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Between intense and indulgent

Made in Japan side 1 original label

Classic Rock has one of them “greatest ever” lists, and this time it’s 50 greatest live albums ever. Made in Japan tops their ranking:

Deep Purple were at their peak, having released the career-defining Machine Head just months before. On Made In Japan they straddled a fine line between intense and indulgent, the four sides of vinyl giving them room to stretch – and we mean stretch. Incredibly there were only seven tracks; Highway Star, which opened side one, was the only one to clock in at under seven minutes.

Side Four comprised a monstrous, 20-minute version of Space Truckin’; The Mule, meanwhile, contained a six-minute Ian Paice drum solo. It might sound preposterous now, but back in the day we could only shake out heads disbelievingly at the sheer, unbridled brilliance of it all.

Honourable mentions: Rainbow – On Stage is at #32
and Whitesnake – Live… In The Heart Of The City is at #38.

Thanks to Gary Poronovich for the info.

35 Comments to “Between intense and indulgent”:

  1. 1
    Greg Cummings says:

    Of course!

  2. 2
    Elprupdeep says:

    I ( we) have been waiting 48 years for that. Finally THE Recognition.
    Long live DP family.
    Richard Legris.

  3. 3
    Hansjörg Sitner says:

    What else ?

  4. 4
    stoffer says:

    Greatest live LP EVER!!! Rainbow On Stage is in my top 5!

  5. 5
    Dave Hodgkinson says:

    About right.

  6. 6
    maurane says:

    oui mais ca c’était avant et avec ritchie blackmore! maintenant ce groupe n’est plus que l’ombre de lui même…

  7. 7
    pacuha says:


    The 50 Greatest Live Albums Ever !

    1. Deep Purple – Made in Japan
    32. Rainbow – On Stage
    38. Whitesnake – Live… In The Heart Of The City

    Does anyone need to be explained?
    Long live Deep Purple and… family..

  8. 8
    larry fischer says:

    Well deserved DP! Made in Japan is a masterpiece.

  9. 9
    Angelo Pinna says:

    capolavoro assoluto 5 musicisti il palco 4 luci gli amplificatori e vai col rock senza fronzoli con un solo 8 piste per registrare e senza ritocchi in studio il top

  10. 10

    Made in Japan and Live After Death are two of the greatest live rock/metal albums of all time

  11. 11
    Philippe Pomiès says:

    Mérité !!!

  12. 12
    Graham Payne says:

    Brilliantly recorded by the great Martin Birch as well, I had the plaeasure of meeting hi, many times – a really genuine good guy, sadly missed.
    If I could only take one album on to a desert island, Made in Japan without any hesitation!

  13. 13
    Paul Sansom says:

    And rightly so!

  14. 14
    Tony says:

    I’m not surprised…… it’s the truth ! ….. and ….

    ….Child in Time …… best song ever !

  15. 15
    ivica says:

    “Made in Japan” is the best concert album ..and it could have been a triple live ( “Black Night”, “Speed King”, Lucille “possibly another virtuoso Lord-Black live song ‘Wring That Neck’ )

    It will never be clear to me why there is no “Stargazer” on the Rainbow “On Stage” album !!!???? perhaps the best Rainbow song.

    Gillan doesn’t have …. a concert album with “Double Trouble” from the 1981 Reading Festival is poorly produced. Too bad he doesn’t have a concert record from Bernie Torme era and their classics (Unchan Your Brain, Sleeping On The Job, Mr. Universe, Roller, Vengeance, along with songs from DT, Torme was a better guitarist for band than Janick Gers, and his punk rock guitar “Smoke On The Water “gave a new charm to the rock classic.

  16. 16
    Dr. Bob says:

    Deep Purple in Concert and Scandinavian Nights also belong on the list.

  17. 17
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    Number 1! Yes!!

  18. 18
    Kim Peters says:

    Epic LIVE album.
    It changed MY life.

  19. 19
    George Martin says:

    Finally a list that doesn’t make me sick! It’s about time Deep Purple are recognized for putting out the greatest live album ever!

