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The Highway Star

Named after Glenn Miller

Louder Sound is reposting an interview with Glenn Hughes, first published in 2020.

Flying away from the site of the California Jam, Glenn Hughes only twigged that he wasn’t actually under arrest when the ‘policewoman’ sharing his helicopter took off her hat, shook her hair loose and knelt down to unzip his white satin trousers.

Perhaps if he hadn’t been up all night partying with Ozzy Osbourne, or wasn’t still buzzing after performing in front of 400,000 festival goers, Deep Purple’s 21-year-old vocalist/bassist might have realised that his German tour manager Ossy Hoppe was taking the piss when he solemnly informed him that the local police had been handed film footage of Hughes snorting coke behind the amps during the quintet’s co-headlining show on the evening of April 6, 1974 and wanted to have a word with the young Englishman. As it was, the prank “scared the crap” out of Hughes, so much so, in fact, that he politely declined the offer of fellatio from his mischievous airborne travelling companion.

“I was too freaked out to do anything,” he recalls, ruefully. “Looking back, I wish I could have helped her out.”

Dressed in black, and sporting tinted sunglasses, a pashmina scarf and two fistfuls of chunky rings, we join Hughes today in an upscale boutique hotel in Cambridge. The Voice Of Rock, arguably the greatest British rock singer of his generation, is in fine fettle today as he reflects upon five remarkable decades in the music business, a journey which has included stints in Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Black Country Communion and some wild adventures with drug dealers, gangsters, movie stars and beauty queens en route. Hughes freely admits that he has “lived the lives of 10 men” and “done everything that you can imagine, good and bad, wonderful and silly.”

“I’m so fortunate not to have died,” he confesses. “I’ve overdosed, been pistol-whipped, shot at, stabbed, run over in a car… and I’m still here to tell the tale. Where shall we start?”

Continue reading in Louder Sound.

58 Comments to “Named after Glenn Miller”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    It is the attention seeking headlines of Louder ‘classic rock’ at it again. I noticed this article a few days ago & rolled my eyes, again. 400,ooo people now, oh my that Californian Jam concert attendance grows bigger as each year passes. The voice of rock, please please me. ‘Arguably the greatest British rock vocalist of his generation’ ha ha ha. Oh that is a pisser indeed. Turn it on classic rock. Paul Rodgers was always labelled with that many many years ago & well before Glenn Hughes. And the proverbial Black Sabbath name dropping mentioned yet again. Just have to have as many of those big names as possible to sell another repeated article. Oh well there will be people commenting at Classic Rock on their facebook section & as I don’t do facebook, I alas cannot comment there. Apologies for ranting here about it. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Georgivs says:

    Interesting stuff from Glenn. I was quite amused to read that they “sold one million copies of that record” (talking about Hughes/Thrall thing).

    I started googling and dug out a contemporary article in the The Oklahoman devoted to the start of the H/Th world tour, no less. There is some interesting stuff there where you can see how Glenn has been slightly twisting his narrative over the years. It also includes an interesting statement that their record “sold 60,000 copies in the U.S. alone, without the benefit of a radio single or a tour to promote it”. Finally, it testifies that Glenn was doing “Highway Star” as an encore back in glorious 1982. Enjoy:

  3. 3
    Gregster says:

    Well, well, well…

    From the headlines above, it becomes clear that Glenn’s failures stem from not keeping his mind on the job…

    Peace !

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Receiving oral sex up in the air from a woman wearing a uniform who is not a flight attendant … WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE???!!! Glenn really blew that one.

    I didn’t know the California Breed ending was so messy. I saw them in a near-empty club in Mainz at the time before about a hundred people – the gig had been horribly promoted. Glenn didn’t let it show and was in his usual OTT California Jam mode, but I found young Andrew Watt lacking – in a trio format he was out of his depth/still too inexperienced. We’re used to hearing Glenn with excellent lead guitarists like Galley, Blackmore, Bolin, Thrall, Moore, Bonilla, Iommi, Norum, Bonamassa, Aldrich, Satriani and all the other guys he’s had in his solo band – Andrew wasn’t in that league at the time. It was an odd pairing and I wasn’t surprised that it all folded soon after.

  5. 5
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    MacGregor @1,

    Nice commentary and spot on. Your mention of not being on facebook brought a smile to my muzzle. Neither am I. I have better things to do with my time than telling the world what I’m doing day to day. Or getting bored by people posting 200+ pictures from Saint- Tropez….

    Uwe @4,

    I listened to the Breed album once and it remains on my CD rack. ‘Nuff said….


  6. 6
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    Most “experts” peg the California I concert attendance to be about 250,000. They ought to do a 50-year anniversary gig in April, although we know that’s not happening. We’re fortunate most of the lads are still alive. I guess Ritchie and Candy drove up the road in New York State where they live for a couple of jam sessions recently.

  7. 7
    Ole says:

    Please stop posting stuff regarding Glenn Hughes. 🙂 Maybe it’s better that the site only publishes news, not on digging back into history. Too many grumpy old men (like me) writing bitter comments! 😉

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    I think that the ‘official’ ticket sale are app 250,000 & then there are the gate crashers & how anyone could estimate those numbers is beyond me. Still it was a sea of people there & the unexpected crowd numbers caught the officials out & traffic congestion & parking was a major problem. This story from 2014 has a few interesting ‘facts’ about it.


