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Blackmore erased from Machine Head?

Reports are coming in that merchandise sold on the current Deep Purple tour includes a Machine Head t-shirt with Ritchie Blackmore’s face missing from the album design. And thanks to Luke Antosz we can now show the infamous t-shirt.

Now you see him – the original Machine Head sleeve with Ritchie Blackmore:
Machine Head album

Now you don’t – current Deep Purple tour t-shirt:
Machine Head without Blackmore

But he used to be on that t-shirt! This one was sold on the last Mark 2 tour in 1993:
Machine Head t-shirt with Blackmore

So what happened?

According to some, Blackmore’s current management sued Deep Purple for use of his image on the t-shirt.
According to others, the band simply doesn’t want to be associated with Blackmore anymore.

If you know, please let us know too – rasmus@thehighwaystar.com.

37 Comments to “Blackmore erased from Machine Head?”:

  1. 1
    anonymous coward says:

    According to Bruce Payne, it’s the former: Blackmore’s lawyers got in touch with him regarding using Ritchie’s likeness in the current lineup merchandise. So, a copy of Photoshop was fired up and the problem went away. Machine Head t-shirs sans Blackmore already appeared on the 2004 “Machine Head tour” of Canada/USA.

  2. 2
    Gary says:

    Hey guys I get a better idea.

    Don’t use the Machine Head cover on your current tour shirts!!

    You want to always move on…Then move on with your shirts.

    My gosh. This whole thing makes me sick. I don’t care what the reason behind it is.

  3. 3
    Ritchie says:

    Why should I have my face on a T shirt that helps promote an out dated dinosaur rock band? Unless of course I am wearing my gypsy costume, and clutching my madolin !!

  4. 4
    john says:

    I have a good suggestion for you all: do not ever buy that T shirt !

    If you love Machine Head album, just buy it and listen to the piece of music.

  5. 5
    marcelo soares says:

    What boggles me is not exactly the altered Machine Head cover, but why the current tour t-shirt still would picture the band’s members as they were in their 20s. I’d proudly wear a t-shirt with their current faces and grey hair. A fan is a fan, no mather what.

  6. 6

    […] En la gira actual de Deep Purple se est

  7. 7
    marcelo soares says:

    in fact, no matTer what.

  8. 8
    Roy Hårstad says:

    As soon as Blackmore’s management said that they, current purple, couldn’t use his picture on their current merchandise, they should stop selling shirts with the MH cover. That Bruce Paine decided to erase him from the picture, says a lot about his moral as a businessman.

    It’s a disgrace that the band let this happen, and I’m rapidly loosing all respect for them!

  9. 9
    Chrissy says:

    All I have to say is the word “GREED” on both sides of the issue.DP and Blackmore are still acting like 60 year old school children and can’t put the past behind them.Grow up for goodness sake.

  10. 10
    Ian Domic says:

    This is very sad. I can’t believe this kind of things when only grown ups are involved.

    Anyway, the solution is simple. DO NOT buy that god damned T shirt.

  11. 11
    tuggi says:

    Is this a joke???
    If not, it´s quite sad… – whom is helped by that boring comedy?

  12. 12
    Dennis Hanna says:

    I suspect that most of this is due to management/contractual issues, so I shouldn’t blame Messrs. Blackmore, Glover, Lord, Paice and Gillan for these problems and disputes.

    It’s a shame that these great personalities, whom have touched my life ever since I saw Deep Purple live at Sheffield City Hall on September 28th, 1972, are currently on bad terms. As a fan all I can say is that I love and respect you all and thank you for the thousands of hours of pleasure I’ve had listening to your music, both within Purple and on your various solo projects. We’re all getting older and as time slips away we should remember the good times and not dwell on the bad. You’ve all had your ups and downs, good and bad, laughs and sorrows but you’ve all brought us great music and memorable moments we can all look back on with affection. God bless you Ritchie for you are the greatest person who ever carressed the fretboard of a Fender Strat and god bless all Deep Purple members past and present.

    As a 14 year boy I watched you back in 1972 and I thought you were gods……I’m now 48 and now I know you are gods. Thanks for all the memories and good luck to you all whatever path you choose for your lives.

  13. 13
    kasper kjærsgaard says:

    I find this extremely amusing! And i believe that the infamous mother in law of Mr. Blackmore is strongly involved. I wonder how long Jon Lord will stay on that shirt?

