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Deep Purple in 20 Songs

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There are very few bands with the pedigree of Deep Purple. Their music has helped to define rock for six decades, with their music going from Prog to Hard rock, to more of an AOR sound during this time. They have produced a string of anthems, classics and even hits on the singles charts in the UK, the US and around the world. But, what if someone asked you to pick 20 songs that would give a non-believer a career retrospective of Deep Purple? It’s not their greatest hits, but a musical autobiography and here are our reasons for picking each track. Originally we picked 19 songs and asked you to tell us what you thought we should add as the 20th track. There were many great suggestions but ultimately ‘Burn’ the title track from the band’s 1974 album.

hush-advertWhere to start Deep Purple in 20 Songs? The band’s debut single of course, the brilliant cover of Joe South’s ‘Hush’, with Jon Lord’s trademark Hammond organ, taken from their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple. What many of you may not know is that in September 1968 ‘Hush’ peaked at #4 on the Billboard chart… in the UK it was not even a hit. Purple’s second single was another cover, this time from the unlikely pen of Neil Diamond, ‘Kentucky Woman’ was included on The Book of Taliesyn that included covers of the Beatles’ ‘We Can Work it Out’ and also, ‘River Deep Mountain High’ – both ‘Kentucky Woman’ and ‘River Deep’ were hits on the Billboard chart, but once again, not in the UK.

Early in 1969, the band recorded ‘Emmaretta’, named after Emmaretta Marks, a cast member of the musical Hair, and it became a single that reached #128 in America. We’ve included a version from the BBC’s Top Gear radio show, on which Deep Purple were regulars and it just proves how well they replicated their recorded sound.

The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then

Deep Purple - Hallelujah (single)In the summer of 1969 Purple released ‘Hallelujah’, their first record on EMI’s new progressive label, Harvest. It made No.108 on the Billboard charts, yet again not enough people in the UK bought it and it failed to chart. It’s classic Prog Rock and shows the influence of both classical music and the thoughtful approach that drove the band’s music at this point in their career. Ritchie Blackmore said at the time, “[We] need to have a commercial record in Britain”, and described the song as “an in-between sort of thing

‘Hallelujah’ was the first record not to feature singer Rod Evans; he was replaced by Ian Gillan, and bass player Nick Simper also left, to be replaced by Roger Glover; both new recruits came from Episode Six, a band with a not dissimilar musical vibe to Deep Purple. The new line up, which of course included Jon Lord, Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice were soon back recording, although it was on a project altogether more ambitious than they, or just about any other band, had tried before.

The Concerto for Group and Orchestra was recorded at The Royal Albert Hall in London on 24 September 1969 and it was a groundbreaking album in so many ways. Composed by Lord it is a tour de force and the third movement featuring Paice’s drum solo is awesome.

Deep Purple Black NightBy June 1970 everything changed for Deep Purple, no longer was there any hint of Prog Rock, they were now fully-fledged hard rockers. The day before Deep Purple In Rock was released, the band put out ‘Black Night’ as a single, yet it’s not included on the album. By 17 October it climbed to No.2 on the UK chart, while the album made No.4 in the UK; ‘Black Night’ could only make No.66 in the US. ‘Child in Time’ is taken from In Rock and both these tracks represent a new kind of Purple, although with Jon Lord’s keyboards to the fore on the latter there is no mistaking their pedigree.

Deep Purple always have been a fantastic live band and their version of ‘Speed King’, originally from In Rock, was recorded for a BBC radio show in February 1970. A year later Purple released ‘Strange Kind of Woman’, it made the UK top 10. The song that became the band’s third UK hit single was also the title of their fifth studio album was the much loved, ‘Fireball’.

‘Fireball’ was released in the summer of 1971 and in March 1972 Deep Purple were back with another classic album, Machine Head. The opening track is another riff-heavy classic ‘Highway Star’. The album was recorded at the Grand Hotel in Montreux Switzerland between 6 – 21 December 1971 using the Rolling Stones Mobile.

Deep-Purple-Smoke-On-The-Water-1973Machine Head also includes what many Deep Purple devotees regard as their finest record, the brilliant ‘Smoke On the Water’ – for many THE greatest rock riff ever. The lyrics of ‘Smoke On The Water’ tell the story of a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert was held in the casino’s theatre on 4 December 1971. Zappa’s keyboard player, Don Preston’s synthesizer caught fire when an audience member fired a flare gun into the ceiling. The resulting conflagration destroyed the casino complex – the song’s title came to Roger Glover in a dream. It’s the stuff of rock legend. The version of ‘Smoke’ is taken from Purple’s classic live recording, Made In Japan, recorded in Osaka on 15 August 1972.

The following year Who Do We Think We Are became the band’s 7th studio album and from it we’ve picked the opening cut, ‘Woman From Tokyo’, a track that was a modest hit in America. In 1974 the band’s line-up changed, with David Coverdale taking over the lead vocals and Glenn Hughes coming in to play bass. The first album for the new band was Burn and we’ve chosen ‘Mistreated’ a Blackmore/Coverdale composition from this LP; it’s a track that shows something of a new direction for the band.
740000 Deep Purple 2
After releasing the album, Stormbringer later in 1974, Ritchie Blackmore moved on to pastures new with Rainbow and Tommy Bolin who had previously been with The James Gang took his place. ‘You Keep On Moving’ from 1975’s Come Taste the Band is, like the previous track, more blues influenced and less riff driven – but there’s no doubting the quality of the band or the track that was written by Coverdale and Hughes.

