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Paul Rodgers confirms Purple story

In a recent interview published in Houston Press blogs, Paul Rodgers confirmed the story of getting an offer to join Purple back in 1973:

HR: Any truth to the story that you were asked to be the lead singer of Deep Purple after Ian Gillan left?

PR: Yes. Free had played with Deep Purple in Australia and it was our very last show. I got along really well with [Purple] keyboardist Jon Lord and we exchanged numbers. Later, I got a call to [join], but I was forming Bad Company at the time, so it wasn’t possible.

60 Comments to “Paul Rodgers confirms Purple story”:

  1. 1
    Seven-47 says:

    Paul Rogers’ vocals coupled with Blackmore’s guitar, that I would like to hear!

  2. 2
    Maximus Pusilanimus says:

    That´s funny and makes one wonder why he (Rodgers) accepted to sing in Queen.

  3. 3
    Stefan says:

    It would never have worked… and thanks for that…insted we were blessed with yet a great band…Bad Company! As far as this Queen+Paul Rodgers thing´s concerned…It can`t be no Queen without the great late toungue in cheek, pompous,arrogant and pisshard poof Freddie Mercury!!

  4. 4
    Seven-47 says:

    Stefan; Did you have an opportunity to see Queen+Paul Rogers? I did in 2006, and thought that Paul Rogers gave the Queen classics a harder bluesier sound. I can’t help but wonder how “Burn” & “Stormbringer” would have turned out had Paul Rogers been the lyricist/vocalist. I’m guessing Blackmore would have stuck around had those albums been a little harder & bluesier. That being said, everything worked out pretty good. We ended up with Bad Company, Rainbow, Dio lead Black Sabbath, Deep Purple Mark V, The Firm, Whitesnake, Glenn Hughes led Black Sabbath, and Coverdale Page!

  5. 5
    Seven-47 says:

    I remember reading years ago that after Ian Gillan left Deep Purple, and before Joe Lynn Turner took over for him, that Paul Rogers was offered the job at that time. Does anyone know if this was true?

  6. 6
    Bo says:

    Why not today?
    Blacmore, Hughes, Lord & Rogers.
    OK – I’m dreaming.

  7. 7
    Seven-47 says:

    Bo; I like the way you think! Simon Kirke or Ansley Dunbar on drums? (Unfortunately my first choice of Cozy Powell would be impossible R.I.P.)

  8. 8
    ormandy says:

    By the way, his name is Paul Rodgers, not “Rogers.”

  9. 9
    Seven-47 says:

    Sorry “Ormany”!

  10. 10
    Phil says:

    I remember reading at the time about Paul Rodgers been offered the position and his reason for turning it down was that he could not work with Blackmore. I know it was along time ago. Can anyone else confirm this.

  11. 11
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Don’t want to spoil the mood again(…) but………
    I saw Queen plus RoDgers and it was a terrble experience……..
    Apart from the fact that I alraedy tought he was misplaced as a singer for Queen(i love both Quuen/old days and Free/Bad Company/Rodgers Solo)……….

    They were really fooling everybody……
    Or should I say nowadays audience does not care if they are exposed to mainly Freddy Mercury tapes mixed with Rodgers input????

  12. 12
    MrEd says:

    Seven-47 Said:

    October 22nd, 2007 at 16:59

    I remember reading years ago that after Ian Gillan left Deep Purple, and before Joe Lynn Turner took over for him, that Paul Rogers was offered the job at that time. Does anyone know if this was true?

    Personally, I’ve no idea as the ‘truth’ or accuracy about that, but it’s certainly been stated in more than one ‘professionally’ published source over the years that Rodgers was offered the job; it’s also been stated from similar sources that Rodgers was also offered the job as the re-formed Rainbow’s lead vocalist around ’94 of ’95.

  13. 13
    T says:

    A Rodgers MkIII would have worked… Ritchie was thoroughly enthused at the idea and the prospect was what kept him from leaving at that time.

    Frankly, I think Rodgers was intimidated at the idea of following Ian Gillan; however, that aside, his voice would have been perfect for a blues/rock band to which Ritchie had been alluding for a long time.

    Joe Lynn Turner is a Rodgers-type singer (I’m talking timbre, not “look”) and I think this is what brought Turner into Rainbow.

    Jamie Jamison was the front runner for the “Slaves & Masters” era…I’ve not heard that Rodgers was re-offered the job, but it’s conceivable in that Bad Company had opened up for Reunion Era Purple on many occasions.

  14. 14
    Frank says:

    I was in a limo with Paul Rodgers about 8 years ago and I asked him the DP question. If memory serves his was response was something like that DP had talked to him about it, never formally offered it to him and then it was in one of the UK trade papers like NME that he was in Purple, which wasn’t true so that killed it.