  14. 14
    Kjartan Júlíusson says:

    He has not be taken away the only thing is that the photo has been zoomed a little bit in and little lifted.

    So the only thing i see is his hair.

    best regards.

  15. 15
    Robert Chagalian says:

    Now let’s wait to see if they’d paste Steve Morse on the cover instead 🙂
    And in fact, with all due respect to the current line-up, I can see Ritchie’s point – the band is spending so much time telling everyone how happy they are without Ritchie, but still use legacy from “Blackmore era” to keep merchandise sales high. Sounds weird to me.

  16. 16
    Rasmus Heide says:

    If Kjartan was right, then Roger Glover’s face would also be missing. Look again.

  17. 17
    John says:

    Even though RB is infamous for being a pain in the a**, he still was the main reason the band rose to great fame. Over the years, he has refrained from bashing DP. Yet, DP continue to badmouth Ritchie 14 years after his departure.

    I lost a lot of respect for DP when they continued without RB. I lost all respect for them when they carried on without JL (ironically with a former Rainbow keyboardist). Now, i have nothing but disgust for them.

  18. 18
    Mike Garrett says:

    In regards to the tee shirt story, Blackmore Productions have sent this statement, via the Blackmore Lincolnshire Fan Club (10.15am, 13/11/06)

    Carole Stevens:

    Ritchie’s current manager (Carole Stevens), was in touch with Tony Edwards, the first manager of Deep Purple. They are both shocked at the new Machine Head shirts as neither of them were informed or consulted.

    Tony Edwards said:

    “The first I knew of Machine Head shirts being sold, original or
    altered, were the Highway Star reports. I think the distortion of
    the original iconic image, largely conceived by my former partner the
    late John Coletta, is unworthy of those involved. It is not only
    artistic sacrilege but a lousy epitaph”.

  19. 19
    Ron says:

    Does it really matter? We all know Blackmore left under less than ideal conditions. Now as to the persons losing respect for them because RB couldn’t have his way, that is that persons God-damned problem. My answer to all this is if it bothers you: don’t buy it!

    I have seen Deep Purple four times since the mid eighties, and each show was great. At the third show in 1996, at Harvey’s Lake in PA, I met and talked with each of them…no one had any bad words to say about RB, although they were asked to death many of the same questions asked before! Even Gillan wished him well.

  20. 20

    […] Esto acabo de leerlo y no puedo creerlo. Según se reporta en thehighwaystar.com, en las poleras o remeras del “Machine Head” que se están vendiendo en los conciertos de la gira actual de Deep Purple, se ha procedido a retirar el rostro de Blackmore de la imagen del mencionado álbum … esto me parece sencillamente una falta de respeto. […]

  21. 21
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Indeed, such a shame events like these!

    And, again and again, I have to stress the fact that they(…) keep relying on their past :playing mostly songs written by Blackmore to attract ticketbuyers….
    And indeed, if they really think they are good without RB why then do that?! Right…..
    Taken it’s own, they have enough material to chose from since 1996, but still…….They KNOW they are not worthy with their Morse era material. They are just doing a JOB, blurghhhhhhhh. Roger Glover , Ian Gillan and Ian Paice just don’t care about integrity…

    Talking about INTEGRITY, ……………………………………..does Roger know that in The Netherlands, The anti-social rightwingparty, CDA, does use his song “Love is All” during their campaign for the coming elections on november the 22nd ?!
    Did he approve that such terrible people who only benefit the rich do that?!
    They call themselves Christians, but that’s only in name… I dare to say that I have more Christianity in my little finger than that party all together!!!!!

    But I don’t like Blackmore’s Night as well, so……anybody who still thinks I am one his publishers……..

    Life does hurt sometimes……

    Well, maybe that darn t-shirt makes a collectors-item? An inseperable part of their crazy history?


    I put on the REMASTER and try lick my wounds…..

  22. 22
    richard legris (elprupdeep@) says:

    well as dennis hanna (only 44 years old ) dp is my life could not leave without them .I strongly agree with you dennis and i think its a shame. people like dp members could not do things like that to each others and I think its only a story of big money .I think IAN respect RITCHIE and the opposite (even if they don’t talk to each other) JON respect the current dp line up as he respect RB .must be out of theirs hands because IAN and the members are not as silly as that to let things like that happen .independently of what they think I suppose somewhere they know inside them that they will (no matter what )respect each others until the end of their life .its was to intense what they live back to the seventies ,bit like husband and wife who divorced it still remains the babys (songs ,melodies, anthems )so long live DEEP PURPLE’s and please continue to make us live and dream and enjoy it.cheers all of you.