  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    Regarding Glenn Hughes comments I guess his memory comes into play regarding those days of yore. Blackmore’s name is on most of the songs as a co songwriter on the Stormbringer album. The two that Hughes mentioned & the other guitar riff based songs in fact: Lady Double Dealer, High Ball Shooter, Gypsy & one or two others. I think there are two songs where his name is not associated, Holy Man & Hold On from my memory. In regards to Hughes supposedly ‘not living in the past’ & only the present & future, why does he continually go on about all that drug shit & hedonism then? Don’t talk about it if so & tell the journo to NOT ask about it before the interview & if they do then kill it off promptly. But then again it is all sensationalism isn’t it. I don’t read that rubbish & it is so easy to skip past it & continue when it is about the music etc. This interview required a fair bit of skipping that rubbish indeed. Keep that spot light shining Glenn. Regarding Andrew Watts I remember writing years ago about my concerns for him as a younger & naive musician getting involved with that set up. I hope he escaped ok & hasn’t been affected by any of the negative crap that so often goes with all that.
    @ 5 – thanks for the comment & nice to see someone else NOT on Facebook etc. Are we the only two, hmmmmmmm now that is a worry indeed. Cheers.

  10. 10
    Daniel says:

    #9: Watt is now producing other artists (Ozzy Osbourne, Rolling Stones, amongst others).

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I‘m not on Facebook/Meta either (or Twitter before it was called X or Instagram), but I do like Glenn and appreciate his abilities and talent. The lengths people will go to to dismiss him as a vital part of Purple‘s history are amazing. Take him out of the equation, and Mk III‘s vocal sound would have been nothing like it earthshakingly was, not even the Burn chorus would have worked, nor would have Paicey‘s drumming developed in the direction it did in 1973-1976.

    And the 400.000 figure re Cal Jam is not Glenn‘s invention, it has been mentioned again and again, there was a huge number of non-paying visitors who knew that they would at the very least hear something due to the outsize PA used there (and advertised beforehand in the press), evening their view was obstructed and/or the stage too far away. But whether 250.000 or 400.000, it was a major and commercially successful event.

    Anybody with a set of ears can hear that Blackmore‘s influence on Stormbringer was much diminished, he was in the midst of a divorce, holding back material for his solo album and tired of the Purple assembly line, he has said as much in interviews himself and only allowed three songs to be played from Stormbringer on MK III‘s final tour, all of them written by him and DC. Yet when Glenn draws attention to that fact (and how it gave the others room to spread their wings), the usual suspects are quick to belittle his contributions.

    Glenn & his drug history are a recurring theme, yes, but he regularly doesn‘t bring it up, but only reacts to journalists‘ questions. And of course he‘s open to speak about it, as people who have survived addiction regularly are, it‘s part of the recovery process. Glenn can be justly happy and proud that he was (i) lucky and (ii) eventually strong enough to achieve sobriety, he did not end like Jimi Hendrix, Gary Thain, Tommy Bolin, Bon Scott, Brian Connolly or David Byron, all power to him.

    Pro-Glenn rant over.

  12. 12
    Friedhelm says:

    @9: No, you are not the only two. Count me in.

  13. 13
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 4

    Are there men who dont like a BJ?

    I did meet some strange fellows along the way, men that wanted to receive it but rejected it giving it back because it was dirty, ow man……

    In the Netherlands , I think it was in MUZIEK EXPRES, but its a long time I encountered and stashed it away, so a bit of doubt here, a cartoon was published with DP MK 3 in their yet being harassed by a naked groupie outside on the wings of the plane.

    Glenn in his white trousers, could have been the moment following up to the “incident”.

    Well, I m off.

    NP Dont remember if I ever encountered this recording, it sounds great.
    Ow man, the shame that they split up after that.

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    „I did meet some strange fellows along the way, men that wanted to receive it but rejected it giving it back because it was dirty, ow man …“

    Put them on a hit list of a common cunning linguist, a master of many tongues …

    Also for dietary reasons: Fish once a day, keeps the doctor away!

