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Heartbreaker

heartbreaker cd release artwork

A fairly obscure 1970s band called Heartbreaker recorded some demos at the Kingsway Studios run at the time by Ian Gillan, with the man himself and Colin Towns making guest appearances on several of the tracks. Said demos have now been issued as a limited edition CD album. The label blurb reads:

Heartbreaker was formed in 1973 by Steve Annetts (who later joined NWOBHM band After Dark), Ian Foster, Dave Sexton, Roger Lewis, Keith Scutter and Andy Hill on keyboards. The band seemed to be on the right track when Johnny Glover (ex-Free/Spooky Tooth manager) and Richard Griffiths (Island/Sony Music/Virgin/etc.) picked them up and a deal with EMI was secured. After 1976 there were a few line up changes (Tiff Turtle & Rob Snook on guitars). Glover was gone by 76 and Ian Gillan steps in recording several tracks in his studio with guest appearances on a few tracks of Colin Towns (Gillan’s Keyboard player) and Mr. Gillan himself. This partnership with Gillan marks the epitome of the band but a record deal didn’t materialise: times were changing, all major labels in the UK were after Punk bands) and the band demotivated and vanished for lack of support. For the first time ever, the Heartbreaker album made up of a collection of demos, sees the light of day, including some earlier 1974 recordings as bonus featuring the original band line-up. Presented in a 16-page booklet and carefully remastered, this is a true gem for all fans of classic British Rock.

The formal description of the release from the label’s online store provides further details:

Ian Gillan does backing vocals on Angel in Rags and plays percussion on Heartbreaker.

Colin Towns plays keyboards on Angel in Rags and Kingsway Reprise.

Thanks to Steve LaRocque for the heads up.



14 Comments to “Heartbreaker”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:

    Yo, this should be an interesting CD to listen to…I’ll look forward to some reviews since there’s no links to the tunes…

    And it appears that the Deep Purple family tree just got a lot more complicated once again lol…I can’t count the amount of changes that’s been made to my copy of the family tree poster found within the Rainbow double-album “Finyl Vinyl”…

    Peace !

  2. 2
    Buttockss says:

    Deep Purple’s family tree goes back to the stone ages 🤦‍♂️

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I just ordered it, another küriö för ze kölleckshün.

    “Tiff Turtle” – what a classy name.

    I even collect Nick Simper sessions!

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Buttockss, that is part of the appeal! I always thought that – in contrast – the Led Zep family tree lacked any real depth. It takes about 10 seconds to accquaint yourself with it.

    And Paul Martinez (ex-Stretch, PAL, Chicken Shack and Robert Plant’s band) has the honor to connect both.

    Ok, ok, I forgot David Coverdale, but Paul came first!!! Tony Franklin too, via The Firm- and Whitesnake-memberships.

  5. 5
    Gregster says:

    @3 We’ll look forward to your thoughts on this album ! With some luck they’ll equal the Tommy Bolin sessions, though it’s different territory for sure.

    Nick Simper seemed like a good-bloke for sure, & could play fine imo…But anyone in the “music business” knows sooner or later, that you’ve got 18-24 months before regrouping is typically required of a band, for a host of reasons…Any longer is time-on-period…At least he has the Mk-I albums to be very proud of…(And without starting a fight, & find the Mk-I albums much better listening than say anything from Pink Floyd with Sid Barrett, not that they’re bad tunes, just Sid is grossly overrated imo…I like to play the Mk-I albums for a 60’s vibe, less so “A Piper at the gates of Dawn” is all I mean to say.

  6. 6
    Dan Russell says:

    @Buttocks Perfectly put.

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster: As a bassist, I liked Nick’s very melodic style too, in many ways he was more adventurous than Roger, especially initially (Roger’s bass playing only really came into its own around Fireball/Machine Head, he was still finding his feet on In Rock, perhaps overawed by the instrumental prowess of the three other instrumentalists). The thing was however, that Nick played with a very dominant 60ies vibe and sound – and Purple wanted to be a band of the 70ies. It is what Ian Paice once said: “With Nick, anything he played you knew where he came from …” (e.g. from the era before the British Beat Explosion).

    And, in addition, in line with that 60ies concept of playing, Nick did not lock in as tightly with Little Ian as Roger did (Paicey to Roger in the early days of Mk II: “I lead, you follow.”) which Roger was prepared to do, he “flowed” with Purple’s talented drummer. Nick kind of played where the music would take him (and he was good at that). A major difference between Mk I and II is how the rhythm section works more as a unit and lays a heavier foundation on the latter (and it wasn’t a one-way road either, Paiceys drumming underwent changes too as he pulled more together with Roger).

    All that said, Nick’s bustling bass lines (not always that anchored with what Little Ian was doing) were among Mk I’s high points.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grvmB4q19g8

  8. 8
    Gregster says:

    @7 Uwe: I have no doubt that your studies with the “playing” differences between Roger & Nick’s is correct. I was only referring to seeing Nick discuss matters in a “Rainbow” legends(?) interview, & he seemed like a good fellow, who got on well with everyone, & admitted that for sure, Roger was a better replacement that enhanced the band, & ensured their further successes. He even went on to disclose a moment when asked by RB “Please stop smiling” !!! And he replied “Ritchie, has it ever occurred to you that I’m smiling because I’m happy to see you”…LOL !

