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Mary told Johnny not to write such trash

Classic Rock has a feature story on Mary Long, based on interviews (which may or may not be from the archives) with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover:

If there’s anything likely to upset Ian Gillan more than a self-styled moral crusader with a viewpoint diametrically opposed to his own, it’s two of them. Back in 1972, with Deep Purple Mark II at the height of their fame and touring to promote Machine Head, that holier-than-thou duet were Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford.

Committed Christian Whitehouse, in her assumed role as guardian of Britain’s moral standards led the ‘Clean Up TV’ campaign, railing against anyone who dared swear the word ‘bloody’ on television. She was driven apoplectic, therefore, by the Alf Garnett character in Johnny Speight’s seminal anti-racism sitcom Till Death Do Us Part (much loved by Gillan), as well as comedians Dave Allen and Benny Hill, and just about everything else that made the rest of us laugh.

Then, as Purple were about to commence sessions for what would become Who Do We Think We Are, news broke that former Labour minister and Knight of the Garter Lord Longford was campaigning for the release of Moors murderer Myra Hindley.

Read more in Classic Rock.

53 Comments to “Mary told Johnny not to write such trash”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    I was only playing this album again last weekend & I was explaining the lyrics for this song, which I have always liked, to a friend who hails from that part of the world & that era & was very familiar with Whitehouse & her ‘anal’ comments. Gillan can write some good ‘tongue in cheek’ lyrics at times. Those upper class twits can easily get up ones nose with their snobbery! WDWTWA is a good album, a nice mix & sounds fresh still to this day! Some of us here were only discussing this album a few weeks back! Hooray! Cheers.

  2. 2
    Leigh Williams says:

    WOW. NO NO NO……Yes yes yes! What a great clip from a much underrated album. l’ve never seen or heard them do that one.

  3. 3
    Jeff Summers says:

    A master lyric with great humour and intelligent delivery. Always loved this song and this album. MK II at their best despite the personal differences.

  4. 4
    cyclone says:

    I like the story behind “Space Truck’n” not a doper song but a song about a cartoon character walking with the big shoes on and swinging what looked like balls on a string. (no pun ha) It was drawn on many of notebooks back in school during that time. People made copies of that character so we could trace it easily onto our notebooks. IG a master story teller.

  5. 5
    Nick says:

    It can’t be a coincidence that Mary Whitehouse’s book, published in 1971, was titled Who Does She Think She Is?

  6. 6
    al says:

    I think Gillan never gets the credit as a good lyricist,of course it is Gillan/Glover mostly,but I like the “double entendre” in this song.Interesting story ,As much as I love all the Deep Purple line- ups,I would have loved to see a line up with Blackmore-Paice-Rodgers-Lynnot! wow !

  7. 7
    Martin says:

    Couldn’t ever really understand why WDWTWA would be a bad album and a regression. Classic Woman From Tokyo, great riff and Jon solo in Rat Bat Blue – Mary Long as a hidden champ. I still enjoy putting on this record, just like # 1 MacGregor.

  8. 8
    Smoke Tea says:

    I agree Jeff.

  9. 9
    Scoot says:

    I had heard this song before I heard Woman From Tokyo. I bought the album in order to listen to Mary Long any time I wanted to.

  10. 10
    al says:

    I am actually surprised they haven’t played any other songs beside Woman From Tokyo,( and Mary Long a few times)I understand the hard core fans wants to listen to the classics,but I won’t mind bumping that song for a Smooth Criminal or Rat Bat Blue,even though Gillan cannot sing those songs,cause they are really high for hi age now.

  11. 11
    IKEN says:

    As far as i’m concernd,Mary Long and Rat Bat Blue are my fav.songs on this sadly underrated album…….The low point is Place in line…… 😉

  12. 12
    LRT says:

    “At times?” = deaf ears

  13. 13
    Alerickson says:

    For my money one of the best DP tunes for vocals and an excellent display of the musicianship of all the band members is “Place in Line” ….