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    @ 11- We obviously both worship at two different alters Uwe. “Anybody with a set of ears can hear that Blackmore‘s influence on Stormbringer was much diminished, he was in the midst of a divorce, holding back material for his solo album and tired of the Purple assembly line, he has said as much in interviews himself and only allowed three songs to be played from Stormbringer on MK III‘s final tour, all of them written by him and DC. Yet when Glenn draws attention to that fact (and how it gave the others room to spread their wings), the usual suspects are quick to belittle his contributions” Is that an attempt at reverse psychology Uwe?. It isn’t Hughes (or the others) we are talking about re lack of contributing to the songwriting on the Stormbringer album. Nice try though & a bit early in the year don’t you think. Unless Blackmore bullied people to have his name included on the credits on all but 2 songs or maybe he had the Ouija board out & they were under a spell & placed his name on those songs unaware of what they were doing. Seriously though who came up with those riffs & also the black musician playing that song that Blackmore ‘borrowed’ the idea from for “Love Don’t Mean a Thing’. High Ball Shooter another Blackmore riff. As Hughes says in this interview if it isn’t edited in some form or not we don’t know. ‘ Most of the rest of that album was written by me, David & Jon in the studio in the moment as Ritchie turned up with only two songs’. So Blackmore would have been involved in most others we presume, all be it less with some songs and more in others & that is why it sounds the way it does. So it is poor old Ritchie being ‘discredited’ in certain ways, not Hughes at all. As I said in my first comment, Hughes memory a bit hazy perhaps & age itself can do that but all that abuse enhances it somewhat’. He would probably say something different the next day. In regards to Blackmore only allowing three songs on the Stormbringer tour, yes indeed & good on him for that. Deep Purple were a rock band & playing hard rock was their forte, at least back then with Blackmore it was, not funk & soul influenced so much. Anyway it doesn’t matter now in the big scheme of things called life & I will stay at my alter & you stay at yours & another year beckons for us all. All the best. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The Honorable Herr MacGregor: As lead guitarists go, Stormbringer still had plenty Blackmore input and influence, granted, but it’s not an album dominated by him such as In Rock, Machine Head, Burn, Perfect Strangers and Slaves & Masters were. Glenn’s influence otoh is not just his songwriting, but his vocals and his bass playing which is a lot more audible on Stormbringer than it was on Burn (he reverted to playing a Fender Precision Bass on Stormbringer, I assume he just knew better what sounds to get out of it rather than out of the Rickenbacker with which he was unacquainted pre-DP). Glenn’s knack was also bringing the funk out in other people, Jon, Ian, David and even Ritchie all sound funkier on Stormbringer than on Burn (though their immersion in American RnB due to taking up residence in the US in 1974 might also partially account for that).

    As regards different altars to be worshipped – I’m a liberal agnostic that doesn’t demand God to be dead, I just don’t see an existential necessity nor any proof for his or her existence. And Ritchie is no deity for me either: I love Burn because it is so chest-beatingly a Blackmore record and I love Stormbringer because it does not attempt to be Burn II, but rather an album that with Love Don’t Mean A Thing, Holy Man, Hold On and You Can’t Do It Right features four songs that saw DP do something wildly different to, say, Burn (the song) or Mistreated. Blackmore kept his best and most domineering riffs for the Rainbow debut. Why can’t I like both, Purple with AND without (or less) Blackmore? I don’t equate DP with Blackmore, I just think that they are the best musical environment for him.

    And I’ve always appreciated bands that were intrepid to try something different with a new album, like Queen, Golden Earring, Police or The Who. And while DP excelled at hard rock, they also played other styles of music with aplomb – I liked it when they stretched out, I worship at not just one, but several musical altars! I’m a baptized Catholic, you know how that means all-encompassing!

  17. 17
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ Uwe

    I really had to think for some seconds about you mentioning fish.
    It can be difficult, emberassing, whatever.
    A man is blessed to have a woman who knows what hygiene is.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Good post Uwe & yes the saying ‘just a little is enough’ can be attributed to the Stormbringer album & Blackmore’s input & playing. I must admit that the song You Can’t Do It Right does make me wonder how much input he had there, probably a guitar lick or something rather small. It along with a few others don’t have that typical Blackmore feel to them, but that is what makes it an interesting album. Holy Man is one of my favourites on that album. Re the Catholic upbringing, yes indeed I know what you mean there, me too. Who would ever think that Black Sabbath & Deep Purple would have helped leaver my way out of that as a young teenager? Those bands turned up at the right time for me back then. Maybe that is why I worship at their alter, he he he. Cheers.

  19. 19
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Come on, guys. You can do better than this. Keep the discussions around music and let’s not scare away the few women that actually lurk around here. I know you are grown up men.

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It all only started because Glenn wasn’t man enough to wrestle with the strong arm of the law!

  21. 21
    Georgivs says:


    Scare women with what? I think that what most gents here quietly endorsed is a dynamic interplay thing, akin to the keyboard-guitar exchanges, so prominent in DP compositions. I do not think too many women object it, at least not my missus sitting next to me right now.

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I do like that call & response image you just so poetically painted, Georgivs! Finger lickin’ good, what a romantic you are.

    But Svante’s tongue of reason shall be heard, let’s not get carried away.

    “Flying to Salt Lake City, Seats 3A and 3B, I was down and I needed a window, but in 3A sat Mitzi Dupree …”

  23. 23
    Hollywood Joe says:

    Glen Hughes, the greatest British rock singer of his generation ??? not while a man named Ian Gillan walked the earth ! I was at the gig at Madison Square Garden, March ’74, the Burn Tour, watching & listening to Hughes & Coverdale mangle Smoke On The Water & Space Truckin was painful to say the least ! Fast forward 11 years to the Perfect Strangers Tour, March ’85, Blackmore,Gillan,Glover,Lord & Paice. They absolutely slayed the crowd & blew the roof off the place, best concert I ever saw !!

  24. 24
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 19

    Never thought about that.
    Dont think we used foul language and indeed it was triggered by Glenns story.

    Let me put it like this : I would never write a lyric like Knocking at your backdoor.

  25. 25
    Mark Zbigniew Guscin says:

    “The greatest British rock singer of his generation”???????????
    What is this, April Fool’s Day a bit ahead of time???

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    I am not sure where to place this link (no suggestions please). For Uwe a never seen before 20 minutes of Led Zeppelin 1977 footage has appeared from nowhere. Just the way to start off another year, he he he. Cheers.


