deep purple features

DEEP PURPLE Mk3, May 1974 - April 1975
May 1974 .... June 1974 .... July 1974 .... Auguat 1974 .... September 1974 .... October 1974
November 1974 .... December 1974 .... January 1975 .... February 1975 .... March 1975 .... April 1975 .... (on to Deep Purple Mk4 chronology)

MAY 1974: In May Deep Purple were on tour in England and Wales (having played Scotland the previous month), for the first (and last) time with the new Mk 3 line-up, singer David Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes having replaced Gillan and Glover.

The shows were tremendous, with Blackmore, having gained more control over the musical direction, in particularly awesome form - effortlessly ranging from quiet blues to hard riffing. Although following Mk 2 wasn't an easy task, the band pulled it off and while some people missed the older material, few could deny the new set - already honed by a big American tour - was extremely powerful.

Deep Purple press cutting 1974The band played the larger theatres and town halls right across the country, with a set list firmly based around the new Burn album issued just three months before. Only "Smoke" and a lengthy much revamped "Space Truckin'" remained from Mk 2 days, with "Highway Star" as part of the encore. London did well, with three shows at different venues; Hammersmith Odeon, Lewisham Odeon and the Gaumont in Kilburn. This last show was recorded officially and broadcast by the BBC (and later issued on vinyl as "Live In London"). The opening number "Burn" at Hammersmith was also filmed. The tour, which was supported by Ronnie Dio's band Elf, ended in Coventry on the 28th.

May 1974 links:
1974 UK tour PosterLive In London illustrated discographyMk3 UK tour photo gallery Mk3 live in Manchester & Sheffield, May 1974Ritchie Blackmore live in Manchester, May 1974Live In London remaster feature1974 UK tour tickets galleryDeep Purple A-Z, Kilburn State GaumontDeep Purple 'History, Hits & Highlights' DVD reviews

Deep Purple, UK tour 1974

Ritchie Blackmore 1974

Left : UK press cutting, 1974.

Top: Manchester, 15th May 1974

Above: Hammersmith Odeon, 8th May 1974, stills from a film shot as part of a Leeds Polytechnic student project, the only known surviving footage from Mk 3's UK tour. Now availabla on the 'History, Hits & Highlights' DVD.

JUNE 1974: June was a relatively quiet month for Deep Purple. They'd originally been booked for two weeks proper holiday followed by some writing time prior to starting rehearsals for the next studio album the month after.

Deep Purple, Southend 1974Jon Lord was scheduled to perform a concert in Munich on June 1st; a mixture of a revamped section from the "Gemini Suite", and some new material composed jointly with conductor Eberhard Schoener. They'd been asked to write the works by German TV, who were staging a four day festival of music by young composers. Various guests included Tony Ashton, as well as Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. The performance was filmed and recorded. The live album of Windows was subsequently issued on Purple Records.

The film was aired in Europe but has never been released (although the original tape has recently been found).

Gig wise Deep Purple did one live show, back in Britain at the Southend Kursaal Ballroom, on the 27th. They were not keen to play the show as it broke into their break, but they'd been planning to include the town on their April/May UK tour and had to cancel (with lots of fans not finding out until the day of the show), so management insisted on the gig going ahead. Perhaps it was they who hired the naked female dancer to liven up the end of the show?!

June 1974 links: Deep Purple A-Z, Kursaal BallroomJon Lord, Windows album remaster (Purple Records)Jon Lord, Windows. Illustrated discographyDeep Purple Mk3 family tree

Deep Purple, Southend 1974

Jon Lord - Windows

Above: Jon Lord Windows, the original album cover. Top and Left: Deep Purple performing live in Southend Kursaal Ballroom, 27th June 1974.

JULY 1974: Although Burn had only been out a couple of months, Deep Purple spent most of July back at Clearwell Castle (where they'd rehearsed the previous year), getting ideas together, jamming and writing material for the second Mk 3 album. The group were under some pressure, as the studio had already been booked for the following month, although Jon Lord hinted that if they were not happy with the results, they'd book some further studio time later on.

Deep Purple 1974Despite the pressure, Jon Lord told Sounds that the sessions had gone well, so well that he speculated the band had come up with enough ideas for a double album. He also mentioned that they'd discussed the idea of playing some budget priced UK shows to try the new numbers out, charging fans just 50p a ticket to attend. Sadly, neither plan came to fruition.

The band had just one major gig booked towards the end of the month, an outdoor festival in Italy as one of the headline acts at the Rimini festival, held at the Santa Monica race track.

Away from the band, EMI released Jon Lord's Windows album at the end of the month, barely eight weeks after it had been recorded.

Left: Deep Purple rehearsing at Clearwell Castle, July 1974.