In early 1976, after Come Taste the Band, Deep Purple split up, it would be 1984 before the Purple name was back up and running, this time with the Lord/Paice/Glover/Blackmore/Gillan line-up and the resulting album, Perfect Strangers, while having 80s synth overtones, is a return to the glory days. ‘Knocking At Your Backdoor’ was released as a single and despite the sexually charged lyrics every FM rock radio station in America played it –and it became a modest hit on the Billboard charts, as well as the band’s last US hit.

The follow-up album came three years later with The House of Blue Light and it includes ‘Call of The Wild’, which has an even more ‘current’ sound to it, very AOR friendly, something that was not necessarily what every Purple fan wanted to hear – it doesn’t in anyway detract from the record which has a classic Purplesque riff.

With former Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse coming in for Blackmore, the new Deep Purple released their second album with their new member in 1998, Abandon included ‘Any Fule Kno That’. By 2003’s Bananas, Jon Lord had left the band he helped found and Don Airey had replaced him. To bring us right up to date we’ve included ‘All the Time In The World’ from 2013’s Now What? It’s Deep Purple’s 19th studio album and while their sound has changed over the years, there’s a sense of them staying true to their roots.

So here they are, 20 Classic Deep Purple tracks that tell the story of their career from the very beginning to their latest album. It’s a great reminder of the heritage of a band that has been one of the mainstays of hard rock, having started out at a time when albums were taking over from the single.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. Ernie Schramayr

    October 14, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Where is Burn????

  2. Juan Luis Cornejo

    October 14, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I miss “Soldier of Fortune” from the Stormbringer album.

  3. Poulpy

    October 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Burn !

  4. KK

    October 14, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    so which 19 again

  5. Ron hooter Dunham

    October 14, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    I vote Anyone’s Daughter from “Fireball

  6. Paolo

    October 14, 2015 at 11:35 pm


  7. Gun

    October 14, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Space trucking

  8. KK

    October 15, 2015 at 12:11 am

    ok i actually bothered to read this. so a couple of thngs re your poor research. mandrake root was the best off shades. wring that neck off the book, wheres bird has flown? then jeez hallelujah was the 1st song gillan did w the band, excl concerto. in rock whole things brill. fireball not to have mule is blasphemy. machine head is amazing start to end. rat bat blue missing from who do we think we are. you ever heard of stormbringer? you keep on moving was a demo originally for burn, so cttb must single out drifter or comin home. wheres perfect strangers, mitzi dupree? you completely tok out the battle ranges on and perpendicular…

  9. K.C. Webber

    October 15, 2015 at 12:23 am

    “Burn” is the biggest omission…I can do without “Mistreated”…also needs “Stormbringer”…get rid of “Halleluiah” and input “”Painter”…”Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” needs to be on the list…”Call of the “Wild” can be scratched…etc.,etc….Hey!…yeah,you list all/most of the hits/single (read…all the OBVIOUS choices)…but I’d go 40 and list songs like “Gypsy’s Kiss”,”Rat Bat Blue”,”Hard Lovin’Man”,”One More Rainy Day” ,”Fools” and many other deserving songs…but,hey…that’s just me..
    Deep Purple been/are my favorite aal-time band for almost 50 years…sooooo…In Rock on !! RockMonster

  10. Kip. Hoops

    October 15, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Where is the Mule. Or Nobodys Fool. Rat bat blue? Or Sail Away

  11. Mp

    October 15, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Pictures of Home

  12. Tibor

    October 15, 2015 at 1:08 am

    When a blind man cries?!

  13. jools

    October 15, 2015 at 1:35 am

    A place in line. – Who do we think we are

  14. Bob in Nashville

    October 15, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Perfect Strangers and When a Blind Man Cries and My Woman From Tokyo.

  15. Don

    October 15, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Lazy??? Must have been played at every concert since 196x.

  16. jonalie

    October 15, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Wring That Neck. This would come to define the musical interplay between ritchie and jon, with little ian paice holding the fort with steady drumming. A direction the band was definitely headed to.

  17. Francisco Nieto

    October 15, 2015 at 2:37 am

    BURN, Lazy, Rat bat Blue,Perfect strangers

  18. Patrick

    October 15, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Hard to choose 20. I like it all, but some standouts that did not make it: Bloodsucker, Fools, Lazy, Space Truckin’ , Perfect Strangers, A Gypsy’s Kiss, The Unwritten Law, Bad Attitude, Bad Attitude, and Bad Attitude.

  19. Brian

    October 15, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Space Truckin’

  20. bluezmam

    October 15, 2015 at 3:20 am

    What about ‘April’… one of their best ever compositions. Why?