  27. 27
    Nino says:


    “The lengths people will go to to dismiss him as a vital part of Purple‘s history are amazing. Take him out of the equation, and Mk III‘s vocal sound would have been nothing like it earthshakingly was, not even the Burn chorus would have worked, nor would have Paicey‘s drumming developed in the direction it did in 1973-1976”.

    No one can dismiss such an important period, but by and large, Mark 3, 4 and especially 5 did more harm to the name Deep Purple than they did good with their music. If it weren’t for these formations, Deep Purple shares would be worth more today and with subsequent changes at a later time, people would be more understanding than after all these revolving doors.

  28. 28
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “For Uwe …”

    Why thanks, Herr MacGregor, that performance is adorably sloppy and mostly out of time – as usual! That is one thing you can say in favor of Led Zep, they were consistent live by never being better than what you could reasonably expect from a band where the drummer is always behind and the guitarist always ahead of the beat. ‘Ner the two shall meet. Makes Mk IV sound like precision teamwork.

    And I really do disdain that oafish, Neanderthal-, potato-sack-tumbling-down-the-stairs drumming – yuck! Sheer un-elegance.

  29. 29
    MacGregor says:

    Actually the Led Zep link for Uwe wasn’t my idea. I was contacted by the Music Gods & Goddesses (Apollo, Meret, Taliesin, Canens & many others including Celtic & Norse) as they were appalled at Uwe’s recent tawdry comments & wanted to know if there were any means as to some form of punishment for him. I just happened to be on that classic rock site at that very moment & I innocently replied ‘well there is actually’. They then demanded (as they always do) for me to act accordingly. So there you have it, another Led Zep torture session for Uwe to wade through. When will this ever end, well quite simply when Uwe begins to behave himself. All the Gods & Goddesses just rolled their eyes to that suggestion. Cheers.

  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    @ 24 – you don’t have to worry about those original lyrics Rock as Willie Dixon wrote them back in 1960 & it is a innocent saying that has been around for a lot longer. It is that Gillan double entendre though that raises a few eyebrows so it depends on ones interpretation of it. Some people have very active imaginations, not me of course I am totally innocent. That Uwe Hornung character though seems to enjoy Glenn Hughes stories & Ian Gillan lyrics, hence the incredibly thin ice he occasionally walks on, he he he. Cheers.

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I had long suspected that evil forces are at work within our resident Zeppelinista, now he even admits it, nuff said. Incidentally, is there still room on the pyre together with Gregster?

    Lieber Nino, Mk II was certainly the most culturally relevant line-up in its time, but to me DP is not just the same five guys, but a collective (of varying components) on a journey. I like it that DP have such a varied history – highs and lows, different members bringing new influence -, I’m happy that unlike, say, Zep they have not become just an enshrined static memory.

  32. 32
    MacGregor says:

    So the punishment has worked well then, the Gods & Goddesses are very pleased, he he he. I did show some empathy Uwe, I said 20 minutes not ‘over 20 minutes’ as the article states. So I was trying to keep it to a little bit less time than you may be able to endure, but you probably didn’t even last that long & understandably so. Cheers.

  33. 33
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 30

    I wasnt worried

    And I wasnt aware Gillan re used someone elses lyrics there and googling for a song you re implying leaves me thinking there s no real connection there.

    Instead of Dixon I end up with Howling Wolf “s Backdoor Man” .
    I always remember Gillan explaining what it was about live, so….

    Now searching for it in general it seems to mean having an affair with someone elses wife.

    Which leads me to that ballad on Naked Thunder.
    Loving on borrowed time. Only recently it occurred to me that wasnt about Bron. Ouch.

    Tell me I m mistaken. 🙂

  34. 34
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’m forcing myself to be fair: Plant is in fine voice on that Pontiac gig and if you are a Zep fan, then all the ingredients are there, the singing rock god, the guitar magician, the drum troll with his percussive avalanches and the music scholar on bass and keyboards.

    But to me, any Zep gig I’ve seen (the reunion one in the O2 Arena perhaps excepted) always sounds disjointed, verging on the shambolic. There is all these gaps in their music because Page overdid it with the guitar overdubs in the studio and could not reproduce them live while Jones had to jump between playing bass or keyboards (and let’s face it, he was no Jon Lord, Keith Emerson or Tony Banks) since they foolishly refused to have a fifth guy on stage live. Since their music covered a wide range of styles and real heavy rock tracks were actually in the minority, I also miss a real flow or throb in their set lists, it all seems rather wanton and indiscriminate to me.

    It must be my ‘deutscher Ordnungssinn’, but I so much more prefer the neatness of DP’s arrangements, their sonic force in all live situations and the tightness of their presentation. For the life of me, I can also not relate to Robert Plant, he is neither funny, sharp-witted and caustic like Ian Gillan nor “one of the boys” like David Coverdale or a hyperactive James Brown’ish figure like Glenn Hughes. Plant’s ethereally aloof mannerisms leave me cold (but he sings well). Zeppelin’s music neither makes me tap my foot (well, “Boogie with Stu” did!) nor am I intellectually engaged; I don’t find their melodies catchy or accessible, it’s all rather meandering to me, Stairway to Heaven being a case in point, which is more a pasted together jam fest than a song to my ears. (That legendary guitar opening they stole from Spirit? It just sounds incredibly twee and pansy to me, there I said it.)

