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Fireball and S&M books

A couple of new books by Laura Shenton are due to be published by Wymer in September. These follow the “in-depth” album-by-album format pioneered in March with Stormbringer. Caveat emptor: previous output from this author drew, ahem, mixed reviews from our audience.


What: Deep Purple Fireball In-depth by Laura Shenton
When: September 24, 2021
Where: Wymer Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-912782-82-6
Price: £14.99

fireball in depth by laura shenton

Marketing blurb reads:

In 1970, In Rock marked the studio arrival of Deep Purple Mk2. When it came to making a follow-up, times were turbulent and divisive, so much so that there were doubts as to whether Deep Purple would even last!

Sandwiched between In Rock and Machine Head, it is hardly surprising that Deep Purple’s 1971 album, Fireball, is so often overlooked in comparison. It wasn’t an easy time for the band; with demand for more concerts following the success of In Rock, the making of Fireball took over a year and yet, it is an essential album – both in terms of how it documents Deep Purple’s progression as a band and in terms of what it offers overall musically.

In this book, author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an indepth perspective on Fireball from a range of angles including how it came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Deep Purple’s legacy today.

Preorder from the publisher.

Slaves And Masters

What: Deep Purple Slaves And Masters In-depth by Laura Shenton
When: September 24, 2021
Where: Wymer Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-912782-83-3
Price: £14.99

slaves & masters in depth by laura shenton

Marketing blurb reads:

Slaves And Masters is arguably one of the most divisive albums in Deep Purple’s history. A product of Ian Gillan’s sacking from the band and the recruitment of former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, in 1990, Slaves And Masters divided the fanbase enormously. But with four fifths of the classic Mk2 lineup at the helm and a desire to recapture the live feeling in the studio that had been a hallmark of their seventies albums, was it really the worst Deep Purple album as some fans claim?

In this book, author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an indepth perspective on Deep Purple’s thirteenth studio album from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Deep Purple’s legacy today.

Preorder from the publisher.

22 Comments to “Fireball and S&M books”:

  1. 1
    mike whiteley says:

    Any new info on Fire In The Sky ??

  2. 2
    francis says:

    bref comment faire du neuf sur du vieux….aucun intérêt!

  3. 3
    Jake says:

    I was so excited to see a book about Slaves & Masters since it generally gets little attention.

    But then seeing the author, I’m out. I’ve read enough of her Kindle samples to know her style is not anything for me to get excited about. As others have said elsewhere, it just feels like a copy/paste of material she’s sourced from the work others have published.

    I suppose that’s OK if you’re new to a band or album, but it’s not for me.

  4. 4
    uwe hornung says:

    I guess Laura wants to become the next Martin Popoff – judging how the releases of band and album bios by her have increased more recently. That’s ok, there is always room for one more and we all need to make a buck.

    I wouldn’t be too harsh on her. She’ll get better over time. In my book (pun intended), anybody writing about the Purple Family is a good thing. I didn’t think her Tommy Bolin book was a disaster, it contained some stuff I was not aware of and I’ve been following Tommy’s short career for ages.

    That anybody would devote any research at all to the much derided Mk V line-up is in itself commendable. Hardly my favorite DP line-up (do I really have one?), that part of Purple’s history deserves to be documented too. I can still listen to Slaves & Masters today without wincing. At the time I called it “a mix of Deep Purple and Dire Straits”, but that wasn’t really meant as a put-down. That album had its own vibe.

    Fireball was the 70ies Mk II studio album I used to like the least. In Rock was an iconic genre-defining sonic onslaught, Machine Head timelessly elegant plus well-written and Who Do We Think We Are I liked for the subtle pop, even Beatlish influences that crept in (besides, the album is worth having for the lengthy Blackmore solo on Place in Line alone which is a lesson in dynamics for any aspiring rock/blues guitarist). Fireball somehow fell through all the cracks with me, but that has changed over the decades, I now like it for its progish experimental side.

  5. 5
    Dave says:

    I used to think Come Taste The Band was the worst DP album. That all changed when Slaves And Masters came out. Fireball on the other hand is one of the best albums of their seventies output.
    I’ve even considered it the “Sgt. Pepper” of it’s time.

  6. 6
    Solaic says:

    I bought a book about Stormbringer and expected music analysis, music sheets etc etc. When it arrived it was a complete disappointment. A compilation of old well-known facts, recycled from various angles over and over again…yes there are a couple excerpts from the band members interviews at the time, but they dont add much. The whole book could be easily replaced by a 10 page essay….it is not worth this money from any standpoint.

  7. 7
    Bob Worm says:

    After the rubbish book she wrote on Cozy Powell, I wont be buying either of these 🙁

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    That Fireball image is comical. Is that for real or photo shopped, he he he!
    Who are those nancy boys? Cheers.

