Jon Lord’s death has made waves around the world with many people, newspapers, TV channels and web sites paying their tribute. Here is what the the people close to him had to say (in no particular order).
Our beloved Jon passed away on this day Monday 16th July 2012.
We have lost a dear friend, a brother and a wonderful musician.
His dignity and graciousness touched us all. His music was an inspiration and took us to places beyond our imagination…A truly great man.
We humbly express our eternal love and great respect.
It’s unthinkable that Jon is gone. My thoughts are for his wife Vicky and all his children and family at this sad moment in their lives. I wish them all strength.
A great sadness and sense of loss hangs over me. Not only has the music world lost a fantastic musician but a gentleman of the finest order. He was a giant in my life, a great friend, a fellow traveler, a teacher, not only of music, but of life. I am devastated at his passing.
Jon was not only a great musician, he was my favorite dinner companion. We are all deeply saddened. We knew he was sick but the word was that he was recovering and doing much better.
This news came as a complete shock. Without Jon there would be no Deep Purple. He lives on in our hearts and memories.
Ian Gillan spoke to Planet Rock telling how the band were still at the studio in the States when they got the news, and how they all sat around for a long time, feeling sad but also exchanging happy stories about their times with Jon.
Jon just died. I’m shocked and don’t know what to do, so I’m going to try to tell you a little about Jon.
Jon was the powerhouse keyboard player that brought rock and classical directly together many times. The first was his timeless organ solo on “Highway Star”. The next was his “Concerto for Band and Orchestra”. I was able to perform with the whole band as it was played at Albert Hall before we toured extensively with it. Just weeks ago, I was able to play on a studio recording of Jon’s concerto and share some heartfelt thoughts and words with him.
Jon was the guy that would stop us from giving up on an idea in songwriting because it wasn’t immediately obvious. I remember him encouraging me in the studio to keep doing what I was doing as I played around with an idea that I was intrigued with. After writing something as amazing as his concerto, he still had the imagination to hear ideas on top of anything I suggested. He always had a regal, gentlemanly manner. Like any of us, he could get annoyed, but he would only show it with his wry and dry wit.
Mostly, he was upbeat and a pleasure for anybody to be around. His humor was right up my alley, with us exchanging ridiculous thoughts like,”If Brenda Lee married Tommy Lee, her new name would be Brenda Lee……” Or having him finish the tune when an announcement at an airport would start with several musical notes to get your attention. It’s hard to give anecdotes that convey an ease that somebody could give you, but he sure had that ability. We all love people that will pay attention to our kids, and years ago he charmed my (then) 5 year old son, Kevin with a Donald Duck imitation even while he was being hurried to get out of the dressing room and go to the green room for after show greetings.
Jon retired from the endless DP tour schedule, but continued to do appearances with original material and performances of his concerto. I knew he missed the band he helped start, but at the same time couldn’t stand the relentless travel. From time to time, we would see him on tour, and he would sit in with us. The last time we played, less than a year ago, at the Sunflower Jam at Royal Albert Hall, he had just come offstage from performing with Rick Wakeman. Later I talked with him and his wife about how strange it felt to look around at the keyboards and not see him there at Albert Hall. We promised to do something together. Soon thereafter, we all learned of his battle with Pancreatic cancer. I kept hearing hopeful, positive reports that they might be making progress, but this sudden death caught me totally unaware. I thought we would meet and do a recording project in the future when he recovered from the chemotherapy. Well, we sort of did, but I had to record it and send it to him, as we were in different countries.
If you have friends, family, especially kids, don’t ever miss a chance to do or say something special….or simply appreciate the fact that they are there. One day, they won’t be.
Sorry its taken us so long to put this up but all my time has been spent with family following the sad passing of Jon Lord.
Jon was the husband of my twin sister Vicky. He was a father, Husband, Uncle, Brother, Brother in Law and Friend to many.
We are astounded with the incredible worldwide support and love, honouring Jon’s life and music, Thank you all so much.
In 2011, Jon’s last live performance took place at The Sunflower Jam; he was also a trustee of the charity and held this event very close to his heart.
As a tribute to Jon, we would like to share some footage of him performing with Rick Wakeman at The 2011 Sunflower Jam, the piece written by both of them, for The Sunflower Jam, titled, its not as big as it was!
We have been asked if the 2012 Sunflower Jam Event will be taking place due to our loss, to which we would like to confirm, not only will it go ahead; we are working on a tribute to Jon, in true Sunflower Style.