Jon Lord, Windows press cuting

AUGUST 1974: Deep Purple journeyed to Munich to record their new album on August 1st at the Musicland Studio. They had a three week slot booked, after which they headed out back to America for a handful of big stadium shows, set up following the success of The California Jam. They headlined in Florida, Kansas and Houston. Once more Jon Lord was happy to chat about the recordings, which he admitted were a change of direction. "At least half the songs we've written are not the sort of things you'd expect for Deep Purple."

Deep Purple gig advert 1974Although it wasn't known until much later, the sessions had in fact seen some musical conflicts, with Blackmore uncomfortable at some of the new material, and surprised to have had some of his own ideas rejected. Both Hughes and Coverdale had begun to settle in and felt able to push their own contributions further than they had on Burn.

The album was for the time being given the working title of Silence. Meanwhile Jon Lord was able to announce the completion of the Ashton / Lord album at long last, as well as two all-star concerts to promote it.

Deep Purple ticket, Houston 1974
"Here is a ticket stub for the Houston Astrodome show on August 30th 1974. It looks like a generic Astros (local baseball team) ticket that the Astrodome printed up back then. But the date is on there.

"Not sure if you know this but only a few hundred floor tickets were sold because they only had a small square of chairs in the middle of the floor. People were honoring the empty space for the most part until DP came out and then the stands emptied out unto the floor. I'm guessing that's way some of those pictures of that tour show half empty stands. I'm not sure about other arenas, but I bet some of them could have had similar seating situations. I'm not sure if the Astrodome was sold out but it was close, it was packed." Steve Steele

August 1974 links: Stormbringer reissue feature

Deep Purple - Silence

Above: unused artwork concept for 'Silence'

Stormbringer tape box
Original Stormbringer tape box from August 1974

SEPTEMBER 1974: The band had a break at the start of September, but Jon Lord was kept busy with the First Of The Big Bands album, which had reached the shops in August.

Ashton & Lord single, 1974This was a joint project with Tony Ashton, begun as far back as 1971, but had taken ages to finish as they were both busy touring. Jon couldn't spare the time to tour the album, but they decided to do two all-star concerts to promote it, and these were staged at the London Palladium on the 15th (an early and late evening performance), with Ian Paice helping out. The same cast also did a BBC In Concert recording, and Jon did several interviews with the music press to promote the Ashton / Lord album and his live Windows LP.

With that out of the way, Deep Purple slotted in around half a dozen shows in Germany (supported by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) as they'd only been able to fit in three gigs there at the start of the year. There was some serious crowd trouble at the Bremen gig where the hall was far too small to accommodate the number of fans who wanted to attend. The last date was in Switzerland, and this would be the band's final European show of the year.

Above: Ashton / Lord picture sleeve single, 1974. Right: Deep Purple concert ticket, September 1974

September 1974 links: Tony Ashton and Jon Lord 'First Of The Big Bands' download (Purple Records website) • Jon Lord 'Windows' remastered is available from the dpas online store.

deep purple ticket, 1974

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 1974: October was that rare beast, a four week break for the band. While they rested, EMI were mastering the new studio album and preparing a quad mix for America.

"Stormbringer" was released in November, the first time the band had issued two studio albums so closely together since Mk 1 started. The astonishing Philadelphia soul vibe which permeated some of the tracks was a real surprise but otherwise the bluesy Mk 3 sound developed on "Burn" continued. The album did not sell quite as well as the first Mk 3 album and got mixed reviews.

The band began touring again half way through November, with five weeks of American shows which would take them up to Christmas. They were supported by ELO and Elf and Deep Purple once again travelled via the Starship. The shows retained most of the previous set but added the album title track and "The Gypsy".

October / November 1974 links: Stormbringer, illustrated discography • Deep Purple 'Stormbringer' remastered is available from the dpas online store.

Stormbringer flyer

Deep Purple, Stormbringer flyer

DECEMBER 1974: The American tour, which had begun at the end of November, rolled on through December, taking in more large Arena-sized venues.

It was during a break in the itinery that Blackmore dropped into a studio to record a couple of tracks for a solo single. The band were supported on the tour by ELO and Elf, and Ritchie used (amongst others) Elf singer Ronnie Dio, and ELO man Hugh McDowell for the session. This went so well that Ritchie began to plan an album, and when the tour ended on the 18th, he remained in the States writing with Ronnie.

For the moment the album didn't raise any worries within the band; both Coverdale and Hughes were also openly talking about solo projects for the near future.

Right: Ritchie Blackmore. USA, late 1974
Ritchie Blackmore. USA, late 1974

JANUARY 1975: If 1974 had been perhaps Deep Purple's most successful year ever on many levels, 1975 couldn't have been more different.

Sunbury advert 1975Things got off to a bad start when a massive one-off at an Australian festival at Sunbury (near Melbourne) turned sour, partly due to it pouring with rain, and also after disagreements amongst the bigger bands, and many smaller local outfits not getting paid. It got the band acres of bad press in the country's music press. It was Purple's only live appearance that month.

