I had a request or two to post my playlist for Deep Purple. As it has been known, I tend to want to do these things the RIGHT WAY, which means to cover all eras and all albums. My Deep Purple list is similar to the list I did for Ronnie James Dio’s career here recently. This covers all the studio albums with Deep Purple, as there’s good tracks on all of them. However, unlike some other playlists, they’re all mixed up. It’s not in chronological order. I like the mix of this playlist. I also didn’t want to post just the list of song names without saying something, but I’m not going to go nuts with descriptions on this one, as the Dio article took me a few weeks to write. :) But for the curious, here’s my Deep Purple playlist. Let me know what you think.
Before I start, I want to make one overall comment about Deep Purple. They’re a band I like right up there with Black Sabbath. Purple has the same kind of issues that Sabbath did over the years – a constantly sliding lineup. There’s been a ton of combinations, various changes, and different styles. Although with Deep Purple, the one constant is Ian Paice, the drummer – the only guy to have been there for all of it. To me, there are three “essential” Deep Purple records.. They are:
- Machine Head – This is it. Their best album. It came early in their career (comparatively speaking). So much on this album is great. I’m personally a fan of the track Lazy, as it hasn’t been overplayed to death. This album’s reach extends very far – a lot of my Christian friends who wouldn’t touch rock music know Smoke on the Water. :)
- Perfect Strangers – I got into Purple when they were defunct (the 1980 bogus version notwithstanding), so this was the first “new” album they put out, even though it cost me the Born Again lineup of Black Sabbath. I was determined not to like Perfect Strangers for that reason, but it was too f’in good. It’s stellar. There’s very little not to like on this album.
- Purpendicular – The first studio album with Steve Morse in the 90’s. This album shows that Deep Purple was not just a novelty act whose best days were behind them. They were determined to show they still had it. I think that’s why Ted The Mechanic was chosen to lead off the album.
To me, if you call yourself a Deep Purple fan, and don’t have these three albums (and like them), you’re doing it wrong.
Having said all that, here’s my playlist:
1) “Hush” (1968)
From the second Deep Purple album, in an era when they had a lot of covers, comes this song. If Smoke on the Water was never written, this might be their most well known song of all time. Not actually their song, it’s a cover of a Billie Joe Royal song. Details on that are on Wikipedia.
2) MTV (2005)
From the Rapture of the Deep album. This is a song I liked mostly for the lyrical content. The music is nothing terribly special, but the attack on classic rock radio and MTV in particular are quite amusing. I especially love the line that says “Mr. Grover & Mr. Gillian I bet you made a million when Frank Zappa caught on fire”. :)
3) Highway Star (1972)
From the Machine Head Album. It’s the leadoff song. One of their most well known songs. I especially love that “live” version which is a pseudo-music video. Ian is obviously under some sort of influence as the lyrics get changed a lot (“Steve McQueen and all that…”). A friend of mine also put the idea in my head to have this song with me on a CD whenever I buy a new car (or at least new to me). This song has been playing in the car stereo whenever I dove my last two cars off the lot. :)
4) Nobody’s Home (1984)
From the reunion album, Perfect Strangers. I guess I kind of like this because it’s the compact fast song. It’s not as memorable as say Perfect Strangers or Knocking on Your Back Door from this same album, but I always liked the riffing here, even if it’s on the simple side.
5) Chasing Shadows (1969)
From the third and final album from the Rod Evans era, this track led off the third album, and was one I always wish they’d dig out and try these days. It’s got a great vibe. A lot of what makes this song work for me comes from Rod’s voice. The music sounds like it would fit well on the In Rock album. A lost classic – a lot of people tend to dismiss the Rod Evans era out of hand except for Hush, which is a shame. There’s some good stuff in that era, this is one of them.