  9. 9
    uwe hornung says:

    It’s real, it was taken at the photo session that was the basis for the heads on the sleeve. Back in the day when DP were unabashedly still a boy band!


    It looks like something Fin Costello might have done. Very 70ies photo art, but no doubt another iconic DP cover, especially considering that it had to follow In Rock’s spectacular Mount Rushmore image that for me defined early 70ies sleeve art long before I was even a DP fan.

    I always thought Roger looked best on that Fireball sleeve. Perhaps we should hold a “favorite DP member nipple”-contest here? The honorable THE HIGHWAY STAR needs to liven up a little and explore new readership segments. Asexuality really isn’t the answer, guys.

  10. 10
    Dr. Bob says:

    I listen to In Rock & Machine Head more than any album. Fireball and the two most recent albums also get heavy play. This winter I decided to listen to every DP album that isn’t in my heavy play list, including a few that I only listened to once or twice and then collected dust since. I was pleasantly surprised how good those “forgotten” albums were. Except for Slaves & Masters. It’s back in dust bin along with the JLT Rainbow albums.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    I have never seen that photo before, the Purple books I use to own & perusing through magazines for decades & that pops up now. Deep Purple in Shock indeed! I can’t believe Blackmore agreed to that, although that was obviously before he started to ‘dig in & rebel’ I suppose! A boys band or what? Hard rock, you have to be joking! Not a bad looking bunch back in the day, he, he, he! Move over The Bay City Rollers. Cheers.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Hey MacGregor, some more respect for your Scottish clansmen!!! I dug BCR, they were – especially in their later days – an underrated Power Pop band. And unlike Brian Connolly (yet another Scot!), a vocal one-trick-pony, Les McEown (RIP, he only said Bye Bye Baby recently) could actually sing!

    But my favorite Roller was ‘Woody’ who moved from rhythm guitar to bass, obviously a man of great taste,


    who realized that instrumental size matters, yet was always pleasantly humble about it.


    But since you asked, yeah, the Rollers were no stranger to covers featuring bare-chested men.


    Like I said, we need a contest …

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    Uwe, I hope I am not being disrespectful to my Scottish compatriots, heaven forbid as I would be drawn & quartered & my head placed on a spike somewhere. After seeing this Fireball teen girlie pop magazine photo of our beloved hard rockers, I remember seeing a image in my memory from many decades ago of a band somewhere that posed topless, males that is. BCR just happened to be that instant memory.
    However as I typed & then sent the reply I thought it could have been some other act, as that era spawned a few. Was it Slade perhaps, I would hope not as they did rock out a little, but so did Purple on In Rock. The persuasion of management & or a record company would be responsible for that Fireball Purple image me thinks. From being scarred for life all those decades ago seeing those pop magazine covers emanating from the newsagent stand as I perused the rock magazines of course, Ha Ha, to now being scarred for the rest of my life with this Purple image. When & where will this end? I am now starting to worry about my next life & what awaits me there. P.S. I am not sure if I am game to look at those links you have posted, time will tell. Cheers.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    Ok I had a quick look, the scars have deepened considerably. Or maybe I just missed out on a good time back then. Ho hum such is life. On a serious note I did read about Les McKeown passing away a month or so ago. A shame they were ripped off & treated so appallingly in such a way. Cheers.

  15. 15
    uwe hornung says:

    The shelf life of any teenybopper band is limited, about a maximum of three years – that is the time during which young girls discover the other (or the same!) sex, but haven’t turned into young women yet. Once their period is a regular occurrence, a band like BCR withers away. It’s a biological thing. So BCR had their ride (no pun intended, we know how they only drank milk and grew no hair on their chests!), but it had to come to an end.

    For a 1995 BCR Compilation (“Absolute Rollers”), Observer and Guardian journalist Sheryl Garratt wrote the – lovely – sleeve notes. Not so much about BCR as a band, but about what BCR meant to her in her early adolescence (a lot!). And it ends along the lines of “That was my last Rollers summer. When we returned to school, all of the sudden all those terribly spotty young boys with their jeans jackets and Status Quo patches which we had ignored before began to look altogether more interesting …”. That was a great coming of age piece.

    But speaking of teenybopper fandom, in Germany at least the early 70ies alliance between Deep Purple and Germany’s then market leading teen mag BRAVO was pivotal. From early 1970 to late 1971/early 1972, you couldn’t buy a BRAVO issue that did not hail Deep Purple, feature an article or a poster. Purple were winners in their most popular band polls (along with real teenybopper fare). Ian Gillan was widely regarded as Mr Handsome (it also got him the job with Purple in part, ever visual-conscious Blackmore liked that Ian looked a bit like Jim Morrison). Purple’s career-spanning relationship with Didi Zill (then BRAVO’s lead photographer) was forged in those times.