  14. 14
    purplepriest1965 says:


  15. 15
    purpoz says:

    @11 – I can’t agree about Place in Line. A simple blues riff it may be but it’s a great groove, interesting vocal and tasty guitar. That song is actually a highlight for me, ahead of Smooth Dancer, Super Trouper and (most certainly) Our Lady.

  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    Place in Line is a classic blues track & Our Lady is a wonderful song! How many people that I know who only ‘know’ Purple for the obvious music, hear that song & say ‘who is this, it sort of sounds like it could be Deep Purple’? Blackmore just plays some nice suttle rhythmic guitar throughout the song & as I said earlier, you don’t need lead guitar on every song. It is a wonderful melody from Gillan. Cheers.

  17. 17
    Chip says:

    Compared to the first 3 Mark 2 albums WDYTWA is a distant 4th. Mary Long is a pretty inspired piece, but Our Lady maybe the worst Mark 2 song of all time (if you include reunion stuff it is edged out by the frightfully horrible Lick it Up off of TBRO) Place in the Line is a plodding mess, only saved somewhat by Ritchie’s best solo on the record.

    This is an interesting piece, especially for a Yank like me not as conversant on 70’s British politics….

  18. 18
    nupsi59 says:

    “Place in Line” is in my top-5-list of favourite purple-songs. I love the organ/guitar “battle” and always wished that the band will perform this track live in concert.

    “Mary Long” is the song with one of the best gillan-lyrics, full of sarcasm and a good sense of humour.

    The organ-solo in “Rat Bat Blue” drives me crazy; this and the solo in “Burn” is one of Jon’s fastest studioworks.

    Have a nice day!

  19. 19
    IKEN says:

    The organsolo is speeded up in Rat Bat Blue…And,i still think that ”Place in line” is the weakest song on the album 😉 That’s it…and,oh,my age? I’m 55 Thank you very much! 🙂

  20. 20
    Jeff Summers says:

    Iken, you are completely wrong. That solo is not sped up. That is perfect technique. Do not make such sweeping statements unless you are sure 🙁

  21. 21
    Svante Axbacke says:

    That middle section of the solo starting at 2:37, with the piano or clavinet or whatever, is most likely sped up. It has not so much to do with the speed of it as the sound of it.

  22. 22
    Peter Chrisp says:

    One of their most underrated albums W.D.W.T.W.A, although it leads a lot more to a “funkier” edge with more accent on Jon’s
    keyboards and less on Ritchie’s guitar prowess, i still find it’s still a great album to listen too and i could not agree more with purpoz “Place In Line” is a great track, having that in mind i will revisit the album

  23. 23
    Nick says:

    I always thought the production on WDWTWA was clean and ballsy, for example, the phased effects in Super Trouper. As much as I like Woman from Tokyo, the way Martin Birch faded the guitar into Jon’s cool piano solo I thought could have been better. I remember well hearing the stabbing riff of Rat Bat Blue on the radio a lot in 1973, and that drew me to the album. I agree that WDWTWA was underrated in some respects, but you could sense something was up. Gillan’s vocals are some of his best in studio. Our Lady was a catchy tune that could have benefited greatly if Ritchie decided to join in. I agree with Ritchie, though, that Painted Horse was best left off the album; it didn’t fit, although I’m glad it was eventually released. As a side note, I named my boat Smooth Dancer!

  24. 24
    Scott W. says:

    I have also read reviews of the album where it was said it WAS speeded up. I’d like to think not Jon being the virtuoso that he was! I wish he was here to clarify… will have to read the WDWTWA Anniversary Edition notes to possibly find out. Maybe Roger or the Ian(s) remember?

  25. 25
    MacGregor says:

    It is an interesting little piece of modulation or oscillation perhaps? Back then the musicians were into the ‘new’ technology of a single note played & being repeated at whatever speed you wanted it to, depending on who was controlling the knob or dial. Pete Townshend used it on The Who’s Next album I think. Also Pink Floyd on Dark Side? I may be wrong of course, but that’s what it sort of sounds like to me! Cheers.