  23. 23
    David Sanderson says:

    Just an observation but what does music have to do with T shirts anyway? Merchandising is so tacky and hardly any of it is worth a second glance, let alone parting with hard earned cash for.

  24. 24
    Christopher Coolidge says:

    It’s all business. FWIW, I think Purpendicular and Abandon were their best work since their two 80’s albums with the classic lineup. I know there’s been bad blood between Ian and Ritchie for years what with Ritchie talking the band into kicking Ian out of the band in the late 80’s, then after Slaves and Masters with Joe Lynn Turner tanked the rest of the band over Blackmore’s objections begged Ian to come back. It’s a testament to Ian Gillan’s professionalism that he agreed to come back and put up with Blackmore’s badgering him and being a complete dick to him in the studio while recording The Battle Rages On, which if anything was an even weaker album than Slaves And Masters. Richie kept contributing songs in keys that Ian couldn’t sing in well at his age anymore, on purpose. No wonder they replaced Blackmore and resigned themselves to recording for smaller labels and playing smaller halls just so they could work with a guitarist they got along with. Steve Morse has been with Deep Purple for ten consecutive years, longer than any other guitar player they’ve had. That ain’t hay.

  25. 25
    purplepriest1965 says:

    “That ain’t hay.”??????
    What do you mean?
    I do not think quantity in years does say a thing…….indeed about quality….
    DP will forever be the band which scored mainly due to Ritchie Blackmore’s compositions, drive, appearance, magic, unpredictability, charism…….Not this ongoing relentless touring outfit.
    Btw, The Battle Rages On is still a good rockalbum witha few classics on it.
    Keys he could not sing in? I do not agree : he just had to care of himself, which he did not…. Ask his personal manager.

    I like Purpendicualr, btw, but ABANDON is just garbage……Only a few moments which went anywhere……
    BANANAS was way better than I expected, although not worthy the name DP as well……
    Rapture of the Deep is a nosedive down……..
    Please have mercy on my purple soul!

  26. 26
    CantWeJustLoveEachOther says:

    First, I am a huge Deep Purple and Blackmore’s Night fan. I own most DP cd’s and all BN cd’s. I’ve seen both bands live 4 or 5 times each.

    I find Ritchie’s comments interesting. He himself “helps promote an out dated dinosaur rock band(s)” by covering or remaking Deep Purple and Rainbow songs at every turn.

    I’ve got news for you Ritchie: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT IS ABOUT WE THE FANS!!! It is okay if we like Deep Purple. It’s okay if we like Rainbow. It’s okay if we like Blackmore’s Night.

    And I’m still buying your cd’s even after you stormed out of the Christmas Concert in New Jersey I drove 1000 miles to see.

    GROW UP!

  27. 27
    Andrew D. says:

    Dear Ian Gillan and Roger Glover,

    please do not erase Ritchie’s Guitar Parts from the In Rock and Machine Head master tapes. I know Ozzy did that to Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, but whatever Ritchie did to piss you guys off for the love of God don’t do anything that extreme.

  28. 28
    CantWeJustLoveEachOther says:

    Hello Andrew … I’m pretty sure that was Sharon’s doing and not Ozzy’s!!! She sure ruined some good Rock and Roll, didn’t she! She should be flogged!!! Thank goodness I’ve still got the originals on vinal!!!

  29. 29
    Andrew D. says:

    CantWe… yeah most likely it was her. I was sort of kidding about the letter to Gillan and Glover, but you never know what can happen where big egos are invloved. It starts with a face taken off a T-shirt, and next thing you know the next batch of Machine Head CDs in the shops will feature some southern fried banjo pickin’.

  30. 30
    Anthony C says:

    As someone said, why are DP relying on past images? If their current music is good enough, why not move on and use new images? Or remove Jon Lord from Tshirts too? Big fan of RB & BN but most of what I’ve heard from DP since he left has not really moved me I’m afraid… Although it should always be about the music, RB’s attitude and approach counted for a lot. If he had a different nature and was known as the nicest guy in rock the music simply wouldn’t come out the same. Can’t think of any music legend who hasn’t been single minded to get where they are.

