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Well done, Maestro Morse!

Steve Morse in Quebec City, June 4, 2011; Photo © Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

Amazing, but true. Geoff Barton writes in the Classic Rock Magazine blog:

Steve Morse has become the longest-running guitarist for Deep Purple, having joined the band in 1994.

Morse’s unbroken 17-year tenure beats founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s stints with the band from 1968-1975 and 1984-1993 (we make that 16 years).

While Geoff didn’t quite get his math right, the undisputable fact is still there.

The first known Deep Purple gig was on April 20, 1968 in Tastrup, Denmark. This started Blackmore’s tenure in the band which lasted uninterrupted until that Paris gig on April 7, 1975. Which makes it 2,543 days or 6 years, 11 months, and 18 days. News of the reunion were announced some time in April 1984, however if we stick to the live dates, the first show was on November 27, 1984 in Perth, Australia. The “second coming” lasted until Helsinki on November 17, 1993. Which makes it for another 3,277 days or 5,820 days in total.

Now, the first gig Steve played as a member of Deep Purple was on November 23, 1994 in Mexico City. As of today (June 29, 2011) this makes him Deep Purple’s guitar palyer for 6,062 days or 16 years, 7 months, and 6 days. He had surpassed Blackmore’s tenure on October 30, 2010. On that date he (what else!) played a gig with Deep Purple at the Spodek arena in Katowice, Poland.

Some people might argue that in 1968 the band started much earlier and in 1984 they’ve spent the whole summer recording. Okay, let’s be generous to Ritchie and say that the band started on, let’s say, February 1, 1968 and the reunion happened on April 1, 1984. That’s 2,622 + 3,517 = 6,139 days. This only means that the drum roll would be postponed by a couple of more months. No matter how you look at it.

Thanks to Editor Emeritus Dave Hodgkinson for the info, to Martin Ashberry and his Live Index for the dates, and to the Date Difference Calculator for number crunching.

43 Comments to “Well done, Maestro Morse!”:

  1. 1
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:

    Well wadayaknow……

    Facts are Facts. Love the Past, Love the Present. All Purple. All Good. It’s Good to be a Purple Fan. Thanks Steve for taking the job. Thanks to the rest for selecting him and continuing on. Some outstanding stuff since the MIB bailed. Including His stuff with BN. We are blessed with a huge array of Purple and Related material to carry us through till we pass into the Twilight of Life….


  2. 2
    The Holy Chair says:

    I am so glad I measure things more in quality than quantity. : )

  3. 3
    Rascal says:

    Interesting – yet fairly unimportant.

    What matters is – Morse joined – the band were re-united – Blackmore was no more.

    More interestingly – at this moment in time its been around 4 days – or 96 hours – or 5760 minutes – or 345600 seconds – SINCE HIGHWAYSTAR HAS UPDATED ANY POSTINGS!


  4. 4
    Marcelo Soares says:

    Okay. In my secret identity, I’m a number-crunching journalist. I also teach other journalists how to crunch numbers, and my favorite spreadsheet for my classes is one I did with all Deep Purple concerts I could track since 1968. It’s on Google Spreadsheets: http://is.gd/ACK9xI

    (Having been born after that, and following Deep Purple just on the last 20 years, I got data from the Deep Purple Live Index, which may or may not be spotty in old concerts, but it’s the best source I found. Then I kept updating. I have updated the dates until the last concert announced for this year’s European tour.)

    According to my crunching, Blackmore played 968 gigs with Deep Purple and Morse will have played 1218 after the French concert in July 27. So, Steve will have played 250 concerts more than Ritchie. The day Steve reached his 969th concert was March 6, 2008. It also happened in a then-inedit country: Ecuador.

    With my spreadsheet, we can also have an idea of how many times they’ve played Smoke in the Water in concerts. Reckoning that the first time they played the song onstage was probably March 9, 1973 (in London, registered in the In Concert 1970-1972 album; the previous recording I have, from KB Hallen one week before, does not include the song), we just count down how many other concerts happened since then. That was the 390th concert, and in the end of July Deep Purple will have done 1881 concerts since.