    That whole Zeppelin mystique – so key to the band’s fans – just passes me by. Maybe it’s because I never saw them, they only did a a dozen or so gigs in Germany during their whole career (in 1970, 1973 and chiefly in 1980). I could have even gone to one of their 1980 gigs, but frankly preferred seeing Dr Feelgood whose working man image I loved. “Eight bars of piano” at 01:55 (and then there is not a single piano note following) alright! :mrgreen: (Not the kind of humor you would ever see with Zep.)


    I did see Page/Plant in 1998 in Frankfurt though and came away scratching my head about the awe-struck, solemn audience. It wasn’t a bad gig, but nothing really sticks out in my memory except Plant throwing his classic shapes (albeit more subdued than in the 70ies).

    But for closure to all those people here who think that Led Zeppelin were the hottest thing in the 70ies since sliced bread: I’m happy for you and do not deny their lasting (do I really have to squeeze out “deserved” too?) influence. And I have of course all their albums and sometimes even give one of them a spin – for scholarly, music-sociological research with all necessary safety precautions in place!


  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    @ 33 – I think Howlin’ Wolf recorded what Dixon wrote from my memory of it. The Doors did a version of it in 1967 & of course Zeppelin used it as we know as they did those old blues songs. Gillan would have picked that ‘reference’ up from somewhere, I doubt he would have been the first to think of that. All that hedonism from the 60’s into the 70’s across the globe. @ 34- I never really compared those bands back when I was younger, I just got into it for what is was. As we have discussed many times before, Zep were a hit & miss band in many ways, a bit like Sabbath also. Purple were much more smoother for want of a better description. However it always comes back to songs for me & how they are interpreted. Zeppelin were too bluesy a lot of the time, however I liked their approach to different genres. Sabbath were a bit thrashy live in concert for me back then but still good rock music. Purple more classical & intricate & also did have a devil may care musician in their band at the early 70’s era. Blackmore at times dragged them into a rough & ready situation with his ‘noodling etc’ but they always returned to the song in fine style, well most of the time. I always thought Jimmy Page’s playing rough live & that he also had too much say in how the band went about things. But it was ‘his’ band wasn’t it. There is usually always one person driving an ensemble in an attempt at achieving a vision of sorts. Blackmore in Purple, Roger Waters in Pink Floyd, Jon Anderson in Yes, Ian Anderson in Tull & Keith Emerson in ELP to an extent. Then the musical differences along with other personality clashes changes things. Not to worry as it produced a mighty interesting collection of assorted music for us aficionados to wade through. A tad unfair to compare John Paul Jones to those other keyboard players, he was never attempting to be along those lines. Just adding another colour to proceedings & I like what he does on the keys, it gave Zeppelin a different brush with which to paint with, unlike Sabbath back then. Also Stairway is a well crafted song, & that little opening that Spirit did was also borrowed from traditional music. That came out in the ensuing court proceedings. Sure Page was influenced by it for a couple of opening bars of that song before it is never heard of again. Didn’t The Man In Black do those sort of things not to mention Jon Lord. Here we go again! The reason Rick Beato picked Stairway for that analysis was because of it’s variations, the changes it goes through. He could have picked a myriad of compositions from that era for that, but he chose that song & I always knew what he was on about, it was a good thought. So many people don’t or cannot relate to different aspects to a song, they like it straight & simple & that is fine. So many great songs are like that & where would we be without them all. After all it is really only about joining little things together & how it all turns out in the end. Music is a bit of a Potpourri in so many ways & that is one thing of many that is interesting about. Cheers.

  36. 36
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I generally like it if a song has different parts or sections, Bowie’s Station to Station, The Beatles’ A Day in the Life, John Miles’ Music, Kansas’ Carry On Wayward Son, Blue Öyster Cult’s Astronomy and Macca’s Band on the Run and Live & Let Die are great examples of that type of songwriting.

    But it never worked for me on Stairway to Heaven or – brace for it, I’m committing an act of heresy – Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen have written great songs, but BR always sounded gimmicky/spoofy and novelty-light to me. It’s a nonsense song – without any of the Dadaist appeal of, say, the Sparks’ This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us, a brilliant piece of musicality.

    And the heavy shuffle part towards the end of BR is a direct swipe from these guys here as regards the vocal melody.


    And while we’re at it – even more heresy! -, I never even thought Child in Time’s shuffle middle part compositionally especially ingenious, it’s kind of naff and very standard for early 70ies rock, the de rigueur jammy middle part. (I actually do prefer how the Ian Gillan Band handled the extended middle part of the song, sorry!) OTOH, the string part in Mk I’s Anthem is integrated brilliantly to my ears and the three sections of April work as well.

  37. 37
    MacGregor says:

    I forgot to mention Pete Townshend with The Who, talk about a visionary composer & a mixer of that musical ‘cauldron’. Cheers.

  38. 38
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Yes, but one thing ole Pete never could: play a decent, fluid guitar solo. No matter, he had an excellent lead guitarist in his band already, albeit one octave lower than usual (he kicks into gear at 01:45):


    Townshend himself said that The Who were “upside down”, with him filling the rhythm role of a conventional bassist and John soloing over the music like a lead guitarist.