    My Two Cents,


  15. 15
    Russ says:

    Purple aside. Why can’t Roger and Ritchie work together right now? That would be fantastic.

  16. 16
    john says:

    you´re dreaming !

    in fact Coverdale was chosen

  17. 17
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Correction :

    During the House Of Blue Light tour of Bad Company indeed was the support of DP, but………
    Paul Rodgers was NOT the singer of BC in those days………..I forgot the singers name…….

  18. 18
    Rasta Man says:

    Brian Howe

  19. 19
    Tom Green says:

    Very interesting, would have been much better than Coverdale.

  20. 20
    Seven-47 says:


    I don’t know, but all of the above sound good to me!

  21. 21
    T says:

    This is true–Paul Rodgers was NOT in Bad Company during the House of Blue Light Tour. I stand corrected.

  22. 22
    Sami says:

    Brian Howe was one of the candidates for DP lead vocalist position after Gillan was sacked.Turner got the job(Jimi Jamison was chosen originally, but apparently his management didn’t want him to do it…some management, eh!), but also Paul Rodgers, R J Dio, Jimmy Barnes & Carl Swann were tried out,
    don’t know ’bout others though.

  23. 23
    Sami says:

    Correction : Rodgers wasn’t auditioned, they had only talked about it as Frank pointed out above.

  24. 24
    Rasta Man says:

    Jimmy Jamison didnt fancy the DP job cos Gillans shoes were too big to fill.

    Turner found out the hard way.

  25. 25
    MrEd says:

    Was there any truth to the story about Terry Brock of a band called Strangeways being selected and signed up as Gillan’s successor in ’89 but then got fired after only 3 days in DP?
    The whole thing about who was auditioned, who was only offered but not auditioned & who’s names were only bandied about by either members of the music press, members of DP or were just fan-inspired rumors is pretty impressive though:

    (Reportedly auditioned) :

    John Farnham (ex-Little River Band)
    Jimmy Barnes (ex-Cold Chisel)
    Kal Swann (ex-Lion)
    Brian Howe (ex-Bad Company)
    Jimi Jamison (ex-Survivor)


    Ronnie Dio (ex-Rainbow, ex-Black Sabbath)
    Doug Pinnick (King’s X)
    David Coverdale (ex-DP, Whitesnake)

    According to Jamison, he was told he had the gig but Jamison’s management – the Scotti Brothers – forbade him from joining DP.

  26. 26
    Seven-47 says:

    Very informative MrEd; I had not heard any of that!

  27. 27
    Sami says:

    Very good MrEd. Terry Brock was auditioned and lasted three to five days…according to Jon Lord: ‘He was a great singer, but no charisma at all.’

  28. 28
    Stuart says:

    I remember being at grammar school and reading “Disc” with the story. As I recall PR was a bit miffed that it had found its way into the press. My first gig was DP in 1973 and when Gillan left it was devestating. To have had Paul Rodgers in the band would have been magic.

  29. 29
    badco says:

    Yeah…it sure would’ve been MAGIC….
    For me (as PR/Bad Co fan) it was quite a blast to see him with Queen although this wasn’t Queen (in the real sense) any more…I mean (having seen Queen many times..in the 70s/80s) and can’t be without Freddie. But they delivered a hell of a rock-show (been to 3 concerts in 2005).
    And moreover what really counts is you got the “privilege” to see Queen (at least parts) AND Paul Rodgers (who’s seldom seen around Europe…apart from GB), who most of the time only tours the US.
    AND younger Queen fans who never got the chance to see Queen live could at least get a glimpse of how it feels like being to a Queen concert (though Freddie was sadly missed).

    Now I’m looking forward to the new Queen+PR album which will be released next year (think they’ll tour again too).

  30. 30
    Damian says:

    As a Tommy Bolin fan I’m delighted I got to hear his playing / music otherwise his talent would not have been revealed to record buyers, it’s just a real shame that his substance abuse problems caused so much trouble.
    His tenure in Deep Purple possibly wouldn’t have occured if the Purple line up with Rodgers had come to pass.