    To reach the mark of 2000 plays of Smoke on the Water, they have to do 119 other concerts. Since 2006, they’ve done an average of 79,25 concerts every year. This year, they will have done 38 shows in late July. So, probably by the time of the Montreux Festival of 2012 they’ll be reaching the mark of 2000 duh-duh-duhs played onstage.

    The extended chorus with the crowd for “smoke on the water, fire in the sky”, though, will have been done at most just 1541 times (if JLT did it on every concert during his watch). They began doing it with their comeback, in November 27, 1984.

    I still need to do some updates to my spreadsheet, like correcting where Nick Fyffe played on behalf of Roger Glover. But one thing is certain: the Deep Purple member who did most concerts was Ian Paice, who was there for all of them. Until now, he did “only” 2.264 gigs with the Purps.

  5. 5
    Moreblack says:

    Yeah Mr.Barton,…and so what???!!!Money talks.Steve can speak about money wise.Music instead….Ha ha…Come back Blackmore!!!!!!

  6. 6
    stargazer says:

    Steve is great guitarist, but Ritchie is our God. In Blackmore we trust!!!

  7. 7
    Larry R. Toering says:

    Barton’s facts though are not always that, apparently. I know he is revered and even I used to be duped… but he’s off his rocker more than half the time, especially his editing skills, but then they’re likely hired out and he is losing the cake it cost him there. I just don’t like him, and this is just all the more redundant.

  8. 8
    The Holy Chair says:

    Barton once reviewed Difficult To Cure and spoke badly about it.

    Too many people have too much stature.

  9. 9
    Bo Finn Poulsen says:

    But still most people are talking about Blackmore. Blackmore was and still is THE sound of Purple. That has nothing to do with the great Steve Morse. He is great, but Blackmore IS THE Deep Purple sound.
    If 1000 Purple fans around the world got the choice of a Purple concert with Steve OR with Ritchie I’m 99% sure that most of them would go for Ritchie. I would.

  10. 10
    ormandy says:

    Who is Blackmore?

  11. 11
    DPDAVE says:


  12. 12
    George Martin says:

    Does it really matter who’s been there longer? Let’s just be happy we still have this great band around. When the day comes it is over we will all be very bummed out. Whether it’s Morse or Blackmore, Airey or Lord we must tell ourselves the same things we tell our kids. ” You get what you get and don’t get upset “. Long live Purple!

  13. 13
    Moreblack says:

    # 10,the creator and owner of a legacy.Deep Purple!!!

  14. 14
    Larry R. Toering says:

    WHAT NUTSENSE! I would rather see Morse replaced by Tiny friggen Tim, as long as the other mkII players go concerning Ritchie, a band is a completely different thing than he has known to fuction properly with since the 70’s. If people don’t get along and enjoy being around one another for extended periods of time, there is NO such thing as a band where they’re concerned. It comes second after knowing how to play, and never came at all for him. Without that respect, the music suffers to the level of phony. I thought Barton was senile, whoa! Glad to have an agrreing moment with The Holy Chair for once, it’s about as bizarre as some of the Blackmore mentions here.

  15. 15
    Eddie6string says:

    I can’t help but feel that with modern medical techniques, Steve could have an extra digit attached to his left hand & that doing so would throw everyone’s calculations right out – not to mention the extra dimension this would add to his playing!

  16. 16
    Jerry says:

    If Geoff Barton said it, it must be of huge significance. As Ronald Regan once said, “facts are stupid things!”

  17. 17
    Jeogger Matthews says:


  18. 18
    Sami says:

    Morse who!?!? Nah, Tracy put it well, good on you ‘old man’:)

  19. 19
    Masse444 says:

    @ 4

    “Reckoning that the first time they played the song onstage was probably March 9, 1973 (in London, registered in the In Concert 1970-1972 album; the previous recording I have, from KB Hallen one week before, does not include the song)”

    So how about “Made In Japan” which was recorded in August 1972, and they weren’t the first concerts to include SOTW, I think you missed a year or so…. I guess you refer to the show from Copenhagen in ’72… But I enjoy your statistics in general!