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    Just been watching The Dark Side Of The moon Classic Rock Albums dvd & I think this could be what was used for the ‘speeded up bit’ on Rat Bat Blue? Just a thought of curiosity! Cheers.

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    Or maybe this little setup from Townshend, but I think it could be the Floyd rig setup myself, possibly! Part 3 at 6.30 there is an interesting bit with the maestro Townshend & the first few minutes of part 4 also. Cheers.

  28. 28
    Svante Axbacke says:

    I think it was simply a case of speeding the tape machine down during recording.

  29. 29
    MacGregor says:

    Down? That or they ended up with Rick Wakeman nailing that little section! Cheers.

  30. 30
    Jeff Summers says:

    There is absolutely no reason why Jon would slow down the tape to play the solo in RBB. He was perfectly more than capable of playing it accurately at the natural tape speed. It’s played with an emulated harpsichord sound which is naturally in a higher register than normal keys mixed with something else (I’m no keyboard player) and his extraordinary hand and finger speed give it a Micky Mouse effect. Personally I think it is played without tape speed tinkering 🙂

  31. 31
    MacGregor says:

    Seriously though, I have never really taken any notice of that little section before, certainly not to ever query the speed of it! I thought about it on the weekend after reading a few comments, played it & then thought, well it could possibly be a little bit of studio trickery, who can tell.
    The Pink Floyd ‘On The Run’ thing came to my mind as well as Townshend, purely curiosity though. It was 1972, the same year, ’71 for the Who thing, who can tell what gadgets they (Purple) had in the studio to play with. But I have heard Rick Wakeman hammer really fast harpsichord & other keyboard solo’s over the years, I don’t think Lord was as quick as Wakeman though, but on a good day, anything can happen! It is an interesting curiosity in a way! All good fun! Cheers.

  32. 32
    ratbat says:

    I personally love wdwtwa! Smooth Dancer is a classic as is our lady.
    Different strokes for different folks aye!

  33. 33
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    There is some fine Purple music on this album and is the first testament to the FACT that Purple could go on (did and still does) without Ritchie. Yes he is present (at a bare minimum), but obviously the rest of the band carried this album and Gillan stepped up his game with a variety of singing styles and creative lyrics to help fill the gap. The band took command. Later came CTTB which is a fantastic album and then of course Purpendicular and beyond. I will repeat here that I believe it would be a worthwhile project for Present Purple to revisit this album and give Morse the opportunity to add some guitar work into. It would be fitting. This was Gillan and Glover’s last album with Purple until the Reunion Album 15 years later. Since Jon Lord pretty much carried it with tons of Keys and Piano, it would be yet another reason. Have Bob Ezrin take the Master Tapes and go into the studio with Steve Morse and do a Re-Master adding guitar. There is tons of room for it and it would give it a whole new life.

    As for the Rat Bat Blue discussion regarding the piano and its speed, I have listened to it over and over and find it hard to believe that it was tampered with. The tempo of the song never changes and the notes that he is hitting are perfectly timed in there. This is before the digital age and I find it hard to believe they could have fit that in so precisely and in proper timing. Especially with how rushed that album was. Let me remind all here, this is Jon Lord during his prime. He was Ritchie’s match on the Hammond. Speed and virtuosity. I am fully confident that he played that himself just as is.

    Just for fun, below are two performances of that song performed in 1996 by MK7. It is played a little differently, but that portion of the song is touched on a little and it shows that it is very likely he did it the way it on the album. He doesn’t switch to piano and stays on keyboard. This performance is 23 years after the recording of that album and obviously age would play a part in his dexterity, yet I find his speed to still shine through.

    This one is a video of a performance and sound is of poor quality but still listenable……

    This one is an audio recording of a different performance with better sound quality……

    They only played this song a couple of times LIVE and it was still pulled off quite well. I wish they would have kept it in the set and polished it up a little more, but it does at least give credence to the added guitar so desperately needed.