    It worked with Keith Moon, but not with Kenny Jones, who was kinda at a loss with John’s busy playing, quipping in one interview: “The Who had two guitarists, but no bass player. My bass drum was the only bass player in that band!”

  39. 39
    MacGregor says:

    Interesting comments regarding Queen & The Sweet vocal similarities. Who came first though is the big question as both the bands remerged with that similarity around about the same time. I have always thought that Uriah Heep’s three part vocal harmonies were sort of similar also, or I should say Queen’s were similar to UH. Just that high falsetto with the two other vocalists underpinning it. Regarding the really early days of what later became The Sweet & Ian Gillan was associated with them, or an associated band of sorts Wainwrights Gentleman before Episode Six. I wasn’t aware of that at all. Blackmore was friends with one of the main members, I cannot recall which one, Connelly perhaps. Like Status Quo, The Sweet had been around a long time before they made it. I will leave the Bohemian Rhapsody comment for another time perhaps. Oh well what the heck! “A nonsense song???? Gimmicky, spoofy & novelty light”??????. It is a story & sort of semi biographical from Mercury, a wonderful piece of theatre if ever there was one in rock music. Dramatic & melodic & explosive in more ways than one. Now I will not subject those poor old horses to anymore courses as they have been put out to greener pasture for a much needed rest. From now on it is the other saying we often use at times, Each To Their Own. “Gimmicky, Spoofy & Novelty Light” I am going to have trouble getting over that one. DP Mark I & April & also Anthem are wonderful, very good that from Lord & Blackmore & company. Cheers.

  40. 40
    MacGregor says:

    I do remember there were a few puns being thrown around within The Who with the Kenney Jones era. One from Entwistle after being asked what it was like to play with a new drummer, ‘well it is nice to play with someone who actually keeps time’. That Jones comment is a good one & so very true in that sense. Townshend talked about trying to fill that huge void after John’s passing. Was that when they brought in his brother Simon to augment the rhythm section a little while Pete Townshend attempted to fill some of those little things in between that Entwistle always did & more. Yes indeed Townshend isn’t known for his lead guitar playing but he doesn’t have to worry about any of that. He is one mighty rhythm guitarist & his acoustic playing is second to none not to mention his composition skills & he is a good singer on the soft to medium level bits in certain songs. Cheers.

  41. 41
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Basically, John E and Keith M ignored each other‘s playing most of the time, each of them forging his own path around the basic structure of the songs provided by Pete‘s rhythm guitar. They both listened more to Pete than to each other. That made for an interesting rhythm section most of the time, and sometimes the results were even spectacular, though in rare cases also a little shambolic (but a dose of ‘shambolism’ was part of The Who’s charm at live gigs). But John and Keith were never tight in a traditional rhythm section sense, the amount of danceable Who songs with a pulsing groove is limited (and when John was relegated to playing pronouncedly rhythmic – as on Magic Bus – he hated it and was quickly bored).

    When Kenny Jones joined The Who, they finally found a steady time keeper, but he really didn’t have a bassist to latch onto, nor did John adjust his playing to Kenny, he continued playing “lead bass” like he always had and welcomed that Kenny got less in the way of his own exploits. And Kenny really didn’t know what to do with that kind of bass playing, he came from a traditional school of rhythm section playing in both The Small Faces and The Faces. That’s why I always say they should have taken Little Ian as their drummer when they had the chance to, he would have been both a steady time keeper AND would John known how to create interesting interplay with John. Little Ian has a good, sympathetic ear for bassists – Nick Simper, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Paul Martinez, Neil Murray, Craig Gruber and last but not least that guy from Liverpool – he played with them all and always a little different.

  42. 42
    MacGregor says:

    I am not sure about Ian Paice drumming in The Who. Although one can never tell & he would have done the job no doubt but as you said, how to fit in with ole Thunderfingers? He was a busy bass player The Ox & his sound was one of the most in your face there is. And what would have happened when the DP reunion popped up? ‘We cannot do it, Paice has decided to join The Who so it is either leave it or get another drummer’. Although I think The Who were finished by 1984. One of many aspects that I really like about The Who was that there wasn’t the proverbial guitar solo theme running thorough their music. Especially those epic albums from the late 60’s through to the late 70’s. Too many cliches is never a good thing to my ears & I have said this before about those few songs on the DP WDWTWA album. No guitar solo’s, great lets hear it from another perspective. That isn’t a dig at Blackers though & as we know he is a supreme soloist indeed. If in doubt, leave it out. Here is
    a thought, maybe The Who could have had Blackmore play guitar solo’s for them, both in the studio & on stage. He could just walk out when it was solo time & then walk off again. I mean he did that with DP anyway, so why not? Cheers.

  43. 43
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Re Sweet and DP: The Sweet in their early days were great admirers of DP Mk I and somewhat distraught when that line up-ended. Ian Gillan did sing in Wainwright’s Gentlemen between The Javelins and Episode Six, but didn’t like it much there, his successor there was indeed Brian Connolly. And Mick Tucker worshipped Ian Paice’s fluidity to a point where Andy Scott took him to task and told him: “You’re great drummer on your own terms, stop trying to be Ian Paice, you’re not.” (I think Andy was right, Mick Tucker was more of a John Bonham type drummer.) Finally, Andy never made a secret of his admiration for Blackmore either and the heavy Sweet B-sides of their Chinn-Chapman provided hit singles did often owe quite a bit to DP.