    In the early 70ies, Purple reigned supreme in Germany, way before acts such as Led Zep or Black Sabbath or even The Rolling Stones or The Who. That had to do with the broad audience they reached, their instrumental prowess made them palatable to older rock fans (no one in their right mind could claim that DP couldn’t play or didn’t have their own sound), but at the same time their music was accessible (more so than either Led Zep – who would release “strange”, audience expectations-defeating albums like “III” – or the more robust Sabbath), danceable (the Purple “stomp” hardly ever confused in rock discos) and they had visual appeal via Ian Gillan and Jon Lord. Add a certain Teutonic penchant for classical-inspired riffs and melodies, and you had a winning combination.

  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    It is interesting your point on the front man ‘sex symbol’ comment. A Dutch friend of mine has always said the glam bands were their first craze of going all gooey, so to speak. She & her friends even managed to meet some of the Slade guys after a gig. But that was where it ended when when one strutting Percy wandered into view. Plant was the one apparently for them & many others. I have never really heard of Gillan being talked about in those terms before, he was a handsome character though as were a few other lead vocalists. Purple’s music is more as you stated, accessible & progressive, as were the more progressive bands of that era. Nektar, now there is a class British German influenced band & I have a few of theirs, RTF is a classic. I watched a Brian Eno documentary last week, 1971 to 1977, wonderful it was. The late 70’s had him connected with a German band for who’s name alludes me at this moment. Of course Bowie was there at that point also. That connection between Britain & Holland & Germany was very fruitful indeed at times. Cheers.

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    You probably mean CAN and their producer Conny Plank? The German electronica/ambience trendsetters?

    Ian Gillan’s image in Germany was bolstered by Jesus Christ Superstar (the album was vastly popular in Germany). Though he never played in the musical or movie, his performance and looks became widely identified with Tim Rice’s Jesus figure. And Jesus isn’t asexual in that musical. (And for the record: We all know here how that upstart from the colonies, Ted Neeley, couldn’t hold a candle to Ian’s raw and impassioned performance!)

    Led Zep otoh hardly ever gigged or did promo work in Germany, concentrating on the North American market as was Peter Grant’s masterplan. Consequently, Robert Plant was a much more abstract figure to most people, he looked good, but was far away in lofty spheres (probably Valhalla!). Purple toured so often in Germany, they attained almost local hero status.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Yes indeed Purple were much more known in Germany. Blackmore as a youngster & also Paice were in Germany gigging in their respective earlier careers as we know, so the seeds were already sown there, so to speak. I remember the Gillan JCS cameo also. After much needed research yesterday, the Eno collaboration band was Harmonia. A few guys that were previously in (K)Cluster & Neu (never heard of them, but many of those artists from there I am unfamiliar with). I have been listening to Can lately, rather interesting & I have heard of them over the years but never heard their music. I used to own an Amon Duul 2 live album from the 70’s, so some of their music I sort of know. Other than that the German bands apart from Tangerine Dream & Kraftwerk I am unfamiliar with. Peter Grant, now there is a manger who knew the game & wasn’t to be messed with. He was apparently instrumental in getting artists paid more fairly in the US, especially when the larger stadium gigs commenced. Cheers.

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    Sorry the live album was 801, that Eno lead group of musicians slapped together for a one off project. The Amon Dull 2 record was Vive la Trance a studio album. A much more straight ahead shorter songs album compared to the earlier work of that avant garde progressive band. They were given to me in the late 70’s by a acid head ‘distant’ friend at the time. Says it all really especially as he was the guy who introduced me to Hawkwind & also gave me 2 of their late 70’s albums, Quark, Strangeness & Charm & PXR5. Cheers.

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    Just wondering if anyone has heard from Sir Blackwood Richmore as he hasn’t posted for a while.
    Hope he is ok. Cheers.

  21. 21
    JohnH says:

    Definitely won’t be buying any more of her books. The Cozy Powell book is without a doubt the WORST book I’ve probably ever bought and never finished it . We need a proper Cozy book like the kind Greg Prato does.

  22. 22
    uwe hornung says:

    Her Stormbringer book wasn’t bad at all – it’s well-researched for someone who wasn’t even born when that album came out! Sure, there are a lot of interview snippets in it that I have heard of or read before during the course of my 45 years of DP fandom, but also enough new stuff (for me) to keep me interested.

    Is it high art? No. But solid journalism/trainspotting. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything more comprehensive on that particular album (which in my personal view has aged nicely over the decades).

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