    As Ritchie Blackmore put it
    Taking Blackmore’s place in Purple
    “I don’t envy Tommy Bolin for trying to take my place in Purple. He was a uniquely talented player and it’s unfortunate that he never had the chance to develop with the band the way that I did. His death was an incredible loss, not only for Deep Purple but for guitar fans as well.”
    (Guitar World, May 1999, by Chris Gill)

  31. 31
    MrEd says:

    I just wanted to make a couple/few comments regarding the ‘Deep Purple/Bad Company Connection(s)’ through the years – some direct, some ‘by extension’:

    In 1968, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord & Ian Paice guested on future Bad Co. bassist Boz Burrell’s single, “I Shall Be Released” & “Down In The Flood”
    In 1973, ex-Free & future Bad Co. lead vocalist Paul Rodgers turns down an offer to join DP replacing the departing Ian Gillan.
    In the late ’70s, Jon Lord, Ian Paice & (I think) David Coverdale join in with members of Bad Co. (Mick Ralphs, Boz Burrell & Simon Kirke, I think) for a semi-impromptu night of jamming and music, with the band billed as the “Pisshill Artistes”.
    In 1989, during a time of uncertainty in the wake of DP dismissing Ian Gillan, rumors begin that Ritchie Blackmore is thinking of ressurecting Rainbow & Brian Howe, successor to Paul Rodgers as lead vocalist of Bad Co., is rumored to be on Blackmore’s ‘short list’ of lead vocalists he’s considering to front Rainbow.
    Also in 1989/90, when Deep Purple decides to carry with a replacement for Gillan, Brian Howe is allegedly auditioned for the post of lead vocalist of Deep Purple – as we all kmow, for better or for worse, that job went to Joe Lynn Turner.

  32. 32
    Scratchplate1 says:

    Paul Rodgers is as an important a singer as Gillan and Plant..every hard rock singer since these three (without exception) has based there technique on one of them!!

  33. 33
    Scratchplate1 says:

    Make that one or all three of them!!

  34. 34
    joel andriese says:

    rodgers is good but,coverdale and hughes are better……….

  35. 35
    Blackadder says:

    I had read somewhere that David Coverdale wanted to join DEEP PURPLE at 1990 after Gillan’s sack but Jon Lord did not want him…Is true?It would be fantastic if David at this time had joined DP..DP would be again in the top of the charts…

  36. 36
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Have you ever seen/heard David’s ” vocal gymnastics” around that time?

    It was terrible……………

    I saw him in 1983.Yes, then he was amazing………….

  37. 37
    knight nurse says:

    In late 1971 Blackmore booked some studio time with Ian Paice and Phil Lynott under the band name of Baby Face and talked openly about the project . He also took to habitually singing of Free`s Paul Rodgers, whenerver he could. That means when Gillan was fired, Blackmore wanted to have a new band but changed his mind and went on with Purple. Blackmore loved alway the voice of Paul Rodgers, maybe in the future…? Never too old for rock`n`roll!

  38. 38
    purpleman says:

    I think the whole lot should get together,have a giant concert and record it for all of us purple / seventies,british hard rock fans.Just imagine…..

  39. 39
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Hey, how about Kevin DuBrow? I hear he isn’t doing anything these days.

  40. 40
    Corn Dog says:

    To lampoon somebody’s death only shows you for what you are:-

    Small minded scum

  41. 41
    purpleman says:

    Everybody is entitled to there own opinion,thats what makes purple people so unique.Ive never ran across one i didnt like.Has anybody heard any of jon lords new projects?

  42. 42
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Sorry…..I couldn’t help myself. Light up and celebrate LIFE. Just pokin’ a little fun. You have to admit, it was a great follow-up to the other Blog……only those who were infovleve would get it. Relax man…..I’m just as sinsative about the death as you are, I just deal with it different than you. It’s all good in the end. Just ask Kevin.


  43. 43
    Corn Dog says:

    Great follow up to the other blog?

    No, just a follow up to your further mindless and blinkered witterings.

  44. 44
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Hey Corn Dog,

    You put way too much concern towards an issue that really doesn’t make any difference, unless the difference is made……such as “Saying No”. If you can’t say no, then I guess I understand your intense sympathetic regard to this hopeless worm feeder. I guess if you can’t say no, you thereby relate and take it personal. Sorry for that. I guess I give too much credence for the living and not enough to the dead worm feeders, whom made their choice in life…..and death.

  45. 45
    Corn Dog says:

    Doesnt make a difference??

    Saying No???

    How blind you really are!!

    End of

  46. 46
    Tracy Heyder says:

    I may be blind, but still breathing, and will continue to do so for as long as possible…….

  47. 47
    Duane says:

    I used to be really up on this stuff. However after being sick for 15 years my mind isn’t what it used to be. I think you left out Steve Via playing w/Zappa & David Lee Roth & wasn’t someone from T-Rex mixed up in the Deep purple thing?

  48. 48
    Duane says:

    When I heard Paul R. was going to sing W/ Queen I couldn’t believe it. In my opinion you don’t take a soulful voice & put it with perfection

  49. 49
    Duane says:

    I may be wrong. Does anyone remember Trapeze? Weren’t they mixed up in this somehow?