  20. 20
    The Holy Chair says:

    Ask yourself the question which version of a MK 2 song you want to hear at your funeral and still tell me that will be one with Morse.

    Hi Jerry

    Recently I tried to arrange some ordering of MBTP issues and a subscription.

    For now I gave up.In the meantime I ordered something from ebay instead.
    E bay on which you seem to seel a lot as well.

    Anyway, hard to proceed at your website.
    Trying to call or email fell flat as well.

    Dont you want members?

    Is Deaf Barton holy?

    Btw, I did like your LLR&R book.

    Cheers, Mark

  21. 21
    Peter Glithero says:

    If you look at the quality of output v quality of quantity of recording, output and excitement, plus the degree of maverick as well, His Lordship, RB, reigns. Have been honoured to see him live in many formats……….shame he fell out with IG.

  22. 22
    Marcelo SOares says:

    I meant 1972, of course. Typo.

  23. 23
    alf + says:

    Blackmore a real master a really hard, heavy guitar player king of riffs and solos, the best. deep purple WAS Blackmore and lord.
    Morse?… only… mmm… “something good”

  24. 24
    Eddie6string says:


    I would like the original ‘When a Blind Man Cries’ to Morph into the 1996 Live at Montreux version & then back again for the outro.

    Alternatively all the musicians involved (And let’s just take a moment to reflect on the fact that they are all still alive today – unheard of for many bands from this era!) could turn up to do the above arangement Live.

    The only problem I perceive – is that I don’t intend to die!

    Could I book them for my next wedding anniversary?

  25. 25
    Mark Davis says:

    I agree with Roger Glover about comparisons, however I feel the following should be pointed out: It’s not who played with the band longer, it’s who wrote the best classic albums that matters.

    How about this for a statistic: Ritchie Blackmore; 13 Studio Albums with Deep Purple in 5820 Days. Far more prolific as a writing contributor to the band

    Steve Morse; 4 Studio Albums with Deep Purple in 6062 Days – that’s only 30 % as much as Ritchie in a longer amount of time

    Morse is a great guy and a great player, but let’s get serious, this line-up will never touch albums like In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, Burn, and Perfect Strangers.

  26. 26
    John says:

    I’d like “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” played at my funeral… That song is the Morse era’s SOTW… Long Live the Morse Era!!!

  27. 27
    The Holy Chair says:

    In my best moments I dont intend to die too : )

    Which makes me change my mind from time to time regarding my preferences in general, and so what should be my funeralsong.

    If I choose to be cremated it should obviously be thrown out on sea, which is almost an opening for Smoke On The Water.

    Strangely enough SOTW is not on my toplist of DP songs.

    Right now I d feel for something by MK 1 : Anthem, April, Blind…..
    Something like that.

  28. 28
    Jeogger Matthews says:

    … How about “Contact Lost” for your funeral?!

  29. 29
    Eddie6string says:

    On a semi- serious note about the Blackmore V Morse input/output statistics – you’ve missed out on a really vital element to the overall assessments of worth. Shirley, oops I mean Surely, the amount of time spent listening to an Artist is the most important factor (Even more than CD Sales & Download stats).

    On my ‘Favourites’ USB plug-in for the Radio player in my Land Rover, I have approx;

    DP Mk I X 1 Track
    DP Mk II X 13 Tracks
    DP Mk III X 3 tracks
    DP Mk VI to present Line up 9 Tracks

    Out of all the above, ‘Ted the Mechanic’ gets me in the mood for driving those narrow Devon Lanes & ‘Rosa’s Cantina’ always raises a smile on my son’s face.

    As a slight point of interest the other balance of tracks/artists is;

    Family X 8
    Be- Bop Deluxe X 4
    Montrose X 1
    Kansas X 1
    Ian Dury X 1
    Faces X 2
    Frank Zappa X 5
    Black Sabbath X 1
    Linkin Park X 1
    Laura Gibson X 1
    + others that my brain wont retrieve at the mo
    The only artist criminaly omited is the Temperence Seven (George Martin’s first No1 selling single)

  30. 30
    The Holy Chair says:

    Women among us could try “Girls Like That” ?

