Deep Purple was formed in Hertford, England, in 1968 and has been recording albums for almost seven decades. Moreover, they’ve been touring nearly that long with only short breaks. Many people call them the hardest working band in the music industry, and it’s easy to see why. The English Band is part of the elite group of classic rock singers, including Black Sabbath, Cream, and Led Zeppelin. However, there is one thing that sets them apart; their music style is constantly evolving. Even though they have had several lineup changes over the years, the band continues to put out hits, even reuniting at Royal Albert Hall in 2014 for a tribute concert. The date marked the 45th anniversary of Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra. These are ten of the best Deep Purple Songs.
10. Kentucky Woman
Neil Diamond originally recorded this song. His version peaked at number 22. Deep Purples’ version was considered the first heavy metal song. It also set a precedent for covering songs with their twist. Initially, the song was a B-side. Many of their early releases, including this song, had issues because their record label Tetragrammaton was eager for the band to rise to fame.
9. Strange Kind of Woman
There are many different interpretations of this song. Ian Gillan once said that it was about one of his friends who pursued a plain Jane. Even though she didn’t like him, they were married. Tragically, she died three days later. Another story was that it was a prostitute who was trying to leave her job. Even though we may never know the true meaning of this song, the band wrote it because their record label wanted them to record a new hit.
This song is one of the most heavily covered Deep Purple songs. Billy Royal was the first artist to record this song. However, like many other songs, Deep Purple added many hard rock influences when they recorded it. A well-known session songwriter, Joe South, wrote this song whose inspiration was taken from an African American Spiritual. Deep Purple’s version was used in several movies, including Apollo 11 and Children of Men.
7. Child in Time
This song was part of the catalog of Vietnam protest songs, an impressive 10 minutes long. According to society of rock, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich talked about Deep Purple’s influences on his career. His father took him to one of their concerts, and it changed his life. When asked about Child in Time, he said, “This is their most iconic moment. “I’ve heard it 92,000 times, and it never sounds anything less than great.”
6. Space Truckin,
The album Machine Head was a concept album complete Deep Purple’s signature hard rock guitars. The Batman theme song inspired the lyrics for this song. According to song facts, Ian Gillan said that nothing in the music means what you think; it’s just clever wordplay. Although the studio version is less than 5 minutes long, Deep Purple’s live performances could last upwards of 20 minutes.
Many of the group’s songs are about women, including this one. One difference in this song is that she is from space. Even though the first thing you hear on the album sounds like a fireball in outer space, it was the sound of an air conditioner, happening when Mike Thorne and Martin Birch were engineering the song. Members of the group suggested using a machine starting up. However, they couldn’t decide on one that would work. The band preferred to tell people a magic synthesizer made it.
4. Speed King
Deep Purple assembled pieces from many rock and roll icons who paved the way to their stardom. Some of the influences were Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Chuck Berry. The first verse starts with a few lines from Good Golly Miss Molly, Tutti Frutti, and Lucille. In the second verse, they use a few pieces of Elvis’s song Hard Headed WWoman. Later in their career, they named one of their albums The House of Blue Light after a Good Golly Miss Molly verse.
3. Highway Star
This song replaced Speed King as the group’s opening song. It was written in one evening and performed the same night. Highway Star was a song that built the early foundations for speed metal, inspiring groups like Metallica and Motorhead. Creating this song filled a simpler need; they were tired of their previous opening act song. According to urban myth, this song was responsible for many speeding tickets.
2. Perfect Strangers
When the group returned to the studio after a breakup, they recorded this song. When they returned, it was the Mark II lineup of Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, and Ian Gillan. Ian Paice and Jon Lord were the only carryovers from their last album, Come Taste The Band. When the group reunited, none of the members felt happy with the others and weren’t ready to get over everything. However, they came together feeling that they were, as the title suggests, perfect strangers.
1. Smoke on the Water
According to louder sound, Smoke On The Water has one of the most well-known stories in the chronicles of rock history. Ritchie Blackmore’s famous guitar riff is Beethoven’s fifth symphony played backward. In a 2007 interview, he said, “That’s how I came up with it. It’s an interpretation of inversion. You turn it back and play it back and forth; it’s actually Beethoven’s fifth. So I owe him a lot of money.”
Additionally, the famous riff drew from medieval influences since it was recorded in fourths. Another piece to the historic song is the opening inspiration. The band was at a casino in Montreux, Switzerland, when someone set the building on fire with a flare gun during a Frank Zappa concert. In the aftermath, the building burned to the ground. The group had nowhere to record, so they relocated to a nearby theatre. Later that afternoon, recording began, and the release of their famous album Machine Head and this song, one of their most well-known.