  20. 20
    George in Ohio says:

    I have listened to “Made in Japan” for nearly 50 years and I doubt there is one month during that time that I didn’t listen to it at least once (and many months when I listen to it several times a week). Can’t say that about any other album. It absolutely is without question a masterpiece, and long overdue to get its recognition. I’m always a bit torn if I’m asked what is my favorite Purple album, because I am fanatical about “In Rock,” but if I ever get stranded on that desert island, I couldn’t be without “Japan.” Jon, Ritchie, Ian, Roger, Ian – hats off!

  21. 21
    Rost says:

    As a huge Purple fan I never understand the hype around “Made in Japan”.
    For my opinion “Live in Stuttgart”-1993 from the last tour with Ritchie miles ahead of MIJ.

  22. 22
    Leslie Hedger says:

    There are 2 Gillan Live albums released on RPM many years ago with Bernie Torme. Live at the BBC VOL 1 recorded in 1979 and Live at the BBC Vol 2. Vol 1 also has some tracks from the Reading Festival. Both are very good. Live songs include Sleeping on the Job, Mr. Universe, Roller, Dead of Night, Unchain Your Brain, No easy Way and many more.

  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    No doubt that MIJ is a genuine live recording, as a live album should be. And it should be the definitive live album, for that reason & many others. I was doing a little research, as much as you can on the internet until you become bored with it. About a month ago it was & I was looking into what ‘live’ albums are 100% live, untouched & unadulterated in the studio later on. It is difficult to get the true facts.
    We have always been suspect of live albums in the past & we should be. So many are touched up, not genuine & a rip off no doubt. I would go as far as saying approximately 90% it would seem. Well somewhere up very high in the percentages. As the saying goes, ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’! Cheers.

  24. 24
    Ian Clements says:

    About time to !

  25. 25
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    I always if there were any officially released Zeppelin live albums that were untouched? It seems Page always has to overdub some of his guitar playing.

  26. 26
    Kidpurple says:

    Live At The Olympia!

  27. 27
    uwe hornung says:

    Totally original classic live albums (not!) are e.g. …

    Live & Dangerous by Thin Lizzy (hardly anything is live, not even Lynott’s bass playing, he overdubbed it) …

    Frampton Comes Alive (so “live”, even the applause is from a Grand Funk Railroad gig) …

    Judas Priest’s “Unleashed in the Studio, errm, the East” of course …

    UFO’s Strangers in the Night (whole songs were recorded live in the studio in the aftermath of the tour) …

    Kiss – Alive (well, admittedly, it was the commercial last-ditch-attempt to put the strongest songs from their first three flopped studio releases on a double album and provide them with a more aggressive “live” sound veneer, not even the iconic sleeve picture is a live action shot).

    The list is endless.

  28. 28
    uwe hornung says:

    @25: Compared to the Purps, Zep were always a sloppy lot live. And the latter never had the live wall of (Purple) sound either, due to JPJ having to foresake either the keyboards or his bass playing when playing live.

  29. 29
    Sam says:

    My first DP album ever!!!

  30. 30
    uwe hornung says:

    I actually bought my first four DP albums in the summer of 1975 at the same time: Shades Of, Book of Taliesyn, In Rock and Stormbringer. A wild mix, I know. I had no idea about the different line-ups and initially marveled at “how different” DP sounded at various times. Interestingly, Book of Taliesyn intrigued me most initially and it is to this day not just my favorite Mk I album, but ranks among my favorite DP albums overall (together with Machine Head, WDWTWA, Burn, CTTB, HOBL, Purpendicular, Now What?! & Whoosh!)

    The next albums I got acquainted with were MiJ, Machine Head and Burn – via loaning them from friends and making tapes (sorry DP, I have since then respected – and honored – your intellectual/artistic property manifold times and have all your albums at least a dozen times times over in various formats!!!)

