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Dm, Gm, Cmaj, Amaj

Guitar World has an article on Yngwie Malmsteen’s 80s cover of the Highway Star which contains an undated quote from Blackmore about the two solos on the track, both becoming legendary:

I wrote that out note for note about a week before we recorded it. And that is one of the only times I have ever done that. I wanted it to sound like someone driving in a fast car, for it to be one of those songs you would listen to while speeding. And I wanted a very definite Bach sound, which is why I wrote it out—and why I played those very rigid arpeggios across that very familiar Bach progression — Dm, Gm, Cmaj, Amaj. I believe that I was the first person to do that so obviously on the guitar, and I believe that that’s why it stood out and why people have enjoyed it so much.

Jon Lord worked his part out to mine. Initially, I was going to play my solo over the chords he had planned out. But I couldn’t get off on them, so I made up my own chords and we left the spot for him to write a melody. The keyboard solo is quite a bit more difficult than mine because of all those 16th notes.

Thanks to Andrey Gusenkov for the info.

16 Comments to “Dm, Gm, Cmaj, Amaj”:

  1. 1
    Erick Nava Riefenstahl says:

    I have an old guitar world issue of the 90s, it includes that quote which ends “The keyboard solo is quite a bit more difficult than mine because of all those 16th note and because we could drink more and more whiskey” or something regarding the amount of alcohol they used to drink

  2. 2
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Great to read Ritchie’s description about how that song came about and his expression toward Jon Lord’s part being more difficult than his. Also nice to revisit the Malmsteen version. It does solidify the fact of the Blackmore influence which also solidifies the fact that he would have been the obvious choice for the band had they wished to duplicate the Old Purple sound instead of moving on when Blackmore did. I’m glad they chose the ‘different route’ but at the same time have always sort of wished for a Malmsteen MK along the way too.


  3. 3
    Dave Berry says:

    I also recommend the “classic albums – making of machine head” video/dvd for more anecdotes like these….

  4. 4
    Steve Marshall says:

    Yes. Doesn’t Jon say that the Bach chords were his contribution?

  5. 5
    nupsi59 says:

    The keyboard solo in Highway Star is Jon Lord’s workout, as he mentioned it in the “Making of Machine Head”.

    A good DVD, unfortunatelly they forgot “Lazy”!

    In germany we would say “Ritchie tells a lot when the day is long…”

    Have a nice day!

  6. 6
    Chris Mallinson says:

    On the BBC series “Classic Albums” and the episode that featured Machine Head, Martin Birch alluded to the fact that Ritchie had already constructed the solo prior to the recording session.

    Ill dig my VHS out and double check thats what he said, but im sure he did

  7. 7
    Drdp says:

    Highway Star will always be my favorite DP track.
    And will always be the License Plate (HWY STR) on my vintage sports car.

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    Dave @ 3- yes that ‘classic albums ‘dvd is probably the best one, or at least my favourite I should say! I just dug it out from my collection after reading your comment, wonderful!
    Steve@ 4- Yes, Lord shows his Bach influenced (stolen anyone?????) keyboard playing ideas & of course Blackmore the Mozart
    ‘influenced’ arppegios soloing! Great stuff indeed!
    Tracy@2- When I first heard Satriani was ‘filling in’, I thought to myself ‘that isn’t going to work for a permanent replacement’, probably more because I didn’t want that to happen, no disrespect to Satriani at all, just not the ‘type’ of player for Purple in my book.
    The next thought was, ‘please don’t get Malmsteen’ I would have loathed that. His ego & Blackmore cloning would have been too much in my book & probably to the band members also no doubt!
    When I read that Morse was the permanent replacement, I then ‘knew’ that that would be much more to my liking & could definitely work out ok for the band! But then again I was a big Morse fan back then & still are to this day, so I guess I was being bias in my ‘expectation’ or desire for DP. Cheers.

  9. 9
    Anthony says:

    Cracking solo from Ritchie and if you listen closely you can hear he also plays various parts in different keys. There’s so much going on with this solo. The quintessential Deep Purple song!

  10. 10
    oleg says:

    Iconic song!


  11. 11
    ktyler says:

    ppppppppppppppplease play highway star on upcoming usa jaunt

  12. 12
    al says:

    @ 8 that is actually an interview of Gillan& Paice about finding the right “replacement” for Blackmore,and they said they were adamant against hiring a Blackmore “clone” in Malmsteen! They simply wanted to move on and get a totally different type of player and musicians.Good for them! smart move!

  13. 13
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Taking a totally different player was always a good idea but it does not mean Morse was the right choice.

    Anyway, Malmsteen a same kind of player as Blackmore?


  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    pp@ 13- when I say ‘clone’ that doesn’t necessarily mean in guitar playing technique, although that does also apply here in some ways! Have you ever seen any live or watched any 80’s concert footage of the ‘clone’ Malmsteen? I remember seeing a gig back then, that made me both laugh & cringe at the same time, if that is possible. Well it is actually because it happened to me on that day! His stage antics were embarrassing to say the least! A sad copying of Blackmore in so many ways it was pitiful! I couldn’t watch too much of it, pathetic it was!
    I have a friend who witnessed this also live in concert, here in Oz about 10 years or so ago. He said it was still sad!
    What is that saying ‘be yourself’ I think it is! A clone indeed in my book! Cheers.

  15. 15
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I saw Malmsteen myself in 88.

  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    pp@15- I still own the Rising Force disc & I am listening to it as I type this, haven’t played it in ages. My first introduction to Malmsteen was of course with the No Parole for Rock ‘n Roll album with Alcatraz, way back in the early 80’s! A very talented player indeed. I just thought he didn’t need to mimic Blackmore on stage in any way & Purple didn’t need him at all! Jeff Scott Soto, what a vocalist! Barriemore Barlow on drums from Jethro Tull, although the electronic drums leave a lot to be desired, but it was the 80’s after all!
    It’s a good album. Cheers.

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