It is still impossible to say if the show was filmed or recorded properly. Permission was refused, but at least one radio station DJ hinted that they'd tape it on the quiet anyway. Subsequent radio broadcasts did not include live music from Deep Purple's set, but did use song intros from the show - leading into studio versions of the tracks. A poor cassette claims to be from the mixer desk, but the quality varies a lot. Short clips of film have also been shown in Australia, but these are poor quality so may be from super 8 reels.

Left: Advert for Sunbury 75 festival. Right: David Coverdale, Sunbury 1975

David Coverdale, Sunbury Festival 1975

David Coverdale. Sunbury, 1975


FEBRUARY 1975: During February, Blackmore finally went into the studios in Germany to record his solo album. Although still seen as a side-project by most people, it seems clear that Ritchie had already given thought to using it to launch a new career if the recording went well.

Rainbow Bar & Grill matchbookIt was due to be finished well in time for Deep Purple to regroup the following month for a European tour. As well as Dio, Blackmore 'borrowed' Dio's band Elf to provide the backing band throughout.

It was during a break in the itinery that Blackmore dropped into a studio to record a couple of tracks for a solo single. The band were supported on the tour by ELO and Elf, and Ritchie used (amongst others) Elf singer Ronnie Dio, and ELO man Hugh McDowell for the session. This went so well that Ritchie began to plan an album, and when the tour ended on the 18th, he remained in the States writing with Ronnie.

For the moment the album didn't raise any worries within the band; both Coverdale and Hughes were also openly talking about solo projects for the near future.

Left: A matchbook from the Rainbow bar & grill, the place which inspired the name Rainbow

February 1975 links: Rainbow family tree Elf & Rainbow group shots, 1974-77 • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow' is available from the dpas online store.

Above: Elf, 1975 : Edwards, Lee-Soule, Gruber, Dio, Nauseef and Driscoll.
Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie and Ritchie recording in Munich, February 1975

MARCH 1975saw Deep Purple Mk 3 - who had, apart from one show in Australia, been off the road since December the previous year, reconvene for a tour of Europe to help promote Stormbringer.

Meanwhile Blackmore spent the first two weeks of March finishing off his first Rainbow album in Munich, working up to the wire. The band assembled in Belgrade on the 15th, and in press interviews, everyone seemed positive about the future - with talk of solo albums and the next Purple album high on the agenda. They did just one rehearsal, brushing up the set they had done in America, which included the three new songs from Stormbringer (the title track, Lady Double Dealer, and The Gypsy).

The tour opened in Yugoslavia, then still an Eastern bloc country, with local police providing "security" at the shows. From there it was back to Scandinavia (with Elf supporting, though in Gothenburg the opening act was a Swedish group called (and led by) John Holm) and then into Germany. It was clear to some of the band members that Ritchie's mind was elsewhere. In fact he'd already told the managers that he was leaving. Finally he broke the news to the others at the end of the month. He was leaving to start a new group to promote what they had originally understood to be a solo album, but had agreed to allow the recording of a live album on the tour.

March 1975 links: Deep Purple Mk3 family tree Deep Purple Mk3 live in 1974-75, photo galleryDeep Purple in Belgrade feature

Ritchie Blackmore, March 1975

APRIL 1975: Feelings in the group soured over Ritchie's decision, especially as it meant cancelling plans to record the next studio album at the end of the month, and word quickly leaked out to the press. Nobody was quite sure what would happen next, although Lord - who seems to have taken Ritchie's news badly - began telling reporters the band was over.

Meanwhile the Rolling Stones mobile was driven over and set up in time to record the first show of the month in Graz, Austria. The next - and last- two shows in Germany and France were also recorded (and, carefully edited, would later see release on the album Made In Europe - with the last show being issued in full years later on Live In Paris). By the Paris show all the reporters knew Ritchie was leaving, although no official statement had as yet been given to the paper. David Coverdale came to the stage at the end of the Paris gig and said farewell.

The tour over, the band's press office in London issued a bland statement (published on April 12) which simply said the group were now taking a three month break so that they could all work on solo projects. The statement went on to say that this break should not be taken as an impending split. Between the Paris show and this press release, everyone had agreed to look at finding a new guitarist so they could keep the group going. Meanwhile across the world in America, a young guitarist by the name of Tommy Bolin was offered his first solo contract.

April 1975 links: Live In Paris 1975 album reviewLive In Paris 1975, Mk3 The Last Concerts & Made In Europe illustrrated discographies • Deep Purple magazine covers, European Tour 1975 • Live In Paris 1975, Mk3 The Last Concerts & Made In Europe are all available from the dpas online store.

Ritchie Blackmore, Paris 1975