When it comes to innovative and pioneering bands in music history, it’s impossible to discuss the topic without mentioning Deep Purple. Modern hard rock and heavy metal wouldn’t have been what they are today if it wasn’t for this band’s music catalog.
That’s why to honor their legacy and work, in this article we’ll go through a few fun facts about Deep Purple.
If you are interested in the band’s history, then stick around after the Deep Purple facts section. We’ll dig deeper into the band’s formation years, lineup changes, discography, and expand on some of the facts.
10 Fun Facts About Deep Purple
1. Held the record for World’s Loudest Band
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the sound during Deep Purple‘s 1972 concert at the London Rainbow Theatre reached an impressive 117 dB. It was so loud that three fans in the audience fell unconscious from the noise.
The record stood still until 1976 when fellow English rock band The Who broke it. Afterward, it was broken on several more occasions by heavy metal bands like Motorhead and Manowar. However, the current world record holders are Kiss who reached a 136 dB noise level during a concert in Canada in 2009.
2. Deep Purple wasn’t the original name of the band
When the band was formed in 1968 it went under the name of Roundabout. They kept that name until their Scandinavian tour when the bandmembers began brainstorming new names, and Ritchie Blackmore suggested Deep Purple.
However, many fans have wondered what does Deep Purple stand for? The answer is simple. The name was inspired by an eponymous 1933 song composed by Peter DeRose which was the favorite tune of Blackmore‘s grandmother.
3. Deep Purple was formed as a Psychedelic & Progressive Rock Band
While this Deep Purple fact may not come as a surprise to older fans of the band who are familiar with their entire music catalog, it may amaze newer fans.
The first three studio albums the band released ‘Shades of Deep Purple’, ‘The Book of Taliesyn’, and ‘Deep Purple’ were mostly psychedelic and progressive rock albums.
It wasn’t until their breakthrough fourth studio album ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ that they embraced the harder sound which later paved the path for many heavy metal bands.
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4. “Smoke on the Water” wasn’t supposed to be a hit song
Obviously, artists can’t predict how will their music be received by the public. But generally, there are still songs that clearly stand out from the rest even during the recording period when there’s no big audience feedback. That’s why some songs are released as singles even before the album comes out after all.
Well, in the case of ‘Smoke on the Water’, the band didn’t expect the song to be a hit at all. They didn’t even release it as a single at first. It was only a year after the release of their sixth studio album ‘Machine Head’ that they decided to release it as a single. The song peaked at No.4 in the US and No.2 in Canada in 1973.
5. “Smoke on the Water” was inspired by a real-life fire the band witnessed
Another interesting fact about Deep Purple‘s biggest hit is that the song was inspired by a fire that broke out in the theatre of the Montreux Casino complex located on the shoreline of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
The event is well described in the song’s lyrics, but apparently many newer and younger fans aren’t aware that it actually happened.
The fire broke out during a Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention concert at the venue when a fan in the audience fired a flare gun and the ceiling caught on fire. The whole complex was destroyed but luckily no one lost their life.
Meanwhile, Deep Purple bandmembers were accommodated in a nearby hotel from where they watched the whole complex burn down. The combination of Lake Geneva and the smoke gave birth to one of the most iconic songs in rock music history.
6. Sold over 100 million records worldwide
The title of this Deep Purple fact is already self-explanatory. But yes, the heavy metal pioneers have sold over 100 million records worldwide. This makes them one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Top 5 best-selling Deep Purple albums:
- Machine Head (1972)
- Made In Japan (1972)
- Perfect Strangers (1984)
- Deepest Purple (1980)
- Deep Purple in Rock (1970)
7. Ian Paice is the only founding member that never left the band
Deep Purple was formed in 1968 by Ian Paice, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Rod Evans, and Nick Simper.
The band has undergone multiple line-up changes through the years, but it always stayed a 5-man show. Nineteen official and touring members came and went through the decades but one constant stayed unchanged – Ian Paice.
He is considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, and as of June 2022, aged 74, he still tours and plays with Deep Purple.
8. Part of the “Unholy Trinity”
Alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple is also responsible for revolutionizing the rock genre and taking it to a new level unseen before.
These three British bands have been named the “unholy trinity” for their influence on the hard rock and heavy metal genres in the 1970s.
9. Never Scored a No.1 Album or Single in the US
For some reason, Deep Purple‘s music never fared as well in the United States as it did in the rest of the world, especially in Europe.
Their breakthrough album ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ which became a chart-topper in several European countries and Australia, didn’t even make the Top 100 on the US Billboard 200 chart. Similar story for the rest of their catalog.
Deep Purple‘s best charting albums in the US are ‘Machine Head’ which peaked at No.7 and ‘Burn’ which reached No.9. Out of the 22 studio albums they have released, only seven have made it to the Top 30.
When it comes to the singles, there isn’t much to be said either. Their best charting singles are ‘Hush’ and ‘Smoke on the Water’, both peaking at No.4 on the US Billboard Ho 100 chart.
10. Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
To complete our list of 10 facts about Deep Purple we have a slightly controversial topic. Why? Because the HoF is notorious for snubbing music acts that dare to push the boundaries.
Deep Purple was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. However, they were eligible for induction since 1993! The band was nominated twice in 2012 & 2013, and despite ranking second on the fan’s ballot with over half a million votes, the Rock Hall committee snubbed them
Many would rightfully argue that the induction should have happened years, if not decades ago. There aren’t many bands or artists that have revolutionized whole genres and we need to cherish them, not ostracize them.
Deep Purple – A Short History
As mentioned in the facts about Deep Purple section, the band was formed in early 1968 in London by Ian Paice, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Rod Evans, and Nick Simper.
They started as a psychedelic and progressive rock band that loved to explore and innovate. These traits encouraged them to look into different styles and as a result, they began playing louder and heavier music.
Their fourth studio album ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ is a prime example of this. The album laid the foundation for the heavy metal and hard rock genres.
Their work has influenced and inspired the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Queen, Def Leppard, Motorhead, Van Halen, Judas Priest, and many other big names in the industry.
In the second Deep Purple fact, it was briefly mentioned that the original name of the band was Roundabout. However, the origin of the name wasn’t explained.
Namely, singer and drummer Chris Curtis had the idea of forming a supergroup where the bandmembers would constantly come and go like a musical roundabout. He presented this concept to a local company called HEC, hoping they would fund his idea. Luckily for him, they did like the idea.
Chris then started recruiting people for the band, with the first one being Jon Lord, his roommate. Lord recommended Nick Simper with whom he played in a band, Nick was friends with Ritchie Blackmore, and thus, they were four.
In the meantime, the founder of the band Chris had drug issues and lost interest in the project, so he was kicked out by HEC. That’s when Jon, Nick, and Ritchie began to audition musicians to complete the lineup. They were the most impressed with Rod Evans and Ian Paice.
Shortly afterward during their Scandinavian tour, they changed the band’s name to Deep Purple.
Lineup Changes & Discography
Deep Purple had multiple lineup changes through the years and these lineups are referred to as Mark or Mk I, IIa, III, IV, IIb, V, IIc, VII, VIII.
The first four lineups mark the period between 1968 and 1976 before they disbanded and went on hiatus for eight years. The Mk V – VIII period begins with the reunion in 1984 and follows the lineups to the present day.
Deep Purple‘s most successful lineup is Mk II which features Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. They have reunited on three occasions, hence the a, b & c next to the II.
All lineups in total have released an impressive 22 studio albums, 45 live albums, 28 compilation albums, and 15 video albums.
That was it for the Deep Purple facts. Hopefully, this was informative and we didn’t miss anything important. Keep on rocking!
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