6) Any Fule Kno That (1998)
When Deep Purple relaunched themselves with Purpendicular in 1996, I was so looking forward to the followup release, and that was 1998’s “Abandon” – “A Band On” – get it? Sadly, I didn’t feel the album followed that. I was very disappointed with this album overall. However, this was the one track I really liked from the album. It was an easy choice to include here, and is the only choice from that album. It has a nice mix of sounds – has the Jon Lord keyboard sound as well as the guitar sound of Morse, which is much different in style than Ritchie.
7) Comin’ Home (1975)
From the lone album done without Ritchie Blackmore in the classic era. Tommy Bolin was on guitar. When I first heard about this, I dismissed the album out of hand. I didn’t want “THAT”. Stupid move, as it’s a deceptive album. Now, I’m not gonna claim it’s as good as Machine Head – it’s not. But it’s got some good stuff, if you open your mind to liking it without Ritchie. Comin’ Home is a classic track. Has that Coverdale/Hughes vibe going on, and the guitar sound is slightly different, but I like it a lot.
A side note about this album. I STRONGLY URGE YOU to check out the documentary “Phoenix Rising”, it’s all about the breakup of the Coverdale/Blackmore lineup and the Bolin era of Deep Purple. It’s a part of the band’s history that doesn’t get talked about a lot, and Eagle did an awesome job in putting together a good documentary on this era. Check it out today. You’ll like it.
8) Speed King (1970)
Track 1 from the 1970 “In Rock” album. If I was a fan of Deep Purple at the time (not likely, I was only 5, but still), this would have shocked me. It’s VERY different from the last Rod Evans album in almost every measurable way. When I saw Deep Purple live for the first time (back in 1994), it was the third EVER gig for Steve Morse. They did Speed King, and the back and forth between Morse & Lord was incredible. While I liked this song before that, that interplay did a lot to fixate this song up there in my list of favorite Deep Purple songs. Has one of the great Ian Gillan laughs in it, too. :)
9) The Cut Runs Deep (1990)
Ah, we come to the Joe Lynn Turner album. I know a lot of fans detest this album, and I can understand that. At the time it came out, I wrote online “The only thing saving this album from being a Rainbow album is the presence of Jon Lord”. Over the years I’ve softened that stance a bit. But it is by far the most divisive Purple studio album. The writing overall feels “lighter”, and of course, Turner’s style is a lot different than Coverdale or Gillans before him.
Still, this album produced several really good tracks. The Cut Runs Deep is one of them. It has a nice bass run through it, and a vibe which I put down to Roger Glover. It also has a background vocal style which is unusual to Deep Purple. The background of “The Cut Runs Deep” is what I’m talking about here. I really like this track.
10) Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic (1996)
Track 1 from the Purpendicular album announces quite clearly with it’s opening riff “Deep Purple is back!”. That opening riff is quite unlike anything Ritchie Blackmore did in all the Purple albums he did. This is a great track from start to finish. Has a very catchy vibe in the middle. Almost makes you want to dance to it, and I don’t dance. Very VERY catchy track for me. I considered putting this as track 1 on the playlist due to that opening riff, but ended up not doing that. Steve Morse owns this song. This is one of my three “essential” Deep Purple albums. Get it. Now.
11) Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming (1996)
Also from Purpendicular, this song I think was written sometimes to counter Ritchie Blackmore’s claim that Ian Gillan couldn’t “sing”. A lot of this song is not screaming, it’s mellow stuff. It’s a great palate cleanser piece. While it’s mostly slow, there’s some power in the middle of it during the chorus. To me, this song more than any other shows the musical diversity of the Purpendicular album.
12) Anya (1993)
This song can almost be described in the same way as Ted the Mechanic. Opens with a guitar riff that’s unlike anything else around it. It’s got a Spanish flamenco feel to it. It’s not until about 0:50 in that the rest of the band kicks in – the first part is all Ritchie. Once the full band kicks in, it’s got a nice smooth feel to the song. While a lot of Purple fans I know of don’t pay much attention to the Battle Rages On album, so they miss tracks like this. Ian’s vocals during the chorus are almost like a musical instrument to themselves.