We love you Jonny.
As I type this I’m listening to Jon’s classical music from his solo albums I’ve downloaded since his passing… Because we were out of touch for so long & involved in our individual lives & careers, I was unaware of so much of his more recent exceptional works… It is assisting me in processing the sense of loss of such a huge character & enormous inspiration from my life… I hope you can understand I felt it inappropriate to engage in our usual conversational interaction on the BBS & step back & just allow you to use the site as a memorial, or tribute to express your own feelings & thoughts of Jon & what he means to you… I am still somewhat uncomfortable posting as I see some of you proposing a tribute concert involving our former colleagues in both Purple & Whitesnake… Personally, I feel it appropriate & respectful to wait until we hear if his family wish to have a memorial concert before I respond, so I ask you respectfully not to engage me in possibilities until then… I have no doubt that with the healing passage of time that something wonderful will take place somewhere where we can all celebrate his extraordinary life & his many musical gifts to us, but, once again, let us be patient & await his families wishes before attempting to force any event on them… I will share with you, as I shared with my family, three personal memories of my initial introduction to Jon that involved his incredible warmth, patience & generosity that came immediately to my mind & for which I will be eternally grateful… My first encounter with Jon was as an opening act for the then early chapter of DP Mark 2 at Sheffield University… Jon came up to me after our show & was very complimentary about my singing & discreetly asked for my phone number… whispering ” in case it doesn’t work out with the new guy “… Ha Ha!… Of course, in those days, I was living at home with my parents & we never had a phone, so, I hastily gave him my address, shook hands & went out to watch some of their show before driving back to Teesside… Of course, it worked out beautifully & successfully with ‘the new guy’ as we all know, but, it didn’t stop me rushing down to the front door every morning for months to see if he’d written to me… As you can imagine it was an indescribable boost for my morale at that time in my life… Sweet, sweet man… he knew how to elevate your spirit… He had poetry & rhetoric in abundance… I told Pagey that he would have loved working with Jon… The next time was at my actual audition for Purple in London in 1973… I was pretty nervous, of course, but, determined… I’d discreetly brought a bottle of Bell’s whiskey that my friend, Roger, who had driven me to London had hidden from me..( which I found immediately & gave me cause to frequently slip away for quick nerve numbing shots… )… No one was more engaging, welcoming & calming to me than Jon Lord… He spoke to me so very kindly & encouraged me to the point where I must credit him for helping me relax & give a solid account of myself at the audition, God bless his cotton socks… The next example of Jon’s amazing character was at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire where we had gone to work on songs for the ‘Burn’ album… Jon was going to be late, as he had business in London, so, Ritchie, Glenn & Ian started jamming immediately in the castle crypt… Amazing music… amazing musicians… I wandered in & out, not knowing what the hell to do as this was all so new & unknown territory for me… I found out later that Jon had called Ritchie to see how things were going & how I was fitting in… Ritchie said everything was fine, but, I hadn’t sang anything yet… NERVES!!!… So, when Jon eventually arrived, he & I had a several snifters of some fine alcoholic beverage & walked down to the rehearsal room… & with him at his Hammond & me at the microphone I sang non stop for God knows how long… Beatles songs… jazz songs… blues riffs… Slowly, but, surely, the guys all came in & started playing along & suddenly I was a member of the best band in the world!!!… Thank you, Jon, with all my heart… I will never forget you & what you brought to my life… The many precious memories I will treasure forevermore… Bon Vivant… Raconteur… Musician & Gentleman Extraordinaire… Jon Lord… I salute you… XX
A very sad week with the loss of one of the world’s most talented, humble, inspirational and generous musicians.
Jon Lord was a true Lord in every sense.
I first met him over a lunch a couple of years ago, with his silver-white hair pulled back in a sleek pony tail, and tall imposing figure dressed all in black wearing blue sneakers. Despite the generational gap and the vast difference in scholarly experience, we talked seamlessly about music, family, life and other things. Jon came across as someone who was on one hand a deeply private family man, and yet completely open and warm with everyone, who never expected special treatment and always gave his full attention to anyone he met.
I would see this time and again on tour with him – where he would have to be rescued by his manager from hotel lobbies and stage doors, or else he would be held back for hours and hours, speaking to everyone who wanted to meet him, give him gifts or have him sign the entire Deep Purple back catalogue. I also noticed it leaving for my first tour with him to Russia, at Heathrow Terminal 5, where he patiently waited at the end of a long line of passengers to board the plane, until singer Steve Balsamo and I politely reminded him that he was flying business and he didn’t need to queue. He looked almost ashamed and embarrassed as we ushered him to the front of the line. I know people who have sold far fewer records and accumulated far fewer accolades who would not act with that kind of humility.