  34. 34
    MacGregor says:

    Tracy@33- I wouldn’t say Blackmore is there (at a bare minimum), he is there throughout the album, it’s just that he doesn’t solo on a couple of tracks & for me that is a good thing, one reason the album is refreshing in a way! Lead guitar can get monotonous at times, too predictable etc! It reminds me of Mark 1 in a way, as Lord was the main ‘solo’ player on some of that material also!
    The one thing that annoys me with Jethro Tull at times is too much flute, too often & too predictable on so many tracks!
    As the ‘masters’ Pink Floyd used to say ‘leave it out, don’t play anything, let it breathe’!
    As for Morse redoing guitar on WDWTWA, there is no way he would touch that & gladly! I know what you are saying & it is an interesting thought, but it is too sacred the Blackmore Purple for anyone to touch! Same with Jon Lord, never! Cheers.

  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    Tracy@33- thanks for the links, wow, after 4 decades to hear that song in a different era & with a ‘different’ keyboard solo, was weird in a good way! It’s a great riff with a scintillating solo from Lord, the lyrics are typical Gillan, but that is a minor thing compared to the rest of it! I have always liked the song, especially played loud! Cheers.

  36. 36
    Scott W says:

    @33 Okay, so this Album had ritchie take a back seat as it were, proving the band could do it without Ritchie. Then came ‘BURN’ and the band (with a prominent Ritchie), proved they could do it without Ian and Roger! As for the comment on Jon’s Solo: “Tempo does not change and notes are perfectly timed”?!? Of course, this is not a live album. Jon could do as many takes as necessary till he got what he wanted. Then ,it is a simple case of dropping the bit onto the backing tracks. This did not require Digital age Technology.

  37. 37
    Scott W. says:

    @33 Are you serious!??! “Have Bob Ezrin take the Master Tapes and go into the studio with Steve Morse and do a Re-Master adding guitar. There is tons of room for it and it would give it a whole new life.”
    You do not tamper with history! The Album is just fine as is. Ozzy did that when he took Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake off of his first 2 solo LP’s! You must really dislike RB. Steve would laugh at such a suggestion himself. Maybe Ritchie should add some solos to Purpendicular or better yet, Rapture. (Lord knows that Album is lacking!) I think RB could work some magic on some Dreg’s tunes for sure now that i think of it…..

  38. 38
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Again, it was not speeded up/down because Jon couldn’t play it, it was to achieve an effect. No one said it was tampered with because Jon couldn’t handle it so I don’t understand why everyone feel they have to defend Jon’s abilities to play fast. (I also don’t understand why people are so obsessed with fast playing and loud screams but that is another story. 🙂 )

  39. 39
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Macgregor @34:

    I have always stated that one of the great things about Purple is the fact that each of their albums sound different. Even within the same MK. You are correct regarding that sometimes ‘less is more’ analogy, something else I have advocated. I am not complaining about the album. But even if I was, as with any individual, ‘to each his own’. At the time the album was released (I was a mere 17 years of age), I was quite disappointed in the lack of ‘Blackmore Guitar’. I loved the album but it seemed off the mark and due to being such a Blackmore fan by then, it just rubbed me wrong. Then when the next album followed without Gillan I really was distraught (but that’s another story for another section). Now of course after all these years and following the band throughout all the ups and downs and line-up changes, and being quite a bit older with a whole different insight and appreciation for ALL of the contributions I get it and actually prefer all of the variations coming to be rather than have been one line-up over the last 40 plus years. All that variety throughout the years makes for a huge array of PURPLE. Many different SHADES, which when you look back at the title of the very first album….. “Shades Of”, it was a perfect description of things to come. Some of which was hard to swallow at the time, but looking back it was a necessary evil to go through in order to get to where we are today….. Still Rockin’.

    All that being said, my point regarding WDYTWA and the Re-mastering of it with Morse is merely a fantasy discussion. Not something I yearn for. The topic of this section is Mary Long and of course evolved and morphed into other discussions regarding the Album and I just chimed in (as usual) with a related contribution.

