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

Hobgoblins and pixies

A pretty nicely put together documentary on the history of Rainbow. It is stitched together from both contemporary interviews from the people involved (and some not at all), and retrospectives from Graham Bonnet, Richard the Difficult Misunderstood, Joe Lyn Turner, Bobby Rondinelli, and Dougie White.

Thanks to THE STREAM for the video, and to gmk for the heads up.

44 Comments to “Hobgoblins and pixies”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    The sad attempt at sarcasm at 10.50 from Rolling Stone’s Billy Altman is rather pathetic. Typical crass tabloid drivel & what we have come to expect in many ways. I expect we will be hearing from our good friend DeeperPurps in regards to that also & so we should. Cheers.

  2. 2
    DeeperPurps says:

    Yes MacGregor @1, I remember reading that particular review waaaaay back in time in the mid-70’s and it got under my skin big time then. The scab has been torn off that poorly-healed wound once again! As for the scribe himself, one among several freelancers in the RS stable; he appears not have made a particularly profound impact upon the music industry/ media. Perhaps his most notable claim to fame might be as former curator for the RRHOF. Enough said!

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 2 -I watched the Rolling Stone ‘rockumentary’ on Netflix recently on their early days journalist Ben Fong-Torres & thoroughly enjoyed it. He seems like a genuine journo, insightful, respectful & well mannered & he has plenty of respect among his peers & musicians alike. Plus we even get to see & hear the maestro Jann in older day footage & more recent as well. I did have a chuckle at times & wondered if you had watched this at some time, although that scar that never heals for you may persuade you not to go there, again. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I remember that Rolling Stone review too: As roastings go, I thought Altman was pretty friggin’ hilarious even at the time! Criticism can be entertaining, even if I don’t share it. I also remember the line in there: “RJD has the standard rock’n’roll singer approach down pat, lots of lung power, little individual style.” Even if untrue, that was at least pleasantly snappy. As you might have guessed by now, I have a penchant for caustic remarks.

  5. 5
    Roy Davies says:

    On his very own website Altman egotistically calls himself “an award-winning cultural journalist, critic and historian”.
    Says it all really…….

  6. 6
    Rock Voorne says:

    Must have my copy somewhere
    Watched the darn YT thing thinking this is fun but at the same time I became aware I had forgotten most of it .

    This surely needs a remake.
    I dont know if it was a copyrights thing or…..

    But it definitely should have showed other liveversions.
    Rondinelli talking about the STBTE tour but we re being shown the 1984 show in Japan. I mean, WTF?!

    More than 40 years on and I m still yearning to hear Grahams MISTREATED autition take.

    Also wondering if Doogie,who reminds me here of Rod Evans during Captain Beyond did not make copies of tapes he had to return to Mister Moody?

    Luckily JLT was composed though he got close to rewriting history doing his usual over the top American PR talk how great this and that was.

    Did I hear him say the production of BOOS was too polished or am I confused now?

    Personally I still dont get why POWER is so rated, its a shitty song compaired to Tearing out my heart, Eyes of Fire and Dreamchaser.
    That terrible cover is still a disgrace, espescially when you compair it with the historical painting of RISING.

    So much oldstuff becoming unearthed, I m often surprised seeing things on YT unknown to me and reading it was posted years ago.

    What was the reason to post this mediocre attempt of a video about Rainbow?

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    I also enjoy the humour in ‘reviews’ at times, although the Altman Rainbow Rising one seemed immature in it’s attempt at wit. Embarrassing in many ways, comical possibly. He may have written other reviews that were ok at times, I am not sure. I agree with the other Rolling Stone reviewers take on Straight Between The Eyes, a good comment on that poor album. The only track decent enough is the first one Death Alley Driver, a great ‘driving’ song if ever there was one!
    Talking of humorous band reviews, the classic of classics is that female journalists take on Uriah Heep back in the early 70’s. “If this band makes it, I will commit suicide’.
    Also someone else wrote back then in regards to King Crimson, labelling them as a ‘poor man’s Black Sabbath’. Have to enjoy those sort of comments. Cheers.

  8. 8
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @3 – I haven’t seen that particular documentary and will probably give it a wide berth! RS and its evil spawn the RRHOF lost me many decades ago.

