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Tensions, tantrums and traumas

The Classic Rock magazine is devoting its weekly Thursday Death Match feature to pitting Deep Purple against, well, Deep Purple. That is Mark 2 against Mark 3. And while there’s nothing new, it’s an entertaining read and you get to vote at the end after surrendering another bit of your privacy.

Geoff Barton puts forward a stellar case for the Mk2:

Today’s Death Match is so hopelessly mismatched, it’s the equivalent of Floyd Mayweather taking to the ring for a boxing rout with Pee-wee Herman. One flick of Floyd’s little pinkie and that would be it – poor ol’ Pee-wee splayed out gormlessly on the canvas, nose-broken and comatose, game over.

Even in the category marked ‘implosion’ Deep Purple Mk II win handsomely. Look, how many times did the Mk III line-up implode? Answer: just the once, in 1975, after the ill-judged, so-called “shoeshine music” of the Stormbringer album. Whereas Mk II imploded in 1973 after Who Do We Think We Are, in 1989 after The House Of Blue Light, and in 1993 after The Cattle Grazes On. Hell, we’re 3-1 up already!

Dave Ling retorts for the Mk3:

“Shoeshine music” – that’s what Blackmore famously called it whilst heading disdainfully for the door upon completion of Deep Purple’s 1974 album, Stormbringer, bringing the band’s Mk III line-up came to an ignominious end as he did so.

With just two albums to their name, the line-up comprising The Man In Black, plus frontman David Coverdale, bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, keyboard player Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice burned brightly and for a short space of time – less than 18 months.

Read more in Classic Rock.

29 Comments to “Tensions, tantrums and traumas”:

  1. 1
    Don Berry says:

    No choosing sides here, both DP’s were epic! !

  2. 2
    Alexandru Şestun says:

    It’s all about preferance really, because both line-ups had stunning musicians and you can see that on their albums, in the end it’s all about what their albums make you feel like. I enjoy Coverdale s bluesy voice and Glenn s touch as well but for me Gillan is the voice DP needs.

  3. 3
    Joe Crowley says:


  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    I have commented over at CR & didn’t choose which one is the ‘best’, as for me it is what we prefer. And that also comes down to what we ‘want’ to hear at certain times. Sometimes it is MK1 for me & not MK2 or 3 or the others. However, looking at a successful band or artist at their prime, MK2 is more known to most rock music fans as ‘Deep Purple’, simply because of the timing & output of the band. A bit like Pink Floyd with the classic 70’s lineup or Black Sabbath etc, etc! It is all good though to enjoy a plethora of certain tastes, the same with food & other things in life! Cheers.

  5. 5
    Jorge López De Cárdenas Ramírez says:

    Without MKII, MKIII wouldn’t even be on the map, however MKIII is far better from most world class groups

  6. 6
    nupsi59 says:

    When a young man, who had never heard of Deep Purple ask you to play him some Purple tunes, you surely will choose songs from the ‘Machine Head’-album, bits and pieces from ‘Fireball’ and ‘In Rock’, maybe some Mark I-roots like ‘Hush’, ‘Wring that Neck’, ‘Mandrake Root’ and then the ‘Made in Japan’-album in all its glory…

    The Mark II incarnation of Deep Purple was the most exciting, innovative and successful one, so I’m with Geoff Barton!

    I expect a lot of comments here, so take a deep breath…

    …and have a nice Day!

  7. 7
    Les Hedger says:

    I’d take both MKII and MKI over MKIII.

  8. 8
    Jakob H. says:

    While Mk2 doubtlessly created the greater songs I think that Mk3 was a great band in their own right. They gave us “Burn” and “Stormbringer” (the songs) and their live records prove that they also were stellar on stage.

  9. 9
    Scott says:

    MK II all the way. No other line-up from the 70’s comes close

  10. 10
    gareth says:

    MK II for me although the Burn album makes it into my top four Purple albums.Would love to hear Gillan sing Mistreated.

  11. 11
    Scott W says:

    Apples and Oranges…I love ’em all!

  12. 12
    Ian Reed says:

    Mark III is my favourite incarnation of Deep Purple but I believe every line up has had something unique and amazing to offer! What an incredible band!

  13. 13
    George Mallios says:

    Ian, even Mark 1 had some exciting moments and we’re not talking about Rod Evan’s fashion sense.. However Mark 2 & 3 is without doubt the classic period for you and me. Mark 3 the band surged forward and was reborn as a louder & flashier incarnation…

  14. 14
    Ian Reed says:

    Ah Rod…what an icon!! Totally agree George, though I would include Mark 4 as well!!!! Come Taste The Band is a dynamic, powerhouse album with so many textures! Still sounds as fresh today as when it was released in November 1975! Amazing!

  15. 15
    Wiktor says:

    Im with Scott “all the way”… MK II IS and will always be: Deep Purple. If the band in 73, after Gillan and Glover had left, would just given themself another name that would be cool; They could call themself “Rainbow, Whitesnake, Heaven and Hell, Black sheep, Super Trouper” or whatever…and I would go: hey thats a good group, thats good mucic! But dont call yourself Deep Purple for crying out loud…
    And last, if we look at the albums they made;
    MK II made two legandary outstanding albums and two very good albums, while MK III made one sort of good, and one lousy one…. MK II and MK III are not in the same league even….

  16. 16
    Sterling says:


    Over the years the MkII and current version have been willing to play Hush and a few other MKI songs. Real fans, though they may have their favorite Mark, tend to enjoy the entire Deep Purple canon. (As mentioned previously, I had a preference for the first three versions. Now What has reinvigorated my Purple interest.) But the current Purple can’t bring themselves to play MKIII. Such a shame as this line up, so amazing on Now What, would turn Burn inside out. Let me pause for a second, and just imagine that performance. Gillan might be challenged at points (or even disinterested) but it would be thrilling, particularly if Steve added a touch of attack to his tone.