    And then on a US tour, when Sweet commemorated the recently deceased Paul Kossoff by playing Alright Now (which btw bears distinct similarities to their Fox On The Run), Blackmore was in the audience and asked if he could join them – his wish was granted and Sweet were chuffed.



    You can hear Andy and Ritchie duel on lead in the middle, Ritchie has the sharper sound with slightly unpleasant distortion (most likely because they set up an extra amp for him at short notice).

    Re the inspiration for Queen’s background vocal bombast: Brian May (the backing vocal arrangements with Queen were mainly his do and pet project, not Freddie’s like many people believe) has indeed credited Uriah Heep as a major influence for that which is of small wonder as in the early 70ies Uriah Heep were pretty much the sole purveyors of that mix (heavy rock with harmony vocals), Gillan, Plant and Ozzy would all multitrack harmonies on record, but were left to their own devices by their bands live.

    And, yes, Brian May loved Sweet’s Action single (which was in the charts around the time Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded) and complimented Andy Scott on it. Though Freddie Mercury wrote all parts of Bohemian Rhapsody, his guitarist might have just driven him mad listening to the Sweet song! Brian Connolly, never one to mince words, called the first verse of the hard rock section of Bohemian Rhapsody “a blatant rip-off”.

    Sweet’s trademark high-pitched vocal harmonies (with studio trickery often adding a few more ultra-high harmonies which could not be replicated live) very likely had an influence on Queen too, but not only Queen: When I heard the Van Halen debut, I was gobsmacked how they multitracked Michael Anthony’s voice (the Steve Priest of VH) to closely replicate those typical Sweet chorus harmonies.

  44. 44
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I don’t think Ian would have ever become a full-fledged member of The Who, but he would have been handsomely paid and it would have looked good on his CV. Keith died September 1978, Kenney joined already in November 1978, Little Ian joined WS in August 1979, i.e. about a year later, Townshend delared his departure from The Who in December 1983 – timewise it would have all slotted in nicely with the Purple reunion and Ian would have been even wealthier at the start of it!

    Paicey actually auditioned with The Who, that must have been in the fall of 1978 then. I’d love to hear a tape from that. I believe it would have been explosive – after all, Little Ian had experience pairing up with bassists straining at the leash —-> Glenn H !!!

  45. 45
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I don’t think Ian would have ever become a full-fledged member of The Who, but he would have been handsomely paid and it would have looked good on his CV. Keith died September 1978, Kenney joined already in November 1978, Little Ian joined WS in August 1979, i.e. about a year later, Townshend declared his departure from The Who in December 1983 – timewise it would have all slotted in nicely with the Purple reunion and Ian would have been even wealthier at the start of it!

    Paicey actually auditioned with The Who, that must have been in the fall of 1978 then. I’d love to hear a tape from that. I believe it would have been explosive – after all, Little Ian had experience pairing up with bassists straining at the leash —-> Glenn H !!!

  46. 46
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks for The Sweet live clip with Blackmore jamming, nice to hear. I do remember Blackmore paying tribute to s couple of The Sweet guys when they passed away. Regarding the Queen & The Sweet vocal comparisons I will check that out of curiosity. I knew that May & Taylor were more into those backing vocal layering things & Taylor did that really high falsetto over the top singing from my memory. Regarding Ian Paice in The Who yes I do remember you saying he actually rehearsed with them, or auditioned. At least he would have been looked after better as you said & musically he would have enjoyed that I think. I use to own Face Dances & still like a few songs on that one, the following album It’s Hard was a little bland though. Townshend was pouring all his ideas into that masterpiece solo record at that time., All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes.
    Trying to get into that Who groove for want of a better description. I think it was Simon Philips who said it was difficult at times & he was only there for a ‘one off’ Tommy tour in 1989. I had that concert on VHS back then & it is a good gig. He was a temporary fill in at that time as he had worked with Townshend in the mid 80’s. When I heard Zak Starkey I thought he was a good choice & as he grew up with that Keith Moon influence he had those fills worked out rather well. Cheers.

  47. 47
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Re Wainwright‘s Gentlemen, look what I found from pre-Brian Connolly days, I believe the then singer needs no real introduction here on these pages:


    Only heard this today for the very first time, I didn‘t even know he had actually recorded with them.

  48. 48
    sidroman says:

    As a huge Who fan, I never knew that Ian Paice actually auditioned. I heard that both him and Cozy Powell were considered as replacements. Phil Collins said when Moon died that he called Townshend up and offered his services, I also saw a Youtube video where Carmine Appice said he was offered the job as well. I don’t really believe Carmine, he has a habit of taking credit for too many things in interviews that I’ve seen of him.

  49. 49
    MacGregor says:

    The Sweet vocals & melodies being similar to what Queen ended up doing on certain songs is something I have never noticed before. I remember The Sweet from the 1970’s with their known hits & also being played to death at parties etc. But not having listened for so many decades & here I am now hearing that similarity or ‘rip off’ for the first time. A bit strange because I noticed & liked Queen around 1975 with Sheer Heart Attack & fell for them big time for a couple of years.. A bit surreal in some aspects. Here is a quick interview with Andy Scott about it. Also a Classic Rock article from 2017 that I don’t recall ever noticing before. Thanks for ruining my teenage musical years Uwe, ha ha ha. Just joking. Cheers.