My first tour with him started the day after I found out I was 7 weeks pregnant with my daughter. Sharing the stage with him and playing his music whilst knowing that I was creating a human life inside me, gave the experience a spiritual quality, which only added to the magic which he so naturally created wherever he went. It’s hard to describe the feeling without seeming over the top or cheesy, but anyone who has ever met him will understand what I mean – anyone I have ever spoken to about him only has positive words to say about him.
After me gushing endlessly about Jon and his music, my partner finally met him backstage at the Sunflower Jam at the Albert Hall last year (which I think might have been Jon’s last public performance). Afterwards he turned to me and said “NOW I see what you mean. I’ve only just met him and I love him already!”. He just had that special effect on people.
I think the sadness also comes from knowing that he had so much more to give to the world. There was so much music he talked about writing…and there was a Bach violin/piano Sonata he kept saying he wanted to play together. Most exciting of all, at the Sunflower Jam he pulled me aside, absolutely high on adrenalin after an incredible musical battle with Rick Wakeman onstage: “I can’t believe I’ve never played with Rick before!! All these years where him and I were living parallel lives! There’s something there! I want to do a tour – will you come? Let’s start something! I want to write and record…Rick and I have been jamming in the dressing room all evening and there’s definitely something there!”. It was just brilliant to see him talk like an excited 10 year boy about two grown men with a lifetime of successes, about all the stuff they wanted to do together! Him and Rick were absolutely on cloud nine, as if they’d finally met their match! (There’s a video on youtube of the Rick vs Jon duel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yaLwfTfgXM)
My absolute love for Jon is based on knowing him for such a short time. I can’t imagine what it must be like for his family and close friends. My heart really goes out to them, because I cannot imagine what it must feel like.
I don’t have much more to add – except that if everyone who woke up grumpy in the morning, or anyone who was feeling down or negative thought to themselves “What would Jon do?”, the world would be a much more positive place. He really brought a lot of light into this world, and through his music and his legacy, will continue to do so.
Rest In Peace, Jon.
I first became aware of Jon Lord in the mid-sixties when Hush was released and I bought the album Shades of Deep Purple which was an album way ahead of its time. For obvious reasons I paid special attention to the organ style and sound as it was quite different from how other Hammond players were using the instrument. I became a genuine admirer and fan of Jon that day and remained so with everything he did
We became real friends just a few years ago although we had met on numerous occasions prior to that. We did talks together at music conservatories, we met for lunch and most importantly made music together. We wrote a piece 12 months ago for the Sunflower Jam at the Royal Albert Hall. We wrote this piece together at John Henry’s rehearsal studios in London and it was so easy because we had such different styles and because Jon was concentrating heavily on the Hammond and I on synthesizers, the blend was quite magical. The piece was performed just the once and I am told was filmed. although I have never seen the footage.
We sat in the dressing room which we shared at the Royal Albert Hall and made plans to do an album together. We were both utterly convinced that we could come up with something very special as our styles blended so well together. Our love of classical music and also working that style within that of rock music also completed the bond . We arranged to meet up later that month
One week before we were due to meet Jon called me with the news he was ill. He was very positive and actually said he’d never felt better in his life and so he would beat it however long it took and so to bear with our project which went on hold.
We spoke a couple of times after that and the last message I got was that he was responding well to his treatment. The news today has hurt me like no other loss of a musician I have known. I can only thank him for the legacy he has left us all with his great music, great vision and for his kindness as he was one of the most gentle and kind persons I have ever had the pleasure of being able to call my friend. My heart goes out to Vicki his wife and all his family.
16th July 2012
Friends : I have just landed in LA from London, to hear the sad news of the passing of our brother Jon Lord.
I will miss him.
I will sing and play a tribute track for Jon Lord with friends Chad Smith and Steve Vai in the studio tomorrow…
Joe Lynn Turner:
I am deeply saddened about the passing of Jon Lord…I am proud and humbled to have known him both personally and professionally …and blessed to share a special time with him. He was a true and gifted original…a Gentleman of the industry …and he shall be greatly missed!
My sincerest sympathies to his family and relations…and to all of us who have lost one of the great musicians of our time!…R.I.P. Jon…may God hold you in his hands.