    Scott W @36;

    Your Burn reference was addressed above, and you have made my point regarding what I feel was the case regarding the JL solo also. Good point.

    @37 is where the rub is so here goes…… Contrary to your ascertation, I not only do not DISLIKE TMIB, I am a HUGE FAN. I’m just not a ‘blubbering slobberer’. Hell, my whole point about WDYTWA was my disappointment of his being so scarce on the tracks. As for my desire for a Re-do with Morse, it was meant with no disrespect to Ritchie, just as an alternate angle for the album after all these years. Not as a replacement, just a fun addition. I of course know it wouldn’t happen. Both because Steve Morse wouldn’t do it, nor would Ezrin. It’s like going to a concert and listening to Morse and now Airey playing the MK2 stuff. I find their takes on the music refreshing and quite good. Different? Yes, THANK GOD. That is a good thing. Otherwise why waste the time and money going to a show if it is going to sound exactly as the original. Stay home and push play instead. As for Morse not doing it? I couldn’t agree more. Here is a cool experience I had with Steve that shows his respect for others (Ritchie) and class of a person. I was able to meet the band for the first time at a Meet & Greet back in 1997 and during that, I experienced a moment with Steve that is totally relevant to this discussion. As a matter of fact, instead of typing it again here, I will refer you to the link regarding that story within my review of the show I attended and met the band….


    Svante Axebacke @38;

    I’m not defending Jon regarding this point (if you are including me in your ascertation), I am just giving my opinion regarding the conversation and through my observation. My term ‘tampered’ meant ‘manipulated’. Unless there is documentation elsewhere, I just believe as with ‘Scott W’, that he actually played it as is without any studio technical ‘manipulation’ regarding it’s speed. Maybe some tone adjustment through the mixing board took place for sound effects, but the playing and speed was done as is by Jon Lord I do believe. Again not in defense but in opinion. The Maestro needs no defense. He stands on his own merit nobody can deny…

    All this comes full circle. “NOW WHAT” in relates to WDYTWA in this way. Steve took a back seat and let Don Airey unleash himself on this album and without a doubt it took a whole different direction. Yes, there is some fine Guitar work throughout, but it definitely is not in the same quantity as the Keys. Would I want it any different? No. That’s the album and it’s awesome. Just as WDYTWA. Would I nave a problem with hearing an alternate version with more guitar or even with Ritchie playing it? Hell no. It would be awesome. But that is not going to happen, at least not in this universe or time dimension. But, its fun to speculate……


  40. 40
    MacGregor says:

    Tracy@39- I agree, yes it is all different ‘shades of purple’ indeed. In some ways I prefer WDWTWA to the other 3 at times, it just has something different about it, but importantly it has good strong songs & that says it all in my book! As I said in my previous comment, your Morse guitar rave was an interesting thought & I enjoyed the 1996 live recordings of RBB! It must have been a joy for the other guys in Purple to be able to go back in time & play songs that they never, or hardly ever, played live before.
    On the subject of ‘no guitar solo’s’, I have been thinking about what other Purple MK2 songs that are without a Blackmore solo. Fireball (the track) of course, & also another off that album, Fools. It doesn’t have a conventional guitar solo. Sure it has the volume swell type of cello imitation solo, but not a ‘normal’ Blackmore guitar solo. An interesting note regarding these 2 albums without the odd guitar solo, is that they are the 2 albums that Blackmore doesn’t like very much & was not interested in certain songs on the albums, at the time of recording them. Cheers.

  41. 41
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Somehow I feel this man might have been a great choice for DP.


  42. 42
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:


    On WDYTWA, not only are the solos missing or really short, but even during the body of the songs he isn’t even there, which was why I entertained the Morse idea. During most of the tracks, Jon Lord carries it all, except for obviously Roger’s bass and Gillan’s vocals. Also there is much more singing on this album. Again, filling in for the missing Blackmore. Probably the nail in the coffin as to why Gillan quit. Touring and recording pressure along with TMIB being a major ass….. Hey, it’s all good. I love all the albums (even S&M sometimes). On that note, I’m compelled to add another album for Re-Doing. S&M with Gillan at the helm. Ah yes, more drama coming for sure on this one……’Mark’ my word.

