew up in Queens, specifically the Queensbridge area, yet met in Manhattan, where both were students at Graphic Arts High School. Their shared love of hip-hop resulted in a natural companionship, and while they were still teens, the two young men had themselves a record deal with 4th & Broadway, a major rap label affiliated with Island Records. In 1993, the label released Juvenile Hell, a confrontational album featuring noteworthy production work by DJ Premier and Large Professor, who both within a year's time would move on to produce the debut of another young Queensbridge rapper, Nas. Not much came of Juvenile Hell, however, and it would be two more years before Mobb Deep would return.

When they did return in 1995, it was on a different label, Loud Records, and with a significantly developed approach. The Infamous featured a mammoth street anthem, "Shook Ones, Pt. 2," but it was a solid album all around, featuring also the in-house production work of Havoc and a couple high-profile features (Nas, Raekwon). The Infamous was more hardcore than its two key stylistic predecessors, Illmatic and Ready to Die; the beats were darker and harder-hitting while the rhymes were downright threatening yet still inventive and crafty. Moreover, there were no crossover hits like "Big Poppa" or "Juicy." In fact, there were no light moments at all. The Infamous was an uncompromising album for the streets, and it was championed as such.

Murda Muzik

A year later, in 1996, Mobb Deep returned with a follow-up, Hell on Earth, which was a little slicker than The Infamous yet still emphasized hardcore motifs. It spawned a couple hit singles that were given appropriately theatrical videos. At this point, hardcore rap was at its peak, with Death Row Records flourishing on the West Coast and a legion of New Yorkers jumping into the scene, following the lead of Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., and Mobb Deep. So when it took over two years for Mobb Deep to return with a new album, Murda Muzik, not released until April 1999, the rap landscape had changed significantly. Mobb Deep now had significant competition, and since Murda Muzik offered few innovations and lacked the spark of the duo's past two albums, it was met with some disappointment. By and large, fans enjoyed it, yet the album didn't appeal beyond the already established fan base, as the album only offered one major hit, "Quiet Storm." The following year, Prodigy released a solo album, H.N.I.C. (2000). It got a lukewarm reception, appealing to the duo's fan base yet spawning no hits.

Infamy

When Mobb Deep resurfaced, in December 2001 with Infamy, they showcased a new willingness to reach beyond their fan base. "Hey Luv" was issued as a single, and it was the first Mobb Deep song to flirt with R&B crossover, or even to mention love, for that matter. The song got some airplay, thanks in part to its hook, which is sung by the R&B act 112, and its video, which played up the song's air of seduction. Nonetheless, Infamy proved to be a relative disappointment commercially, and it seemed like Mobb Deep was beginning to see their popularity erode with each passing year. It didn't help, either, that around this time the duo -- and Prodigy, in particular -- had been attacked by Jay-Z on "Takeover." And too, that Loud Records would go out of business, leaving Mobb Deep without a label deal. For the next few years, from roughly 2002-2005, Prodigy and Havoc tried to regain their footing. There were one-off albums released via various label arrangements -- Free Agents: The Murda Mix Tape (Landspeed, 2003), Amerikaz Nightmare (Jive, 2004), and The Mix Tape Before 9/11 (X-Ray, 2004) -- that made minimal impact. By this point, not even the fan base was all that interested; it had been eroded with each passing year, leaving few faithful.

The Massacre

Then came a surprise announcement that 50 Cent had signed Mobb Deep to his G-Unit family and that an album would be forthcoming. First came a quick remix featuring the latest G-Unit signing, "Outta Control," which supplanted the original version when 50's The Massacre was reissued in 2005 as a CD/DVD. Too, Mobb Deep had become omnipresent on the New York mixtape scene, releasing all kinds of streets-only material in attempt to re-establish themselves. It evidently worked, as Blood Money debuted in the Top Ten of Billboard's album chart and brought more exposure to Mobb Deep than the duo had enjoyed since their late-'90s heyday. Not everyone was convinced by the group's makeover, however, as the G-Unit approach was substantially more polished than the Mobb Deep of The Infamous. Still, Mobb Deep found a new generation of younger listeners -- the large G-Unit market base, in particular -- who were mostly unfamiliar with them. It had been over a decade since The Infamous, after all, and Mobb Deep had been out of the spotlight for years. Then, in early 2008, Prodigy went away to prison to serve a three-year sentence, putting Mobb Deep's future in question.

Artist Biography by Jason Birchmeier

Source: AllMusic

Deep Purple are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock Tags: deep purple ultimate classic rock heavy metal word life production feature blog

Deep Purple shifted halfway through its career from rock with pseudo-classical keyboard flourishes to guitar-dominated heavy metal; in the latter, vastly popular phase, it was listed as loudest rock band by the Guinness Book of World Records. In the wake of a highly publicized regrouping of the classic lineup, Deep Purple has emerged as one of the longest-lived (with a few interruptions) U.K. hard-rock/metal outfits and a showcase for some of the most successful hard-rock stars of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, including guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer David Coverdale.

After woodshedding in Hertfordshire, England, Deep Purple had its first success with an American hit, a version of Joe South's "Hush" (#4, 1968), followed by Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" (#38, 1968). The group's popularity couldn't keep its label, Tetragrammaton, from going under after the band's 1968 tour. In 1969, with a new lineup including Ian Gillan, who had sung in Jesus Christ Superstar, Deep Purple recorded Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, but after it failed to sell, Ritchie Blackmore began to dominate the band. His simple repeated guitar riffs helped make Deep Purple one of the most successful groups of the early '70s, but his personality clashes with other band members, particularly Gillan, precipitated several personnel shifts in between.

In Rock and Fireball attracted attention, and Machine Head made the U.S. Top 10 (#7), thus adding to the band's success in England, Europe, Japan, and Australia. One year after Machine Head was released, "Smoke on the Water" —about the band's near-disastrous Montreux concert with Frank Zappa —became a #4 hit single, and the album returned to the Top 10, eventually selling over 2 million copies. By late 1974, Deep Purple had sold nearly 15 million albums. But the band had begun to fall apart. Gillan left for a solo career in 1973. He released a number of albums in the U.K. In 1975 he formed the Ian Gillan Band and after it dissolved in 1983, joined Black Sabbath. Roger Glover followed Gillan, moving on to session and production work (for Judas Priest, Elf, Nazareth, Ian Gillan, Spencer Davis, Michael Schenker of UFO, Barbi Benton, and Blackmore's Rainbow). Gillan's replacement, David Coverdale, sang on Burn and Stormbringer. He would find greater fame, however, in the '80s with Whitesnake [see entry] and his collaboration with Jimmy Page. Jon Lord recorded a British solo album, Gemini Suite (1974). Blackmore left in 1975 to form Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [see entry]. He was replaced by Tommy Bolin, with whom the group recorded one LP, Come Taste the Band, before announcing its retirement in 1976.

In 1980 a bogus reincarnation of Deep Purple led by original vocalist Evans popped up on the West Coast bar circuit. Blackmore and Glover took legal action to prohibit Evans from using the name. In 1984 they reclaimed the name for themselves, reuniting for their first new LP since 1976, the Top 20, platinum Perfect Strangers, which included "Knocking at Your Back Door." Despite being welcomed warmly by its fans, Deep Purple was plagued by personal tensions, and Gillan again departed in 1989. He pursued a solo career, only to return again for 1994's The Battle Rages On, but left again shortly thereafter.

This biography originally appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

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