I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news of Jon’s passing . Jon was not only a magnificent keyboard player and musician but a wonderful human being and a true gentleman.
I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to play together with him. We’ve lost a true legend but his music will live on in all of our hearts.
My deepest thoughts go out to his family.
R.I.P Jon, my friend.
Thank you for being the very best, the most honourable and memorable, the most inviting. The finest host, ( Ritchie often told me that you were his greatest and favourite dinner guest) I remember you telling me off for buying a round of drinks in Luxembourg?.
You paid anyway. Thanks sir.
You were the finest of story tellers and much much more. But really Jon, thank you, for not only being part of the most dynamic music I ever heard, that changed my world and that of many others, but also for the most beautiful musical moments I
Yes. Those three, of the most outstanding and joyous concerts I have ever had the great pleasure to be part of. Great songs in a world I was not used to with an orchestra. You gave me a shot, took a chance and I will never forget those moments, nor how you, and Tarquin and Kasia (She liked it) mocked the Tartan suit I had bought for the occasion..
The waistcoat is now in Rio, the trousers in the closet.
There are those who have known you much longer and worked with you much harder but I will cherish those memories for all that remains for me.
Dear Jon, I will miss you so much. “..the Poet and the Pilgrim” Much love to the Lord Family and the extended Purple Family in these saddest of days. JON LORD. LEGEND.. Tonight I will raise a glass to the finest of men..
This is a sad day, Jon Lord has ‘left the building’. Jon put the ‘deep’ into Purple, he contributed greatly to their sound. Whatever he did musically was first-class. I feel privileged, honoured and grateful to have been able to work and create with him, he was a great musician and a true gentlemen. He gave his Hammond organ and Leslie speaker a special ‘growl’, my joke nickname for him was ‘Growly Hammond’. Jon has departed, as we all must, but he’ll never be forgotten, he was truly one of the greats. He’s in the ‘real world’ now so Rock on Jon!
And a very emotional piece from Lars Ulrich:
Ever since my father took me to see them in 1973 in Copenhagen, at the impressionable age of 9, Deep Purple has been the most constant, continuous and inspiring musical presence in my life. They have meant more to me than any other band in existence, and have had an enormous part in shaping who I am. So obviously I’m beyond bummed, saddened and devastated by today’s news of the untimely passing of keyboardist Jon Lord.
We can all be guilty of lightly throwing adjectives like “unique,” “one-of-a-kind” and “pioneering” around when we want to describe our heroes and the people who’ve moved us, but there are no more fitting words than those right now and there simply was no musician like Jon Lord in the history of hard rock. Nobody. Period.
There was nobody that played like him. There was nobody that sounded like him. There was nobody that wrote like him. There was nobody that looked like him. There was nobody more articulate, gentlemanly, warm, or fucking cooler that ever played keyboards or got anywhere near a keyboard. What he did was all his own. Including obviously his unique sound. Whatever it was he did with that Hammond organ, the way the Leslie distorted what he was playing and pushed it to some unheard of place, the way he attacked it while he was throwing it around, and whatever the fuck else it was that was going down between Jon and “The Beast”, as he called his organ, it was unlike anything before, during or after. That simple.
Deep Purple of course was also an entity all their own, always unpredictable, often impulsive, never repetitive and most of the time, other worldly. I had the good fortune of seeing them three times in Copenhagen between ’73 and ’75, numerous times again on the reunion runs in ’85 and ’87. We even played a couple of gigs in Germany with them in the summer of ’87 and needless to say, every time was an experience that had a major impact on me. Seeing Jon on stage right playing the riffs, the colorings, the textures, the next level solos, intros, outros, blues bits, classical pieces and whatever else came into his head each night AND on top of that keeping up with Ritchie Blackmore song after song, night after night, was the sign of the master of his craft . . . the most accomplished, original and unique hard rock keyboardist that ever walked this planet.
In 1992 when we played Munich on the Black Album tour, Jon Lord and lead singer, Ian Gillan came down to the show and stood in the snake pit the whole time. I was in heaven. Performing in front of members of the band that had meant more to me than anything in my life was a dream come true. And when I got a signed note after the show that they had had to leave and get back to their milk and cookies and be ready for the recording sessions the next day, I was simply beyond psyched. My hero(es) in the fuckin snake pit.!!!!! “Look Mom, on top of the fuckin world!!”
….Full circle for the impressionable 9 year old from KB Hallen in Copenhagen in February ’73.
Rest in peace Jon and THANK YOU for everything,