  21. Gary Jackson

    October 15, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Perfect strangers , When a Blind Man Cries

  22. April Landis

    October 15, 2015 at 3:56 am

    When a Blind Man Cries, Perfect Strangers,,Sometimes I feel Like Screaming. For starters.

  23. John Main

    October 15, 2015 at 4:40 am

    Burn, Battle Rages On, Lazy, and no one has mentioned Apres Vous. They’re opening this tour with that song and it’s incredible

  24. Barry

    October 15, 2015 at 5:01 am

    What about “April” and “Lalena??”

  25. Valli Chisholm

    October 15, 2015 at 5:45 am

    There has to be Soldier of Fortune, Burn, and when a blind man cries….great songs.

  26. Carl

    October 15, 2015 at 7:03 am

    There are several sons that Tommy Bolin brought along and played live with Purple: “Teaser” could be on the list but I prefer to ad the obscure song “going down” (written and equally brilliantly performed by Freddy King) that Purple brougt live in epic proportion.

    But the live gig that still gives me the shivers is known as “In capable hands”, again played by Tommy. Though I find Blackmore the overall best gitarist ever,… Tommy became my favorite musician while I found out more of his legacy.


    October 15, 2015 at 7:10 am

    BURN !

  28. Gord Wait

    October 15, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Lazy, Perfect Strangers, Soldier of Fortune.

  29. Tom

    October 15, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Interesting but ridiculous, you can’t do DP in 20 songs…

  30. Per boegh

    October 15, 2015 at 8:37 am

    BURN is a milestone!

  31. Per Boegh

    October 15, 2015 at 8:40 am

    And without Any doubt the beatyful , among many, many more:

  32. Lindsay Gamble

    October 15, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Gypsy’s Kiss

  33. André Tanis

    October 15, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I’m proposing PICTURES OF HOME
    Greetings from the Netherlands.

  34. Ketil Thomsen

    October 15, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Space truckin’ from made in Japan best live album ever! From denmark.

  35. Andy MacPhail

    October 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Have to include LAZY; the long version please!!!

  36. Zack

    October 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Burn,Lazy,Place in line,When a blind man crie,In to the fire…

  37. Viktor

    October 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Yes. Burn! And Sail away. A gypsy’s kiss from Perfect strangers.The battle rages on!

  38. Hue Wanner

    October 15, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Lazy, their blues roots…Burn, heavy rock!!!

  39. George Bixby

    October 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Got to be Lazy got to be up there with the best intro’ s.

  40. john dubos

    October 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    How can you leave out Woman From Tokyo and Burn ???

  41. Mike Blank

    October 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    From their newest sound What NOW?! album: All the Time in the World or Vincent Price.

  42. Robert Fenton

    October 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    DP in only 20 songs?? That,s not easy. My vote is for “Super Trouper”

  43. bob

    October 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Lazy, stormbringer

  44. lasmono hadiatmadji

    October 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    soldier of fortune

  45. roy demarais

    October 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    “No One Came”, “Space Truckin'”, “Super Trouper”, “Rat Bat Blue”, “Pictures of Home”, Never Before, “No No No”….all my favorites, NONE included…exactly what I expected.

  46. roy demarais

    October 15, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    …and my comment’s not included, either, of course…just what I expected, again.

  47. Frank

    October 15, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    To explain DP in 20 tracks is impossible. How about a 50 track triple album? Must Must Must include LAZY. I must also agree totally with CARL, Blackmore is perfection on strings, any strings, could imagine a riff on a harp.

  48. Dusan

    October 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    soldier of fortune, LAZY

  49. Scott

    October 15, 2015 at 9:22 pm


  50. stefano

    October 15, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    painted horse?

  51. stefano

    October 15, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    painted horse?

  52. Torsten

    October 15, 2015 at 9:45 pm


  53. Oaksey

    October 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Flight of the rat

  54. ianminch

    October 15, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    OK, I propose the following rule for the 20th song – nothing already released on Deepest Purple or 24 Carat – fair?

    If we’re charting the history of the band we need something from JLT whether we love the album or not. Actually there are a few decent cuts from that record – I go with one of Blackmore’s most underrated riffs: The Cut Runs Deep.

  55. Dodger

    October 16, 2015 at 12:49 am

    lazy.made in japan.

  56. Ralph

    October 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Burn and Soldier Of Fortune

  57. P-A

    October 16, 2015 at 11:14 am


  58. Mick B

    October 31, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    It’s always the same when someone compiles a list…..people get angry and disagree.
    If we all picked 20 songs not many lists would be the same.
    Don’t panic Mr Mainwareing \m/

  59. hindrawab

    November 25, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Machine Head

  60. hindrawan

    November 25, 2015 at 2:19 am

    Deep Purple In Rock

  61. El tarado de Pulp Fiction

    December 31, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Are you kidding?
    WHERE IS “LAZY”????????????

  62. Michael

    December 31, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    “Knocking at your back door” ? Whaaaaa? Beats out Lazy ? Anya ? Slaves and Masters is one of my favourite albums by DP. So if you are telling the “story” of DP, its one of the chapters, and The Cut Runs Deep has to make the list.

  63. Philip marshall

    March 1, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Hey sisco perfect strangers fools blood sucker

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