    Okay, enough of that. Heady days. I’m flying from Singapore to Vancouver to see Rush July 17, and then I’m seeing Purple July 20 in Toronto. It doesn’t get much better than that. My favorite band (Purple) and my favorite Canadian band (Rush). This should make up for Purple’s Singapore show just over a year ago, when they didn’t play anything from the new album (it was released a bit later).

    Just curious, anyone know of a post show get together? It would be amazing to meet the band and fellow fans.

  17. 17
    Buttockss says:

    Mk2 started it all and had the classic songs like smoke, women from Tokyo, highway star, space truckin, fireball, child in time, space truckin, lazy.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Wiktor @15 – you need to look again at Deep Purple the band & their history, just in case you have forgotten it! Blackmore, Lord & Paice were Deep Purple, MK’s 1, 2 & 3 with a different lead vocalist & bass guitarist in each lineup. If your logic was to be followed, what would MK 2 have been called then? Cheers.

  19. 19
    David Sanderson says:

    It has to be Mk2. I probably wouldn’t even have gone to Knebworth or bought any more DP albums if it had been Mk3 who had reformed. That line up never really ‘excited’ me.

  20. 20
    Fender123 says:

    Some interesting views here as usual but come on everyone – is there ANY incarnation of Deep Purple that compares with MkII ??? Really ??? Blackmore Gillan Glover Lord Paice is the reason we are here today. As for MkII -v- MkIII:- play In Rock, then play Stormbringer. QED.

  21. 21
    Wiktor says:

    Well, MacGregor, like everything else, cars, a certain wine, champagne or whisky, a certain airplane model it takes some “doing” before you get it right and then; Thats it! Thats the model..thats Porsche 911!! Thats the 747 airplane, thats Bollinger, thats Grant whisky…LOL And thats MK II Thats Deep Purple!! Not MK I and not MK III, and absolutely not MK IV.

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    Wiktor @ 21- I will give you 9/10 for humour, very funny indeed! Comical, but funny! As the saying goes, ‘history never repeats’! Cheers.

  23. 23
    Joeyrenaldo says:

    Death match eagerly awaited: Plant vs. Gillan and Blackmore vs. page….

  24. 24
    Anthony says:

    MK111 made a classic rock album–“Burn”..went off the rail on “Stormbringer” . I think if Glenn Hughes wasn’t in the band I probably would have liked them more but the guy just irritates me and still does..he took ( musical ) advantage of a situation ( particularly in Ritchie’s life ) during the making of “Stormbringer” and the band subsequently made a somewhat uncharacteristic purple album.

  25. 25
    Wiktor says:

    Cheers MacGregor!!

  26. 26
    Uwe says:

    Mark II was more “prog” (Fireball is essentially a prog album) than Mark III, it came with the times (late sixties, early seventies) and the youth of the participants. While Mark III still had lengthy improvisations, they had become more insular (Jon does his thing and then Ritchie does his), Mark II was more of an inspirational communion of minds. And both Coverdale and Hughes never really felt comfortable with what prog remnants Mark III still had. One wanted a Bad Company approach, the other would have liked Mark III to be an early Mothers Finest!

    I’m hard-pressed to say which line-up I like(d) better. Mark II didn’t really start writing catchy songs until Machine Head and Who Do We Think We Are, In Rock was more a statement of intent and new-found sound than a collection of hummable songs, Fireball was, well, proggy and off-the-wall! And I’m not one of those who damns Stormbringer (Burn is among my favorite DP albums in any case), from the 70ies albums it has even aged best – along with Come Taste The Band – as regards its sonics. And it is full of brilliant little moments where even a listless and dissatisfied Blackmore could still contribute greatness, never mind that he had run out of the real good riffs on that album (or saved them all for Rainbow’s debut).

    If push comes to shove, I might prefer Mk II for Gillan’s lyrical wit and his knack for doing vocally the unexpected – to the banjo players eternal chagrin. DC and Glenn were both wonderful singers (and unbeatable when they swapped vocal lines or sang harmony), but their vocal melodies were hardly ever unexpected (Glenn’s still more so than DC’s very conservative/traditional approach) and the lyrics almost always naff/cringeworthy. Lyrically Mk III plunged the depths of Foghat, not that stadium America minded, but Mary Long it certainly wasn’t.

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    Uwe @ 26- an interesting observation & true in many aspects. Most of, if not all of the ‘prog’ experimental bands straightened up by the mid 70’s. Purple MK2 also became more song orientated towards their demise & as you say, MK 3 was a song based band even more so! We can see that in Rainbow also, Rising has an experimental side 2 on it, but LLR&R was much more song (commercially?) based & after Dio left, well even more so! Back to MK3, in the studio the dual (duel) vocals were fine in certain pieces, but live in concert, Hughes was the destroyer of the ‘duelling’ vocal! Way over the top, ego out of control as we see on California Jam & we also hear on the following tour, even worse! I always have thought that Coverdale should have been left to most of the vocals & definitely on the MK2 songs! To my ears it is Hughes that destroys Smoke & Space Truckin’ live on the Jam concert! Cheers.

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    Machine Head is the classic album everybody remembers , but things were going stale & boring. Mark 3 came about & bought life in the band. Both Burn & Stormbringer are great albums, Glenn`s bass work is very strong, & funky. They played some of the best blues I have ever heard. Ritchie started sounding even better . Some great songs were made , like Burn, Mistreated , You Fool No One. By no means were they a dud line up. Sometimes I find them better to listen to, than mark 2 or any other line up

  29. 29
    Moe says:

    MII and MVII.

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