    The Mk-I albums are great imo. They were an exciting young band then for sure, similar enough to be part of the 60’s general scene, but adventurous enough to be what we call now-days “progressive”. And much more rewarding “musically” to listen to than Pink Floyd was at the time. Pink Floyd really got their act together imo starting with the awesome movie soundtracks that they made, such as “More” & “Zabriskie Point”. These get played quite often over here.

    The beauty of Mk-II was the decision (after the concerto) to focus on developing a hard-rock style…And man-o-man did they blow everything away with “In Rock”, & the following albums. Mk-III only really gave us the one album “Burn”, & the live beauty, “Made in Europe”…-( At least until more recent times with the extra live releases ).

    All this to say, I really like Mk-I DP, & DP’s evolution there-after reflects many a band’s experiences, where there’s “generally” a window of 18-24 months before niggles & other silly things often break-up a working band unit. That said, DP have survived & moved on quite steadily since 1994 imo, with only 1 x retirement & illness causing some concern.

    * I hope that all is well at home Steve, & that your quality time is just that with your wife !

    Peace !

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I never really studied Nick, I just grew up listening to him! And when I started on bass in 1977, I initially found his bass lines among all Deep Purple bassists easiest to pick out and replicate.

    Roger was more difficult to hear for me in the mix initially, Mk ll’s sound was denser and more guitar-, organ- and drums-centric plus he really only found his classic “Glover sound” once he switched to his Rickenbacker on Machine Head (his sound with the Fender Precision on In Rock and the Fender Mustang on Fireball had been unremarkable and he was dissatisfied with both in hindsight).

    Glenn influenced me a lot too, he actually played less notes than either Roger or Nick, but what and how he played was more commanding and rhythmically intricate. He’s also the grittiest player of the three and had that lovely “HERE I AM !!!” gung-ho attitude with all those high register slides and fills he did.

  10. 10
    AndreA says:

    Mc Bride definitely
    https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=624352092388161&set=a.272461160910591&type=3

    Ciao Steve, wishing well,
    I’ll miss You.

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Don Airey must now be looking out for a new guitarist for hs solo band! Can’t believe that the Purple management would let a Don Airey/Simon McBride Band tour, the venue sizes would devalue the main brand.

  12. 12
    Gregster says:

    @ 9 & 11…Yes Uwe, I’ve found with my own recordings, that when using the humbucker pick-up on my bass ( It has both Sngl-Cl & HmBckr), there’s much more punch, definition & clarity that cuts through the final mix, without having to increase levels, especially on the heavier numbers…Maybe that’s what was captured on later Mk-II recordings with Rogers Rickenbacker ?…

    Perhaps the band wasn’t interested in negotiating & /or looking for someone else, when Simon has ticked all the boxes. We should be thanking Don for the suggestion ( & Simon too ), as we still have a band, gigs to see, & possibly a new recording in the future to cement the occasion…*Steve leaving may have created a few thoughts of “that’s it, we’re done now” with the others & fans alike…

    Thanks Don !

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster @12: Rickenbacker 4001/4003 basses are actually single coil basses (like a Fender Jazz Bass), not humbucker ones like Fender Precision, Fender Mustang or Gibson Thunderbird.

    But you can still get them to cut through as the recordings of Chris Squire, Sir Paul (Sgt Pepper!) and Geddy Lee on the earlier Rush albums show. Rics have a very specific sound and tend to be divisive among bassists, you either love them or hate them.

    That said, in the 70ies Roger was always on a quest with his bass sound and while his Ric 4001 was stock on Machine Head and Made in Japan, he changed the front pick-up to two Fender Jazz Bass single coils in slanted positioning (otherwise the pole pieces wouldn’t have aligned with the narrower string spacing of the Ric) + wired as a joint humbucker for WDWTWA and the following tours in the end stage of Mk II, you’ve probably seen pics:

    Roger’s Ric unaltered state:

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/92/f2/bf/92f2bf6940058b51c5ba7d4f292841d5.jpg

    Roger‘s Ric in „the slanted Jazz Bass pick-ups experiment“ guise:

    https://www.talkbass.com/attachments/screenshot_2016-02-25-13-43-38-png.810524/

    He is on record for regretting the – visually unappealing – modification in hindsight.

  14. 14
    Gregster says:

    @13. Thanks Uwe ! As a guitarist, it’s easy to “see” the differences with pick-ups, though you have to be careful with Gibson, their covers, & what may be a P-90 living in there lol !

    Bass guitar sound “is” a strange world imo, as you can spend a lot of time finding a unique tone, that sadly, will ultimately, mostly get lost in the mix, unless there’s room only for the bass to breathe, say in a solo. And that goes for Geddy Lee too imo, though careful listening does reveal a super treble-type sound, where string nuances & fret-rattle are clearly heard, especially live…

    I admit to only really learning a few things about Stratocasters,( & perhaps a little about Gisbson’s as I have an SG too), but simply thought that what lives on a guitar, transferred over to a bass, meaning that Fender & single-coil p/ups went hand-in-hand across all the range. ( I’ll have to grab Geddy Lee’s book on Bass Guitars now I think LOL ) !

    It’s also strange that I can ball-park my Stratocasters sound with the SG’s, with the main difference being that with the Fender, you often dial-up settings & sounds, such as compression or overdrive, but with the SG, you’re pulling these settings down…My bass has a blender dial, where you can have sngl-cl or hmbckr, & or both if you want…The hmbckr definitely has a tighter, & more focused range on this bass guitar than its sngl-cl, which is open & more airy, & needs more push on the faders when recording to get similar levels.

    All that said, Lace Sensors will cure all ills in this world of pick-ups & sound imo !

    Peace !

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