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Alright, hold tight

A Japanese documentary on the Highway Star has been posted to Youtube. And in 43+ minutes it covers a big chunk of Mark 2 history besides the song itself. Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, and Chris Charlesworth (of Illustrated Biography fame) were inteviewed, with some stock footage of Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore as well. While the narration is in Japanese, the extensive interviews are not overdubbed, which makes it easier to piece together the story with some background knowledge about the band.

Now, writing Highway Star on the tour bus and performing it the same night on stage certainly makes for a great story. But it is contradicted by contemporary accounts.

Aforementioned in the documentary Richard ‘The Beast’ Green’s writeup in New Musical Express suggested that it were the lyrics that got written on the bus:

Little did the capacity crowd at Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday night know just how new Deep Purple’s opening number “Highway Star” really was. On the coach on the way down from London, Ian Gillan asked for suggestions for titles for a rock number, Roger Glover suggested “Highway Star”, and Ian set to writing it. It was finished during rehearsals and performed for the first time three hours later! It was the start of Purple’s new British tour and if the audience reaction at Pompey is anything to go by, it’ll be a stormer.

And Roy Shipston wrote in Disc And Music Echo that Blackmore was not on the bus at all:

A picnic with Deep Purple sounded like a good idea. We arrange to meet the coach from London, allegedly loaded with booze and grub, at a pub on the Kingston by-pass, en route to Portsmouth for the first gig of their tour. Perhaps we’ll stop to eat at the Devil’s Punchbowl, quite a beauty spot. Naturally, the coach is considerably late, and you can’t sit in a pub for an hour and a half and not drink, can you! By the time I’m juggling with large paper cupfuls of scotch on a coach that must have square wheels, I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t come. True, there is plenty of alcohol on board, almost a bottle of scotch per person. But support group Bullet have missed the coach (only the start of their troubles), Ritchie Blackmore has decided to make his own way there, and we stop for every hitcher in an attempt to fill up the empty seats.

Thanks to T Grace for the video and to Nigel Young for bringing it to your attention and original research.

7 Comments to “Alright, hold tight”:

  1. 1
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Ahh… the devil is in the details!. I’ve read elsewhere that a journalist on the tour bus asked the band “How do you write a song?” & that RB replied “Like this” & then with a guitar in hand started to play a tune that became the riff to Highway Star. But then RB isn’t so popular in the DP camp these days. Memories… in the corners of my mind…. HMMMM.

  2. 2
    mike whiteley says:

    Enjoyable watch,that.
    Just wondering:Does anyone know who speaks at approx 28 minute mark ?? Roadie ?? Sound guy ??

  3. 3
    Adel says:

    I said to my wife in my funeral I want you to play Highway star to start with and end it with When a blind man cries as for my cremation I want a vinyl copy of machine head to be in my coffin.
    If anyone denies the existence of a God or a creator of mankind I would urge you to give them a vinyl copy of machine head to listen to.

  4. 4
    Jeff says:

    One of my favorite pieces of music is my BluRay version of the Highway Star album with the re-mixes…What an album. Ritchies sweet guitar tone is just awesome. I do regret not picking up the box set for the other two nights remixed

  5. 5
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @1: The video says, Ian Hansford, roadie.

  6. 6
    Mike Whiteley says:

    @5 Thanks,Svante.
    I missed that completely !!
    My eyes must’ve drawn to the Japanese script.

  7. 7
    Erno says:

    Where is the great live performance at c. 27 minutes from?

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