  50. 50
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Thanks for the links, Herr MacGregor, very interesting.

    Queen to me were always a bunch of magpies borrowing from such diverse sources as Led Zep, Mott the Hoople, Sparks, Sweet, Uriah Heep and even the Beach Boys. BUT they were incredibly good at mixing all that and forging it into their own sound. And – Andy Scott is right – they had a master plan.

    Sweet really didn’t – unless you call shagging as many teenage girl fans as possible (even in the 70ies, Sweet had a notorious reputation in Germany where they toured a lot) a credible band goal. They started as a Bubblegum outfit miming to music they hadn’t even recorded, became Glam Rockers with an androgynous image as subtle as Twisted Sister a decade later, flirted with wishing to be Deep Purple sans Jon Lord + dabbled with a heavy rock/power pop image and at one point resolved that they would really like to be a sophisticated art pop band like 10cc (around their Level Headed album and the Love Is Like Oxygen hit) – that is when I saw them live (with an extra-guitarist and keyboarder). It was musically a good show, but you could tell that by then Brian was ill at ease with his diminishing role, the band was run by Andy and Steve at that point.

    Sidroman: Ian auditioning with The Who is even today not documented on the internet in any way I can find, but I read it in a lengthy interview he gave circa 1984 pre-Deep Purple reunion (the reunion might even have already been in the press when the interview was published, but nothing had been recorded yet) to a German drummer magazine (‘Drums & Percussion’ ???). There he said that he would have liked to have done it and that he believed it would have worked, but that Pete Townshend in the end opted for someone he personally knew better and who had shared the same Mod gig circuits as The Who in the 60ies – enter Kenney Jones with his impeccable Small Faces pedigree. Ian was philosophical about it and said something along the lines of “And that is perfectly legitimate and how these things work out sometimes”. The subject came up in connection with Ian being asked whether he viewed drumming with Gary Moore as a step backward from his DP glory days and he remarked that you could not expect the same type of public adulation to continue once you have left a mega-band like DP.

  51. 51
    sidroman says:

    Thanks Uwe,
    By the way, have you ever seen the Rockpalast 1981 gig on dvd recorded in Germany featuring not only Kenney Jones but John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards? I think it’s a great show. I never saw The Who with Kenney. The first time was in 89 with Simon Philips, and several times since with Zak Starkey who I believe is the rightful heir to the drummer’s chair in The Who

  52. 52
    MacGregor says:

    Watching a few documentaries on Brian Connolly & it is sad the way he ended. A bit similar to David Byron in many ways, a singer only & no instrument to play & feeling left out in many aspects. Too much hedonism & getting physically attacked in ’74 was the start of it all for Connolly. The damage to his throat & his vocal demise was the beginning of the end it seems. Some flames do only burn bright for a short while. Blackmore said of him, ‘a great singer & a wonderful man’ something like that. RIP

  53. 53
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sure, Sidroman, I saw that Rockpalast Who gig live on the telly at the time – together with my then bandmates. It wasn‘t a bad gig at all, but we agreed that Kenney didn‘t cut it in Moonie‘s position, way too tame. And there was one disconcerting scene where Pete did his “windmill”, but the kerrrang!-chords did not match his movements at all for a prolonged time which led us to muse whether they were using tapes or an off-stage guitarist. Entwistle was of course sublime and Daltrey sang well. They didn’t sound washed out and Pete was energetic and sang likewise well. It was actually with only that gig that I fully realized how often he actually sang lead with The Who.

  54. 54
    sidroman says:

    Maybe they had Geoff Nicholls off stage on keys, guitar and backing vocals. As far as Townshend’s windmilling not being heard I never noticed that, but probably when they released it they edited it for better sound.

  55. 55
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Re Brian Connolly, he was a pitiful wreck when I saw him with his metallized backing combo ‘The New Sweet” (of course they sounded nothing like the real thing) at a club gig in Frankfurt around the mid 80ies. Aged like only an alcoholic can, his skin totally shot, with uncontrollable tremors + a stiff gait and a croak of a voice one octave below his original parts. It was earth-shatteringly tragic, you felt inclined to pull the plug on his mike and end the travesty just out of sheer compassion and mercy for the man. His death not too long after came as no surprise to me at all, sadly so.

  56. 56
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 55

    Tragic indeed.

    12 heart attacks! Wow.


  57. 57
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It’s awful to see him like that.

    By way of his childhood and youth, Brian really wasn’t equipped to handle rock star life, mass teen adulation and then the fall from grace into oblivion.

    I never thought he was a terrific singer, his voice lacked flexibility and elasticity even in Sweet’s halcyon days (daze?) – both Steve Priest and Andy Scott were technically better singers, but they didn’t have the front man voice he had -, but you sure did recognize him when you heard a new Sweet track back then. He wasn’t much of a mover on stage either nor what you would call a sprightly interview partner.

  58. 58
    MacGregor says:

    @ 56 – yes I watched that interview & performance just before I commented on how sad it was about his gradual demise. He suffered from health issues for quite a few years Connolly, almost two decades actually. Cheers.

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