  9. 9
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Funny enough that the last few words of Doggie White summed up why I think and lots of other think that the Rainbow great days were with RJD. All the albums after are over produced targeting commercial success but the fact that British R&R is all about recording row songs.
    A great example is DP album Salves and Masters with JLT on vocal sounding quite pop rather than row British R&R.
    Peace ✌️

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    I have only watched the Doogie comments on this documentary. Most of the other interviews are older & I have heard before. Although Bob Rondinelli I will have a listen to eventually with his take on things. Blackmore being influenced by Foreigner is still evident in the 80’s & 90’s Purple & Rainbow. That half British half American thing. We could hear the vocal ‘pop’ style creeping in on later Dio era Rainbow. Down to Earth has it with Graeme Bonnet plucked from obscurity for his version of the Warm Ride song no doubt. And of course later Rainbow with JLT. I don’t find Stranger In Us All too commercial as in the style of 80’s Rainbow. I think it is a good rock album, wonderful production & a couple of cracking covers as well. Blackmore & Purple have recorded a few covers in their day, it’s all good. It was interesting that Doogie mentioned Def Leppard, a sell out commercial exercise if ever there was one. Were they British were they, they didn’t sound like it at all. I loathe that band. Cheers.

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Herr McGregor, not Warm Ride got Graham the job, but this here:


    It was on a mix tape of Cozy Powell and caught Blackmore’s attention who of course knew the song from 1969, but had forgotten about the one-hit-wonder and asked: “What happened to that singer?” That is when Roger went looking for him. The vid is also a belated consolation for all of you who always wished Graham to sport more of a mane (I prefer him cropped short).

    But both Warm Ride and Only One Woman were Bee Gees compositions, that is what probably threw you off. Bonnet had met the Bee Gees early on and befriended them via his Marbles band mate/cousin Trevor Gordon who had lived in Australia. There used to be a claim that Bonnet himself was a distant relative of the Bothers Gibb, but I haven’t found that confirmed. But then, with all those prison boat descendants that populate this forlorn Pacific island, DNA tracing is always difficult. ; – P

    Power (the Rainbow song) was indeed terrible, it was Rainbow playing dumb, trying to out-Krokus Krokus. It croaked. Being dumb has to come from the heart to be endearing and convincing.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Adel @9: I don’t really think that less production care and sophistication went into LLRnR (the album) than, say, into Down to Earth or Difficult to Cure. (Rising, otoh, was a rush production job and you can hear it.)

    The difference lies in the producers – Martin Birch was never really a pop producer, but a rock one. Roger, though he learned from Martin initially, had very much more a pop sheen in his producer handwriting (I hear some George Martin in it, not a bad role model). Nazareth, Ian Gillan Band, Rory Gallagher, Michael Schenker Group and Judas Priest have all recorded albums with Roger where they sounded poppier/more commercial than on albums before or after with other producers.

    Down to Earth was the first Rainbow album not produced by Martin Birch (with whom Ritchie had been recording throughout Purple too) and Ritchie re-recruited Roger initially as just the producer for exactly that: a poppier sheen to the music, kind of what Status Quo had done when they changed their sound with Pip Williams (to the everlasting chagrin and despair of the old Quo crowd).

    Speaking of Quo, Roger had made them sound poppier too: Before they moved on to Pip Williams in 1977, they gave Roger a try with him producing Wild Side of Life in 1976.


    And if the bass sounds just a little familiar to you, then that’s because Roger played it (Alan Lancaster was in his adopted home of Australia at the time). But upon his return, Alan liked what Roger had done (trying to emulate Alan’s style it has to be said, and doing a good job at it) so much, he left it on. Status Quo featuring Roger Glover, there you have it!

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Def Leppard, a sell out commercial exercise if ever there was one. Were they British were they, they didn’t sound like it at all. I loathe that band.”

    What a harsh wombat you are! I’m no Death Leper (or however they misspell themselves in dreadful Led Zep tradition) fan at all. I do think Pyromania was a cracker of an album, but that Hysteria was ridiculously overdone and lifeless. I also subscribe to Joe Elliott’s analysis of his own outfit that no one in the band is breathtakingly good, but that all five of them together manage something that is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

    But what I can say about them is this: I saw DL thrice in the 80ies, as an opener to Rainbow (JLT-era), as an opener to Judas Priest (Point of Entry Tour) and in 1988 as headliners in Frankfurt (post-Rick Allen’s’s car accident and the release of Hysteria):

    – When they opened for Rainbow in 1980, with just their debut album under their belt, they weren’t more than an overenthusiastic garage band, third rate NWOBHM at best. Pretty hopeless. They did have zest and zeal though.

    – Only a year later or so in late 1981, opening for Priest (pre-Pyromania), they were a promising young band that had honed their skills and written some things that you could actually call songs. They were straining at the leash to be headliners and still enthusiastic, yet more confident.

