8. Perfect Strangers album
Nowadays band reunions are so commonplace it’s as if none of the great groups of yesteryear ever broke up in the first place. Back in the good old days of 1984 however, the reconvening of Deep Purple’s classic Mk II lineup made riff lovers rejoice. Fresh off his short stint with Black Sabbath, singer Ian Gillin briefly buried the hatchet with Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of the group gathered around a new set of classic tunes that resulted in a platinum-selling album and lucrative tour.
7. Deep Purple’s Academy of Excellent Guitarists
With his lightning fast medieval runs and mercurial temper, Ritchie Blackmore is one of the wizards of heavy metal guitar. From 1968 to 1975 his unique and memorable riffs powered the Purple and inspired generations of shredders before leaving to form the equally influential Rainbow. His replacement was the similarly fleet-fingered Tommy Bolin whose career was sadly cut short by a drug overdose in 1976. Blackmore was part of the band’s 1984 reunion but lingering tensions led to his departure in 1993 and replacement first by Joe Satriani and then current guitarist Steve Morse, both of whom rank among the 6-string elite.
6. California Jam & The Arrival of Deep Purple Mark III
When paint-peeling vocalist Ian Gillan left left Deep Purple in 1973 it took 2 singers to fill his shoes, lion-maned future-Whitesnake singer David Coverdale and shrieking bassist Glenn Hughes, late of Black Country Communion. Their weaving lead vocals were an essential part of DP Mk III records such as Burn and Stormbringer. Their live trial-by-fire baptism came in front of 250,000 rabid fans at the televised California Jam where they headlined over Black Sabbath and The Eagles in one of the biggest stateside music festivals since Woodstock.
5. Jon Lord Plugs His Organ Into a Marshall Stack
By the time he joined the embryonic Deep Purple, keyboardist Jon Lord was already a veteran of hard hitting Brit beat combos like The Artwoods and Santa Barbara Machine Head. His virtuosic and aggressive organ playing was always at the forefront of the group’s sound but when he plugged his Hammond C3 into a Marshall stack, usually the preferred amplifier for guitarists, things really started to fly. Much of the band’s heaviness is the result of his distorted lines doubling up Ritchie Blackmore’s Stratocaster riffs and live the two would trade licks spurring each other on to new heights of hard rock instrumentation.