13) Rosa’s Cantina (1996)
Back to the Purpendicular album. Roger’s bass line in this song actually DID make me get up and dance. At my apartment at the time, I had consumed a few beers, this came on, and I actually did get up and dance. Good thing nobody was around to see it. That would have probably been frightening. This song is all about Roger Glover to me. Love LOVE LOVE the bass line through this song.
14) Mitzi Dupree (1987)
This is a song that when I listen to it, I think “this isn’t the best track on my playlist”, but it stays. I never have the heart to remove it. I suspect it’s something that really happened to Ian on a plane. It’s basically a story of someone he met on a plane. The guitar sound at the start of the song is quite odd. I love the piano that runs through the song – not Jon’s usual organ sound, but an actual piano. That’s probably why I like it the most.
15) Pictures of Innocence (2003)
A song I really like for the lyrics more than the music.
No deals, No strokes
No forbidden fruit
No holy smoke
What next, no sex
That’s the end of the road
We got no hope
16) King of Dreams (1990)
The best track off the Joe Lynn Turner album. This track even works for me as an “unplugged” version, which I’ve heard too. A friend of mine saw Deep Purple on this tour, and said this track was even better live. Not on a bootleg, but LIVE live. Don’t have a ton to say about this one, but man, it really works. Great track.
I’d be remiss in mentioning what I believe to be the single worst Deep Purple song of all time. It comes from the “Slaves & Masters” album. That song is “Breakfast in Bed”. How they all thought that was a good idea to record, and then actually put on the album is beyond me. It’s a horrid song. I don’t usually say I dislike songs, I try to find something good in them. Not this one. Crap all around.
17) Knocking At Your Back Door (1984)
The music video for this is pretty stupid, but then most metal videos back in this era were. Track however, is killer. It’s usually live the song that comes after the keyboard solo at a Deep Purple concert. It was a great intro track on a very important Deep Purple album. It showcases the band members very well for a first track on their reunion album. To me, everyone has their “moment” and can be heard, and don’t just blend into the background like a lot of songs by a lot of bands.
18) Living Wreck (1970)
Underrated classic. Most people don’t think of Living Wreck when they think of classic Deep Purple songs. Shame. In fact, I’m not writing about it anymore. Go listen to it now. You have no excuse.
19) Hungry Daze (1984)
This is another much in the vein of the short, compact, fast song. As I’ve said before, Perfect Strangers is a great album, and this is one of my favorites from this album. Has several Purple staples. Some shrieking from Ian, a recognizable Ritchie guitar solo, and that unmistakable rhythm section/keyboard mashup. There’s also a section of the song from 2:45 till 3:17 that has an odd feel that I can’t recall hearing in another Purple song. Quite different in feel. It’s also one of two songs (the other being 2005’s “MTV”) where the song “Smoke on the Water” is referenced in lyrics from the new song.
20) Bad Attitude (1987)
After the success of 84’s Perfect Strangers, I was very much looking forward to the followup, which showed up three years later in the form of “The House of Blue Light”. The first track from it is this one, “Bad Attitude”. Unfortunately the album didn’t stick as high in quality as this song, but this is a great leadoff track. I know it’s not one of their most well known (or popular, for that matter) tracks, but I like this one. The bass line here is quite simple and repeated a lot throughout the entire song, but it works for me. It especially works as a background to Ritchie’s solo, which I like here. I also like the outro keyboard work by Jon as well.
21) Fireball (1971)
Title track from the album inbetween “In Rock” and “Machine Head”. It starts off with a bang. The first thing you hear reminds you a bit of the 60’s era sound of Deep Purple, but that’s where that comparison ends. The song is right up there with short, fast, and compact. Neon Knights, Mob Rules, Kill the King, you know. That kind of song. Fireball has an odd feel, it’s got that “interplay” thing going on with a few different instruments in the band – it’s set up nicely for being played visually between the members onstage. It’s strong in the “Deep Purple” sound for sure. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a lost classic, but it’s underappreciated for sure.