    Or ” Living Wreck”? : )

  31. 31
    George Martin says:

    If you choose to be cremated it has to be Burn!

  32. 32
    BIG AL says:

    As I said before, I’m glad the lads are still together,but in all honesty, DP is simply not DP without Blackmore. Morse has concluded,how can anyone replace Blackmore? You can’t, just do your thing,which he does well. But for me and many who won’t admit it,Ritchie is Deep Purple’s guitarist!!

  33. 33
    The Holy Chair says:

    @ 31

    Good one!!! : )

  34. 34
    Moreblack says:

    And the crowd yelds Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie…

  35. 35
    Marcelo Soares says:

    The best way to understand what happens in Deep Purple is when you compare it to the dynamic of great jazz bands. One member changes, the sound changes. And that’s great.

    In the late 60s, the Miles Davis Quintet was not the same without John Coltrane. But alas, they did Bitches Brew.

    You can certainly not like 100% of what Miles or Deep Purple did. But the fun of it is hearing what changes with the changes in the roster. And that’s a lot. Deep Purple has no two similar records, which makes it really fun.

  36. 36
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:

    @34 Moreblack…….

    I guess you haven’t attended any Purple concerts in the past 15 years. I have been to many and I have yet to hear anybody ‘yeld’ Ritchie….

    You need to get out more. Maybe you can hook up with ‘Holy Crap’ and go on a double date to a Purple gig and yell ‘Ritchie, Ritchie, Ritchie’…. Then when you both wake up from getting your arses kicked by the Fans you can lick each other’s wounds and head to a BN show in the Forest where your hero in his pointy hat and tights can be your minstrel, play his lute for you, soothing your beat up little bodies. Then after the show, you can all three ‘skip to my Lou my darling’, holding hands into the sunset……


  37. 37
    The Holy Chair says:

    @ 36

    It remains awkward to see such outings by someone that drewled over BN when he saw the show.

  38. 38
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:

    Holy Crap,

    Looking out for a fellow Morse Basher….how sweet.

    My comments are based on the sensless drivel type remarks regarding Ritchie and Purple.
    Again…Love BN. Got All the CDs. Been to 2 shows. Either of YOU? My point is. Don’t like Purple without Ritchie? Do as I stated above. Don’t like what Ritchie is doing without Purple? You are fucked then….


  39. 39
    S. Degiorgio says:

    What matters most in career performance is quality, not quantity. Morse may play off another 10,000 gigs more than Blackmore, but in the end, he’s playing Blackmore’s stuff. To date, Morse (and Deep Purple) have not composed one single riff that has stood to immortality, unlike Blackmore’s riffs (and compositions) which have made solid, indelible history. If Deep Purple as of today were to cut out from their live performances the material that Blackmore has composed, they’d be dead and gone as no one would stake any interest in the post-Blackmore compositions that Deep Purple have issued so far. Deep Purple today is still riding on the crest of popularity on the strength of its past success, and NOT on what has been produced in the aftermath of Blackmore’s departure.

  40. 40
    Bigger AL says:

    Some people will stick the knife in whenever they can, Morse may be in the band longer, but he still is playing RB’s stuff. Ritchie is and always will be the man, Get over it.

  41. 41
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Hey ‘Bigger AL’…

    Yes, Steve is playing RB stuff. He took over when RB bailed. Thank GOD! RB isn’t playing it any more. He has opted to play the lute in his fantasy forest while wearing a pointy little hat and green tights. Meanwhile Purple lives on. Morse plays RB and Morse stuff now. Maybe when RB quits BN, Steve will take over there too. He is more than capable. One thing is for sure, Morse can do RB stuff, but I doubt RB can do Morse stuff….

    Nuff Said…


  42. 42
    dirtydog says:

    Silly discussion!
    Thank you Steve for saving Deep Purple.

  43. 43
    Frank Vaughan says:

    Morse can play circles around RB. All you have to do is listen.I don’t think a lot of people can keep up with Steve and carry on an intelligent conversation at the same time. He plays RB’s riffs better than the former could dream of.That’s why he still has a job. Because Steve Morse Rocks!

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