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Child in Time: the story behind the song

A short documentary from Dutch TV on the story behind this iconic Deep Purple tune, with interviews from Roger Glover and Ian Gillan.

Thanks to BraveWords for the heads up.

21 Comments to “Child in Time: the story behind the song”:

  1. 1
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Wow… What a great analysis from our wise and beloved Mr Glover about how the two songs compliment each other. As for Ritchie’s intentions of been funny by deliberbity playing the song against IG wishes live on stage to wind him up I would say that is pure cruelty and devilish and even Pavarotti’s voice would have diminished if he tried to sing it night after night.

  2. 2
    Theo says:

    Did the others have no say in it? Where they afraid to step up to the cruel guitarist? Did they think that there was no future without him?
    Did that singer take care of his voice? When you consider that most of part of the show was instrumental? For instance Space Trucking was about 20 minutes, how much vocals?

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    In hindsight, maybe the song should not have been in the set list during the 80’s & especially during the early 90’s. When I witnessed Gillan the band in action in ’82, he was singing really hard, pushing himself too much, over the top yes indeed, did we enjoy it, yes indeed! When he was in Sabbath he was hammering the vocals too hard & then the Purple reunion yet again at times. However back in the day, we as the audience lapped it up. It is definitely a younger Gillan’s tour de force. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Tony says:

    Child in Time ….certainly live….. best song ever !!!!

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think Ritchie just liked the song, he’s played it with Mk III (early on, Coverdale would do a verse or two), Mk V, Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night. Attributing all that to just being a pain in the ass for IG (who wasn’t around in any of those line ups to be really bothered by their performance of the song) sounds very conspiracy theory to me.

    Truth of the matter is, Purple didn’t have a lot of ballads, but CiT was at least in part one of them. And it was an Ian Gillan signature tune too. At least that is how Ian Gillan used to see it himself or did Ritchie force him to perform and record it with IGB und early Gillan as well?

    Big Ian sees the world like he wants to see it – bits of revisionism included.

  6. 6
    ivica says:

    As a big DP fan, I consider myself blessed to have my favorite band in action for over 50 years. They go on tours, record albums, and very good albums for their age,there is so much talents in all lineups.
    But damn ..that on the setlist for a quarter of a century is not even the best song for me “Child in Time” .Imagine that they do not play at concert LZ “Stairway to Heaven” or Queen ” Bohemian Rhapsody “!? was disabled and by that DP is a specific band
    “Child Time” “beautiful child DP “primarily Ritchie and Big Ian ..when one is missing, song is not for performance.

  7. 7
    Peter J says:

    Ritchie being an ass as always… But great video.
    Agree with you #1. Congrats to Gillan, what a singer, even now!

  8. 8
    Johan Antonides says:

    To mister Gillan I would like to say: ‘Grow Up’. Blackmore might have been an a****le from time to time. but you are still a Child moaning about it after all this Time.

  9. 9
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Whether you are on IG side of Ritchie’s side on this point I have one word to say ‘Peace’
    ‘CHILD IN TIME’ Could evolve to be even bigger than Nessun dorma. The song is gaining great momentum and endless of fans worldwide. That’s is bigger than any ego👍

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    If the key was an issue, why not sing it today a half-step or a full note down? They’ve done it with Perfect Strangers (if not very elegantly, considering that Don plays the organ intro in the old key and then switches the key as the band enters).

    So many bands have done that and I don’t have an issue with it, singing a song is not an olympic discipline.

    Probably because it was a bone of contention between Blackers and him for so long, Ian now hates the song. Too bad.

    BTW, the “tenor passagio” bits were never the key element for me in the song, I latched onto the organ intro und the lyrics.

    And let’s face it, if in this day and age those high parts were pre-recorded, most people in the audience wouldn’t care or notice. For ages, Queen did Bohemian Rhapsody with the opera part from tape because it could not be replicated live, they’d even walk off stage for it so as to Not rate a wrong Impression. 10cc could already in the 70ies not play I’m Not In Love live without backing tapes because of the spheric layered backing vocals – just like Queen they admitted it. And at the more recent Judas Priest gigs I’ve been to, I have marvelled how Rob hits all those high notes with his trademark screams, except that every scream nowadays sounds exactly the same during the gig – as if they were dialed in.

    To the credit of Big Ian: I have never heard another singer – male or female – do the song justice when covering it. Technically yes, emotionally no. When Ronnie Romero does it for instance, I get goosebumps, but not the pleasant kind. ; – )

  11. 11
    Boswell's Johnson says:

    It’s amazing how fans take personal offence to what members of the band have to say about the creation/performance of songs – as if they collect royalties themselves. As for myself, I likey the song!

  12. 12
    francisdu33@orange.fr says:

    I don’t really understand this kind of speech …. deep purple was deep purple with the trio paice, lord blackmore … after that it is only a pale copy ….

  13. 13
    Buttockss says:

    @ 8….Wouldn’t that be screaming all the time?

  14. 14
    Theo says:

    Just one more remark.

    Ritchie started that song? Of I’m not mistaken the song has a famous keyboard intro……

  15. 15
    Tommy H. says:

    For musicians it’s clear that many songs (not all of them) only work in specific keys – one has to try. If you’ve found the right key even a semitone off may be too much. It’s funny that Gillan complains about that. I remember that he had been quite proud of his register and range. He obviously really enjoyed those incredibly difficult singing parts when he was younger. He would deliberately go up there all the time (even in the 80ies), for sure more often than necessary or demanded by a song. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that the other guys forced him to do that. It actually sounded terrific and he knew that. However, I agree that it’s cruel to do Child in Time every day, even for someone with that kind of range.

  16. 16
    Andrew M says:

    @10 “Don plays the organ intro in the old key and then switches the key as the band enters”.
    Yeah, I hate that! The organ part is meant to anticipate the riff, which doesn’t work so well with the jump.

  17. 17
    Borus says:

    @14. Thats what I was thinking. Blackmore doesnt start te song. Its the 3 famous organ notes which start the song. Why blame blackmore? Did he play the hamond ?

  18. 18
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Blackmore couldn’t even start that song on stage if he wanted to (nobody would recognize it just from the guitar chords), Jon Lord would have to. And Jon played it often at his solo concerts because it was the DP tune most identified with him.

    Ritchie justly has a notorious track record, but he’s not to blame for everything.

  19. 19
    Henrik says:

    It’s always Lord opening the song, so it isn’t correct Ritchie would start playing it.
    I only heard Ritchie opening the song once, Live in Paris 1975 and only for a brief interlude.

  20. 20
    Brian says:

    @14 @17 @18 @19 Listen to the isolated guitar track of Ritchie from the studio version: https://youtu.be/5SlliHpzv_0 Then you might understand that, yes, the song can be recognisably started on guitar.

    Also, unless you have a recording of every single gig that mark II purple did, you cannot say what did or didn’t happen on some nights. Ian Gillan was there for every gig he played with Purple, the rational view is that his version of what happened has far greater credibility than yours (you weren’t there, he was)

  21. 21
    MacGregor says:

    @ 20 -thank you for that link, wonderful to hear both of those songs guitar tracks isolated like that. Cheers.

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