22) Perfect Strangers (1984)
“We Will Remain… Perfect Strangers”. As I said before, this is a killer album, probably their overall second best of all time. This track is one of the reasons – it’s one of the strongest tracks from the album. Probably Top 10 overall for me on every Deep Purple album. Another track where I find myself at a loss to write about, because I just want to say “Dude, it kicks ass”.
23) Girls Like That (2005)
One of those tracks I suspect a lot of people won’t know, and if they do know it, they wouldn’t have picked it on their best tracks playlist. Ian doesn’t shriek like he used to anymore, but he tries here. It’s not bad or embarrassing, but it shows he can’t do that kind of thing anymore. But again – classic Purple sound. Good bass run – this one has a keyboard solo in the middle instead of a guitar solo. Don’t get more classic Purple than that. I like the vocal trickery with Ian’s voice being multi layered in the chorus for the line “Girls Like That”.
24) Fire in the Basement (1990)
The other really good track from the Joe Lynn Turner Deep Purple album. Fire in the Basement has a groove that would have worked well I think with the David Coverdale era of the band. It’s not quite as “funk” as that era is usually described, but it has a nice vibe to it. There’s a bit about 3/4 into the song that feels mostly like Roger Glover on bass, and Joe Lynn on vocals, and not much else that picks up the main riffing of the song and carries it into a different area with most of the band being silent. I like that a lot.
25) Rapture of the Deep (2005)
This song has always had a strange feel to me. If you pay attention to the lyrics, it strikes me as a pro-religion song. I recognize several parts of Christian life and Christian worship services in the lyrics of the song. I’ve always had a hard time thinking of it as anything else other than that. I don’t know the religious leanings of the members of Deep Purple, but my gut feeling is that it was written so it could be interpreted that way. Still, I like the tune here.
As we all know it’s hard to breathe
When something spiritual
Has taken place
We don’t know how we don’t know why
We’ve been transformed
Into a state of grace
26) Under the Gun (1984)
Another entry from the stellar Perfect Strangers album. I like this mostly because of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar work. That’s about it. :)
27) Hush (1988)
Yeah, alright – I’ve already included this song once. #1 on the list was the 1968 original version that Purple recorded. However, in 1988, Deep Purple put out a live album called “Nobody’s Perfect”, which was culled from the tour for “House of Blue Light”. The last track on that album was a new studio recording of Hush with the current incarnation of Deep Purple. I thought about including it right after the original, but the same song twice in a row is odd, and it didn’t feel right as last, either. :)
28) Listen, Learn, Read On (1968)
Now this is a strange beast. This to me is the height of the “60’s sound” in Deep Purple. This is a really bizarre song, but the whole thing works for me. Comes from the second Deep Purple album, “The Book of Taliesyn”. To me, 60’s music has had this “tinny” sound – almost like it’s in a can. The first Pink Floyd album had that. A lot of 60’s music in general had it. Not all, The Stones didn’t sound that way. But this song has it in spades, and it’s odd, because I usually hate that sound. But it works here, bizarre though the track is.
29) Woman from Tokyo (1973)
So far away from the garden we love
She is what moves in the soul of a dove
Soon I shall see just how black was my night
When we’re alone in Her City of light
I love that slow bit in the middle. It gets really slow, and just kicks in big time right after that. Always loved that vibe of the song. This is one of their signature songs, so you already know it. Not much I can add to it.
30) Stormbringer (1974)
When people think of Coverdale’s version of Purple, they think of two songs for the most part. One other one (which comes later), and Stormbringer. When I listen to the track, I enjoy it, but if you ask me to say why I like it, I can’t. Not sure what to make of this one from an “explanation” standpoint, but I like the track.