  31. 31
    Martyn says:

    Totally stupid,

    Regardless of who’s responsible, this is out of order. They should all have their heads bumped together like the little children they are making themsleves out to be.

    To erase Blackmore’s face from the tee shirt is to belittle the sheer genius of the Machine Head album. Why should the fans be dragged into this just becasue the Blackmore/Purple split leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the 5 people involved.

    What’s to be next a complete removal of Blackmore from ALL Purple merchadise and re-releases. The In Rock cover’s gonna look pretty bloody funny ain’t it.

    Let’s put it this way, The swastikka has been removed from all computer games that dare depict the second world war, That doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, and no matter how hard we try to forget, the teletubbies did reach number one in the UK singles charts.

    Everyone needs to accept that these facts are part of history despite how unsavoury people may find it.

    I am appalled at this action, and if Ritchie decides to kick up an almighty stink about this then fair play to him.

    This to me is the final nail in Deep Purple’s credibility.

    nuff said.

  32. 32
    THS Blog » Blog Archive » Classic Rock magazine also looks for Ritchie says:

    […] UK’s Classic Rock magazine has borrowed our story on the Machine Head t-shirts with Blackmore’s face missing. Sadly, the current management remains silent. Read more in a previous blog entry. […]

  33. 33
    Rune says:

    Hello, I didn’t knew there were a lot of bs going around the Machine head t-shirt. I bought mine in Oslo a month ago, and all the familiar faces is on it. The qaulity of the t-shirt on the other hand.. It’s just sad that old men can’t get along. It has been a long time since Blackmore left Purple

  34. 34
    Jamie Dowling says:

    *shakes his head* When lawyers get involved things invariably get nasty and run a very big risk of going titsup. What of us fans who have the t-shirt with the original cover image on it? Are we going to get sued, stripped or some other kind of overreaction?

    Andrew’s comments on the Ozzy removals from the Blizzard Of Ozz album are spot on – the “new” version sounds truly awful! But it gives me a three minute break to go to for a pee when it’s played at the local rock night. Please don’t let something like that happen to the Purple albums RB played on!

    Seems like The Battle Rages On for real…

  35. 35
    Adam says:

    Hi all, just some reflections, just for curiosity,

    if you take a good look at the original artwork, you’ll find out that it depicts the situation the band used to be in quite accurately: you got the man in black putting himself in front of not only his intimate enemy Gillan, but just everybody there (as I said, check out the picture). The altered artwork puts all of the remaining people on more or less the same line, again very telling, but this time of the post-1993 situation. For that reason I’m not so anti to the RB-less artwork! On the other hand I agree to the point that the whole thing must be down to management trouble.
    And as for anybody wondering if one day another face might also disappear, don’t be silly! We all know that Jon Lord’s departure was a different story altogether!

  36. 36
    emyl says:

    Ian Gillan says, the last weekend:

    No buy, the DVD, “Come hell or high water”…. because is the worse concert of Deep Purple…
    Blackmore with his personality.. (hahahaha)… throw a water glass to Ian Gillan… Finally, key to the cameraman…
    They know since all, “Come hell or hight water”, was the last concert with Blackmore….
    And the problems with Gillan and Blackmore , they were obvious…

    1 – This is a “conspiracy”… to Ritchie Blackmore, THE BEST.

    2 – Do not buy these t-shirts, and buy the DVD

    3 – Buy the possible of Blackmore’s Night….

    ….Morse is a Genius… But; THE GUITARIST; (not only for Deep Purple…)….

  37. 37
    Carlo Marx says:

    Really, serious. Still believe that Blackmore and Purple can excist in one room, or in this case the entire world…..Blackmore’s lawyer, Blackmore didn’t show at the RRHOF.The things he has done to Gillan and Glover, The things he has done to : Jimmy Bain, Ronnie James Dio, again Roger Glover, Don Airey and so one….Blackmore was a brilliant guitar player but he’s also a giant asshole!! Never gorget that!!

    And i do have a question about his guitars during recording Machine Head. I saw pictures from the Grand Hotel were he plays a Gibson. Is there a song on Machine Head where he actually plays a Gibson??

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