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Heads and tails

A vintage interview with Ian Gillan, originally printed in the December 26, 1970, issue of the New Musical Express.

Snob groups make Ian purple with rage

By Richard Green

It becomes a bit strong when groups get so selective in their attitude towards work that they cut their dates down to one or two a week, thus denying fans the chance to see the people whose record they have spent money on. Chicken Shack’s Stan Webb is all against this type of thing and now Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan has entered the fray.

Normally a pretty content person, happy making good records and touring with Purple (though he’d like to alter this slightly later), he cannot tolerate pop snobbery.

During the group’s recent German tour, Ian gave me his views on the subject, beginning with: “We play for whoever wants to hear us. If the hall is full of heads smoking their joints that’s okay and if the next night it’s all schoolkids dancing about yelling `Yeah, Black Night, Black Night’ that’s okay as well. “It really annoyed me when Black Sabbath said they weren’t going to make any more singles because they didn’t want that kind of audience. The kids come out of school and borrow the money from their parents to come to the concert, there’s nothing wrong with them. “You can’t play to heads all the time. If you adopt that kind of attitude you’re killing your market. There’s a lot of musical snobbery, which I hate. “About five years ago a lot of people were making very good records, there was a lot of good music coming out, from U.S. Bonds and ‘New Orleans’ right through. It was just music that people liked, there were no labels like teenybop and underground being applied like they are now.”

Continue reading in Music history for those who are able to read.

Many thanks to Geir Myklebust for posting this.



8 Comments to “Heads and tails”:

  1. 1
    Dr. Bob says:

    My favorite band is Deep Purple 1a and Black Sabbath 1b. If I was on a deserted island but could have several music albums, it would be an even split between the two bands. Ian Gillan sang for both bands.

    I found that what he said in 1970 to be interesting in two ways. The 1st was back then artists made big money by selling records. They toured as a means of getting fans to buy their records. As the music industry evolved, artists made big money by touring and records were a means of getting fans to buy concert tickets. Both bands made a lot of money touring and selling albums. Both bands have 13 studio albums that sold at least 1 million copies worldwide. Both bands have four studio albums that sold at least 4 million copies. Both bands have one studio ablums that sold more than 9 million copies. Clearly Black Sabbath has done as well as Deep Purple.

    The other thing that is interesting is that we can’t really consider either band to be single bands. Deep Purple has had six single sell more than 500K and four more than 1 million. Sabbath has just one single sell more than 500K/1M.

  2. 2
    Ivica says:

    This is from 1970.. I agree, I can personally say 2021, if only liked heavy metal, I would rather listen to and be a fan of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and thousands of similar bands, before DP .But I listen and fun to DP , love of course their heavy and hard rock component, that’s not all, special one “Eternal War” of guitar and keyboard,their individual talents, and musical breadth as a band.

  3. 3
    sidroman says:

    Interesting quote from Ian considering 13 years later he would be joing the Sabs.
    As far as Sabbath writing hit singles, Geezer’s lyrics were great but I think Paranoid was just a one off that did great on the singles charts in the UK. Also as the 70’s dawned most groups focused on album sales rather than singles.

  4. 4
    Micke says:

    @ 1,2 and 3. Come on, this is 51 years ago for christ sake.. 🙂

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    @ 2- yes if only Gillan new back then what he was in for in 1983, we have to laugh. Regarding Sabbath & the Paranoid song, it was only a filler wasn’t it? I am not sure they did that for a single release, I may be wrong though. Some artists produced a single as they were persuaded to, some didn’t but the management & or record company lifted one that they thought would be a good single, even editing it to fit the 3-4 minute mark. Sometimes it paid off for the artist also. I am glad many of my favourite bands were not single bands, although some had some ‘success’ with a couple here & there even if they were not intentionally recorded to be on Top of the Pops etc. Those classic concept albums with one song taking up one complete side of a record, or even both sides, love it. Cheers.

  6. 6
    Ivica says:

    @ 2
    You know,most successful era of DP Mk 2, an album trilogy from the 1970s “In Rock” “Fireball ” and “Mashine Head “accompaniment were mega-hit singles classics. “Black Night”, “Strange Kind Of Woman”, and “When a Blind Man Cries” (B side, but song TOP 20 all time DP as first two written of them too ) Albums with 7 songs (one epic song over 7 minutes: “Child in Time”, “Fools” and ” Lazy”) and 1 singl-song s that was not found on album .Great time-combinations,24 Carat Purple 🙂

  7. 7
    Gareth says:

    Ian Gillan is one of the greatest vocalists in heavy metal / rock. Almost six decades performing and still gives his all. He’s up there with Bruce from Maiden…Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury.
    Born Again is one of Sabbaths greatest but deserves far more appreciation.

  8. 8
    N95 Mask says:

    What if Ozzy recorderd a Deep Purple album, what do you think it would sound like?

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