  31. 31
    MacGregor says:

    Regarding ‘live’ recorded albums, I have always been very suss on Uriah Heep’s live 1973. The harmony vocals sound too much like the studio albums. King Crimson’s live 1974 Asbury Park album acknowledges the Eddie Jobson over dubbed violin on 2 tracks & piano on one, at least. I am starting to wonder about some of my favourite 70’s live albums, Yessongs, Tull’s Bursting Out & others.
    It seems to be that certain artists keep it quiet in regards to ‘overdubs’ on live recordings. Having said that, do they ever get asked that question by anyone? How many would answer truthfully if asked.
    I have read about Kiss Alive, Frampton Comes Alive, Thin Lizzy & others. One live album that seems to get a positive review is Grand Funk Railroad, forget what album, from the 70’s though.
    Also, I was disappointed & hoping it isn’t true, Rush’ Exit Stage Left is touched up significantly, allegedly. It’s the not knowing that is really annoying. Still as we know, witnessing an artist performing live in concert is usually the creme de la creme. As long as they are not using vocal syncing & pre recorded backing tracks! When will this madness ever end? Cheers.

  32. 32
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Practice makes perfect and Heep had their layered, high-pitched backing vocals down pat, but “doctoring backing vocals” has been de rigueur with live albums to the point it is not even worth mentioning anymore. If that is all, then a release ranks among the more sincere live albums.

    Once asked whether the backing vocals on official Eagles live releases were indeed all live, Timothy B. Schmit (himself a pitch-perfect singer) said philosophically: “Don (Henley) is perfectionist about our backing vocals, so mistakes don’t happen and if they do, we don’t preserve them for all posterity.” ; – )

    And the first Eagles Live album is notorious for the laconic band statement that “its backing vocals were recorded weeks and thousands of miles apart – and on two different coasts!”.

    Of course, Mk 2 never had backing vocals issues. ; – ) And Mk 3 and 4 – well, let’s settle for the comment that THEIR live recordings sound “refreshingly undoctored” in that department, perfectionist they were certainly not. ;
    – ) That said, I really dig the Coverdale/Hughes harmony singing of yore, occasional bum notes or not. They did a good job most of the time, especially considering that DP’s stage sound in the 70ies was hardly “backing vocals audibility accomodating”.

  33. 33
    GAVIN MOFFAT says:

    Bought it the day it was released. I have a love for most genres of music but Made in Japan and In Rock remain the most played albums.
    There is nothing like the intro to Highway Star at full crank. Gilllan on Child in Time is peerless.
    Space Trukin’ is one of the best … in the dark/between the speakers … sonic journeys one can have.
    The Mule … a fabulous drum solo that I rarely skip and Lazy … one of the most uplifting joyous recordings in existence.
    Its quite good!

  34. 34
    GAVIN MOFFAT says:

    Meant to reply to the comment above saying that MIJ is “probably 90% untampered with” It is 100% untampered with, with regard to there being no overdubs.
    Like most great sounding records, it has been brilliantly engineered and mixed and it does make a huge difference to the result. The aim being to recreate on record as close a match to being there … as possible.
    I much prefer the original 1972 vinyl recording or the first CD version of the same, for the following reasons.

    1) The 3 CD version of all the Japanese dates is great with respect to the drums being mixed quite high, if you like it that way and interesting to hear other mixes of other performances but most of it is NOT spot on, like the mix for the original.

    2) The black cover CD remaster is an abomination because it puts clapping over what should be the first notes of the Hammond, coming out of the background noise. Just as I remember it when I saw them 6 weeks after this was recorded (Ian mentioned that they recently had a “great time in Japan”)
    Also … most of the pre/post song banter was removed. Who thought it was a good idea to fade out before Gillan screams “Ian Paice on the drums YES!”? The record company?
    It could be argued that the sound is improved in the high frequencies BUT… what I like about the original pressing is that you can crank it up and it doesn’t sound harsh.
    (Possibly what Roger, Ian and Martin had in mind when they did such a brilliant creative mixing job (eq/balance/placement/mic source etc) in the first place.
    A case of wasted time improving on near perfection IMO.

  35. 35
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The most recent MIJ triple version remaster from a few years ago mixed Roger down. I thought that was a letdown as Roger’s overdriven Rickenbacker omnipresence was much of the orginal’s (und early remasters’) charm.

    Martin Bitch generally mixed the bass a little to the front on most of his productions. Not just with DP, Paul Martinez’ bass is prominent on PAL’s Malice In Wonderland, Neil Murray almost dominant on the early Whitesnake recordings. Rainbow’s Rising, where Jimmy Bain is mostly inaudible, is a -lamentable – exception. He was probably under order from Ritchie on that one …

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