    All shades of Deep Purple trumps anything else out there though, that’s for sure.


  43. 43
    Scott W. says:

    I often thought about the ‘no solo DP RB Tracks: Fireball, Anyones Daughter, Freedom, Smooth Dancer, Our Lady, Might just Take Your Life…..?

  44. 44
    MacGregor says:

    Tracy@42- I know what you are saying regarding Blackmore ‘going missing’. He has done that on other Purple & Rainbow tracks also, he doesn’t like rhythm guitar a lot. He has always been a riff & lead player mainly, when it comes to ‘normal’ rhythm type playing, he fiddles about or simply doesn’t play anything as if he is bored & no doubt he is at times! I remember an interview back in the late 70’s or maybe early 80’s, in the Guitar Player magazine I think it was & when asked about rhythm guitar he replied in a typical sarcastic way, ‘ I get Jimmy Page to come in & play that’, or something very similar! Classic Blackmore!
    He also looks bored during the rhythm sections at certain times when you watch him ‘live’ in concert, unless he leaves the stage that is!
    I am not sure about now days though, as I have never watched his Blackmore’s Night band in action! Cheers.

  45. 45
    Alerickson says:

    @Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder

    Have to comment because of your Slaves and Masters mention, yes, maybe not quite a Purple album for some tastes but in my books Fire in the Basement is an outstanding track where all members of the band shine, and King of Dreams is a great track as well.

  46. 46
    RGB says:

    I saw them play ‘Rat Bat Blue’ on the ‘Purpendicular’ tour and Jon nailed the solo at the same speed as the original. Don has spoken about how great that solo is without any mention of it being sped up. Like Rick Wakeman, Jon had superb technical ability, and I’ve never seen any reason to doubt that ability to play the solo.

  47. 47
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Again, it has nothing to do with anyone not being able to play something. It was to achieve a certain sound. I’m going to repeat this until I turn blue.

  48. 48
    purrfect stranger says:

    Who do we tuhink we are was easily one of best albums Purple ever did. Not one weak song on the entire album, although Our Lady was a bit strange. Blackmore had quite a few lead guitar highlights on this album. Lord was astonishing and the recording was excellent the one album that needs a remix is HOBL. Great album poor mix.

  49. 49
    MacGregor says:

    purrfect stranger@48- you hit the nail on the head there indeed, in total agreement with both your comments! WDWTWA is a wonderful album & HOBL is miles ahead of Perfect Strangers for quality of songwriting IMHO & certainly it is THE album that has to be remixed! TBRO is stronger than PS also I feel, PS was a poor album for a ‘comeback’ or first ‘reunion’ record, over rated & it sound like they were not trying that hard to me, a bit lazy perhaps, taking it for granted maybe! Excepting the title track which is a classic & one or two others, I never liked it & still don’t play it! Cheers.

  50. 50
    metaljim says:

    I’ve read that Jon’s solo in RBB was sped up for exactly the reason Svante says, for the effect. It’s without question that Jon could play very fast and very clean. However, the sound he was looking for on that section of the solo was achieved by recording it and then speeding it up. I’ll have to look, but I believe it’s discussed either in the remastered WDWTWA booklet or in the article about the WDWTWA remaster in an issue of Darker Than Blue. A quick listen should make it very obvious that the section has been sped up.

  51. 51
    MacGregor says:

    metaljim@50- it isn’t in the WDWTWA booklet of the remastered cd edition, I quickly pulled out the booklet a few weeks ago, when this topic was first mentioned. It would be interesting to read about it in some way, so if you can shed some light on this ‘issue’, it would be appreciated! Cheers.

  52. 52
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Until somebody produces a documented statement regarding otherwise, I am standing ground on the fact that it was recorded as is. Maybe some effects were used, but the playing was done as you hear it.

  53. 53
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Completely agreed Purrfect Stranger.

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