  50. 50
    Paul Rodgers could have been a Door - Classic Rock Forum says:

    […] Later, I got a call to [join], but I was forming Bad Company at the time, so it wasn

  51. 51
    Someone Who Knows says:

    Rasta Man,

    Jimi Jamison did NOT turn down the Deep Purple offer because of any fear of replacing Gillan. Truth be told, Jamison is ten times the singer that Gillan is.
    Jamison’s management did not want him to take the DP job because it would have interfered with his solo career.

    On a side note: Paul Rodgers first choice to be Bad Company’s guitarist was Neal Schon. But Schon was in the process of forming Journey. Schon had intended to ask Rodgers to be Journey’s lead vocalsist.

  52. 52
    T says:

    As I recall, the name Paul Rodgers popped up several times throughout the history of Deep Purple and Rainbow. Blackmore was a big fan of Rodgers’ voice and also made a reference to the “way he moves”. Blackmore also discussed Rodgers in conversation with other musicians. Unfortunately, I do not remember the source of the article in question.

    I agree with some of the comments above that Joe Lynn Turner’s timbre characteristics are similar to Rodgers’. It it likely that this is one reason Turner was hired for the Rainbow job. Certainly this is heard on songs such as “Jealous Lover”.

    Frankly, I believe Rodgers was intimidated by both Blackmore *and* Gillan. The offer to join Purple would have been lucrative, and the music they were making was in a similar vein. I believe Rodgers did not want to follow Gillan’s groundbreaking vocal footsteps and Blackmore’s insistence on creative direction may have been too much. That is too bad because Rodgers’ style and vocal qualities would have fit right in with a MkIII Purple and very possibly would have kept Blackmore interested for a few more Purple albums.

    On the other hand, Rodgers’ decision to move along on his own led to an incredibly successful career outside of the tumultuous Purple family. When one considers that point, maybe the singer knew what he was doing and chose not to become a part of an already-established line of musicians through a revolving door.

  53. 53
    Supertrouper says:

    Seven-47 wonders what burn/Stormbringer would have been like with Rodgers instead of Coverdale.
    Why do people type such crap?
    Without Coverdale there wouldn’t have been a Burn or Stormbringer, as he wrote the songs.

  54. 54
    purrfect stranger says:

    Wow, the vocalist from Survivor ten times superior to Gillan? What are people smoking nowadays? As for Paul Rodgers I love his work in The Firm. I think personally that was his greatest work much like I thought Coverdale/Page was his greatest work. Then again maybe because I aint smoking anything I hear things differently.

  55. 55
    LRT says:

    “Intimidated?” Oh dear…. RIP, Jimi Jamison.

  56. 56
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Thank GOD Jamison wasn’t chosen. Don’t think I could handle “eye of the tiger” at a Purple show. JLT was bad enough. Talk about ‘Bad Company’? That surely would have been.

    RIP Jimi.

  57. 57
    Bill says:

    Jimi Jamison was NOT the original vocalist on “Eye Of The Tiger.” It was sung by Dave Bickler. Jamison sang the Survivor hits “Burning Heart” “High On You” “I Can’t Hold Back” “Is This Love” ” The Search Is Over” “The Moment Of Truth.”

    Jamison also was the lead singer of the metal band “Cobra,” hard-rock band “Target” and sang the theme song to Baywatch “I’m Always Here.”

  58. 58
    Troy says:

    Jimi Jamison was a damned good singer. Listened to his music in the 70’s. Target was great. Just listened to both albums all the way through today while working in the yard. Good to hear it again.

    Hey, does anybody remember Cobra playing at Bald Knob, Arkansas ? Did anybody record that on video ? Only time I got to see them.

  59. 59
    Mark says:

    Some pretty funny stuff in here. The very idea that Paul Rodgers would be ‘intimidated’ by Blackmore or Gillan has kept me laughing on and off for the last half hour. Not only was Rodgers notorious for standing his ground and never backing down from either an argument or a fistfight, he’s also the man who told Jimmy Page that ‘I’m doing the solo on Radioactive, Jimmy’ and then had the big hairy balls to follow Freddie Mercury. The idea that Paul Rodgers, of all people, was too timid to follow Ian Gillan is hilarious!

  60. 60
    AL Tru says:

    I’ve read where Rodgers did get together over a weekend with DP but wasnt interested because in his words ” I’m not a screamer “.
    Absolutely NO ONE could touch Gillan in his prime.
    it took Coverdale & Hughes to attempt to replace Gillan. Hughes should have been lead vocalist.

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