[hand] [face]
The Original Deep Purple Web Pages
The Highway Star

That clinking clanking sound

Broken piggy bank

TL;DR: financial affairs of the pre-reunion Purple are a huge mess. Lots of money “disappeared”. Lawsuits are abundant. Gory details below.


From time to time news stories pop up about various lawsuits being filed regarding financial legacy of the band (and, of course, the lucrative Marks 2 and 3 in particular). The stories seem bizarre, even more so when you consider that Britain is a fairly civilized island and provides public access to the court records. Here we will try to put it all together into a more or less a coherent story based on said records.


As you might know, Deep Purple were managed by Edwards and Coletta through their company HEC Enterprises. Later on, they’ve set up a second company called Deep Purple (Overseas) to manage the band’s affairs outside of UK. Both companies were supposed, among other things, to collect and account for the royalties of Deep Purple music.

When Blackmore left the band in 1975, he asked Deep Purple’s booking agent Bruce Payne to manage his new band Rainbow through Bruce’s company Thames Talent. Then Purple reunion happened. The reunited band inherited Rainbow crew and management. Thames Talent has been managing the band ever since. This is how Deep Purple ended up with two different management teams responsible for different things — HEC and DP(O) for Marks 1 through 4, and Thames Talent from 1984 onwards. Just to make it absolutely clear which management we’re talking about: the rest of this article deals exclusively with the HEC and DP(O).


Every time Smoke got played on the radio or Burn used in a commercial, a faint ka-ching could be heard at the HEC and DP(O) offices. The trickles formed creeks, which merged into streams. Eventually, money was supposed to be distributed among all the interested parties. Naturally, not everybody was quite happy as to how exactly it was done, and after some legal wrangling a new agreement was reached in 2005 between Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice on one side, and HEC, DP(O), Edwards, and Coletta on the other.

According to this agreement, a new company called Purpletuity Ltd was formed, with all copyrights to be transferred to this company, and proceeds from the royalties to be split between artists and managers according to the undisclosed, but detailed terms. Other members of the band were also included in the agreement, as “artists” were defined as “artists, including the Claimants, who contributed to the composition of any of the Compositions or performed on any of the Recordings”. If the new company was to be sold, proceeds would be split with 20% to the managers and 80% to the 5 members of Mark 2.

Things didn’t go quite as planned

Purpletuity was incorporated in November 2005. The entire issued share capital in the new company was held by DP(O). However, not all the provisions of the 2005 agreement were implemented. In particular, copyrights were not transferred to the new company and instead, HEC and DP(O) continued to receive the income from royalties. John Coletta died in 2006. Tony Edwards died in 2010. Their share of ownership has passed to the members of their respective families.

In June 2015 Blackmore filed a lawsuit against HEC and DP(O) for the money owed to him, including under the 2005 agreement. Next month, Gillan, Glover, Paice, and Vicky Lord brought separate proceedings against HEC, DP(O) and former managers’ estates to enforce the 2005 agreement. HEC and DP(O) went into administration in January 2016 (which also prompted this statement). In September 2016 a judge ruled that Purpletuity shares should be split 20% to the managers’ estates and 80% to the 5 members of Mark 2, including Jon Lord’s estate. To complicate the matters further, in August the same year Coverdale filed a claim for 5% ownership in Purpletuity. This claim is still pending.

On top of all that, one Dipak Shanker Rao served as an accountant for all three companies (HEC, DP(O), and Purpletuity) and as the executor of both Edwards’ and Coletta’s estates. On the said gentleman’s watch £2.27 million were “misappropriated”, of which only £477,000 have been recovered so far. His assets have been frozen.

The splitting of legal hairs continues to this day and billable hours keep piling up with no end in sight.

Clear as mud now?

Sources: [2016] EWHC 3179 (Ch), with heads up from Blabbermouth.

14 Comments to “That clinking clanking sound”:

  1. 1
    Jason Hillenburg says:

    It actually sums things up rather nicely.

  2. 2
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave… Hahahahaha!.

  3. 3
    Xavier says:

    The Battle Rages on…

  4. 4
    The Bodger says:

    Is this why the DP Overseas Live Series isn’t completed yet? There were 10 releases scheduled, but only 6 have appeared. Anyone know if the others are likely to appear? (They make a great set on vinyl!)

  5. 5
    DeeperPurps says:

    On the bright side of things, Classic Rock Magazine has been saved from extinction by its former publisher, Future.

  6. 6
    LRT says:

    You simply do not have the full scoop. Purpletuity is but one of the 30 odd companies Rao had access to, and his clause is not something I can share, but perhaps that will come out and might help clear up some confusion about how a man can get away with such a thing. You might also find out where he was putting the skims, and why. People are reading, so I’ll stop there. But it’s all a matter of interest, and some can be bothered here with this portion of the legacy, or not. To know you have to care about that side of things, and then other insiders go to town and run it by you.

  7. 7
    LRT says:

    Just one of likely many who got wind of the records when they were available. That’s all.

  8. 8
    MrPtheDPfan says:

    What a fucking mess . And you thought the various problems between band members was something . And now every time somebody passes , the number of claimants increases .

  9. 9
    Rascal says:

    Edwards & Colletta families have a number of ‘Purple’ named companies, with some including past and present members of DP – some owned by holding companies.

    The winners in this type of mess are the bull sh*tting business men.

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 5 – all the best to you for another year of rock ‘n roll & everything else as well! Yes indeed, Classic Rock returns, just in time to settle my withdrawal symptoms. Maybe the site & mag will have some improvements etc! A few rabid Purple & Blackmore aficionados have already posted the same! Cannot keep them down it seems & I am one of them! Cheers.

  11. 11
    Jack Daniel says:

    Everything left or recovered should be split among the band members to everyone’s mutual satisfaction and all other parties should be cut out of the settlement for punitive damages for thinking they were going to get away with something. And as for lawyers they’re nothing but thieves with a license.

  12. 12
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @ 10 – yes I see all the usual suspects are back over there commenting again about that wonderful development! And seems there is some consensus on those boards about more Deep Purple articles being needed. It will be interesting to see if the new (old) publisher and writing team adjust the format of that magazine in response.

    As for the HEC / DP(O) legal mess noted above, I wish that could be sorted out as easily and happily for our heroes as the CRM rescue was, however me thinks that it will be a long drawn out saga likely to go on for several more years.

  13. 13
    henrik says:

    Why don’t Evans, Hughes and the estate of Bolin file a suit.
    I think Simper got a once-for-all sum of cash.

  14. 14
    Henrik says:

    Who were fraudelent?
    Coletta and Edwards?

Add a comment:

Preview no longer available -- once you press Post, that's it. All comments are subject to moderation policy.

||||Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing
© 1993-2024 The Highway Star and contributors
Posts, Calendar and Comments RSS feeds for The Highway Star