31) Child in Time (1971)
Deep Purple’s Magnum Opus. A 10+ minute song that is all over the place in terms of where it’s going with it’s music. Has some of the biggest and best screams that Ian ever put onto a record. Has some brilliant Blackmore soloing, and my god, the fast part in the middle song is just awesome. When I saw Deep Purple for the first time in 1994, I was surprised they did the track. Given it’s got such a demand on Ian, I figured he was done with this track. I did at least get to see it live once.
But man, there’s just so many parts that if you picked them up and put ‘em in other songs, they’d be “that great moment” in that song. Thing is, there’s several of those moments in this one song alone. The slow bits work great. The fast bits kick ass, it is probably my favorite “classic era” Deep Purple song for sure – if not my overall favorite track.
The lyrics are a bit “out there”, though. Still not ENTIRELY sure what the song is supposed to be about, actually. :)
Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line
Line that’s drawn between the Good and the Bad
See the blind man, he’s shooting at the world
32) Rat Bat Blue (1973)
The one other song besides “Woman From Tokyo” that I really like from the “Who Do We Think We Are” album. This is strong for me because of (again, no shock) Ritchie’s playing. The riff that goes through the whole song is still infectious to me no matter how many times I’ve heard it. Not a song a ton of people put on their lists, but the heck with that, this is my list, so on it goes.
33) Doing it Tonight (2003)
A song I like a lot from the mostly ignored album “Bananas”. I admit it’s not their best track, but something here works for me. It’s mostly on the strength of the chorus. Which usually means the rest of the song isn’t that strong, but it’s good enough for me.
34) The Battle Rages On (1993)
This song reminds me somewhat of the track “Bad Attitude” in overall song construction. I do know about the behind the scenes battles between Ian Gillan & Ritchie Blackmore at this time. Joe Lynn Turner was booted out so Ian could return, and Turner has called this album “The Cattle Grazes On”. I wouldn’t go there, because I did like the album. I can tell you that I had this song in an uncountable number of times at maximum volume the summer this came out, so yeah – I was really into it. Many a red light had a ton of air drumming by me going on. I like how the song builds up towards the end – it’s got a “release” of sorts with about 20 seconds left. Hard to describe that without putting it in sexual terms.
35) Burn (1974)
The height of the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple. This to me, is the single best Coverdale track, and is up there as Top 5 all time Deep Purple. It’s a bloody shame that when Ian Gillan returned, he said he wouldn’t sing any of the Coverdale tracks at all. I really REALLY would love to see Ian take a crack at it, although who would sing Glenn Hughes’ part is an unknown.
Warning came, no one cared.
Earth was shakin, we stood and stared.
When it came no one was spared.
Still I hear “Burn!”
Love the riff in Burn as much as any other Deep Purple song from any era.
36) Smoke on the Water (1972)
What can I say about this song that hasn’t been said before? Everyone knows it. You really can’t have a Deep Purple playlist without it, can you? Enough said.
37) The Well Dressed Guitar (2006)
And we come to the last song on the list, and the one I label as “My single favorite overall Deep Purple song”. That’s a statement that will probably annoy some people for any number of reasons. First off, it doesn’t have Ritchie Blackmore on it. It doesn’t have Ian Gillan on it, or any other vocalist, I might point out. It’s an instrumental. I first saw Deep Purple do this live on a show in 2002 when they were working on the Bananas album. I was seriously impressed with the track. Ian announced as it as being on the forthcoming studio album, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. Usually when I hear new songs live for the first time ever, it never works for me. But this one clicked INSTANTLY.
Thing is, the next album (Bananas) came out, and right before that happened, the Space Shuttle exploded over Texas. Steve Morse wrote the song “Contact Lost” about that event, and it bumped “Well Dressed” from the album. It didn’t show up as a studio recording until 2006 on the 2 CD Tour Edition released about a year after the original album was in 2005.
No matter, I still love that song, and it’s for me the best Deep Purple track ever. Sue me. :)
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So, am I totally off my rocker? Curious to know what people think of my Deep Purple playlist. Let me know in the comments below. Danke!