    – Fast forward a few years and I last saw them 1988 out of sheer curiosity what had become of them (and what all the US fuss was about, they hadn’t toured Germany for ages). They were stadium rock in perfection, all catchy hooklines and a tightly rehearsed, experience-drenched, energetic stage show, but it wasn’t stale, they were still trying to prove themselves and entertain.

    I’ve never again seen a band that developed from so very humble beginnings to a major stage act in as short a time, you could practically watch them grow while they performed. And I think there is still plenty of Brit’ness in them, those Mott the Hoople, T. Rex and Ziggy Stardust influences shine through. Or even earlier …


    I’m not a fan, but I respect the Sheffield boys who turned to men for what they have achieved, especially in the light of having key members leave (Pete Willis), crucially maimed in car accidents (Rick Allen) or lost to alcohol and drugs (Steve Clark).

    I’ll now listen to their new album which I again ordered out of sheer curiosity!

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    @ 11- thanks for the Rainbow & Bonnet update, I was not aware of his earlier Bee Gees cover. I quite liked his version of the Warm Ride song back in the day. It was a big hit in Oz land at the time & then I read that he was in Rainbow, I purchased the album being a Blackmore & Rainbow aficionado. However as much of a fine vocalist he is, excepting Eyes of the World the album was a flop to me. One of those albums that is caught between different genres, for want of a better description. Even if Bonnet did grow his hair long I don’t think that would have mattered in the end!
    In regards to Def Leppard, I should have worded that differently. I don’t loath the band members, it is their music I do not like at all. I tried to watch the Brian Johnson documentary ‘Life on the Road’ featuring Joe Elliot. I respect them as individuals & musicians, Ric Allen has done incredibly well to keep drumming after that accident & I was glad for him that he could still play the drums.
    I couldn’t keep watching that doco though. Too much focus on their US style songs & performances, over the top ala Coverdale & his sell out glam hair metal etc. Not to worry, they have done well for themselves the Leps & good luck to them. I didn’t mind the Waterloo Station cover you posted. Regarding the production of DTE & Difficult to Cure I like both albums for their sound quality. Good clean sound & on the drier side also, excellent. Cheers.

  15. 15
    Dr. Bob says:

    I love the Dio-era Rainbow and I like the album with Dougie. But commerical-melodic-hard-pop rock just isn’t my cup of tea. I find it boring. The funny thing is that I was teen in the late 70s-early 80s so the contemporary pop version of Rainbow was all that I knew of them. It wasn’t until sfter Deep Purple reformed that I finally listened to the Dio-era Rainbow and got hooked. Rainbow Rising is one of my top 10 albums and Stargazer is up there with Child in Time as one of my favorite songs.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    A rocker at heart, I don’t have issues with pure pop, new wave pop, power pop or just very melodic, “AOR” rock. Beatles, Badfinger, Rick Springfield, Police, Fischer Z, The Cars, Journey, Asia, Toto, Eagles … hell, I can even enjoy the Bay City Rollers or Air Supply.

    I just don’t think that Rainbow was ever particularly adept at marrying their Brit heavy rock roots with American chart accessibility. It never gelled to an extent with them where you wouldn’t have seen the seams, especially live.

    It’s one of Joe Lynn Turner’s typical overstatements to claim that Rainbow originated melodic or AOR rock, US bands had done that when Ritchie was still busy locking up green-sleeved princesses in towers. It was a genre well established by American (or at least largely American) bands such as Styx, Toto, Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon or Kansas long before Rainbow shifted direction. And that is just the A league, think of all the countless other chiefly US bands that excelled in melodic rock such as these further Bruce Payne proteges here:


    Or these guys from South Africa:


    Even among the DP family, Ritchie in any case never really understood AOR in a way, say, Hughes Thrall did who together to my ears delivered the most noteworthy AOR album with ex-Purple participation.



    That doesn’t mean that Rainbow didn’t have a couple of songs worthy of inclusion in the AOR canon, but they never got the package quite right on a consistent level. Ritchie might have longed for that type of mass accessibility, but he wasn’t really cut out for it as a musician. He could never step back as an instrumentalist behind the songwriting like a Mick Jones could.

  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    Yes indeed a good song is a good song no matter who or how it is done. I have had to lower my prejudice over the years to accept that, as I was rather dismissive back in the day of many good songs because of who did them & who they were etc. I must admit that excepting the instrumentals & occasional song from JLT era Rainbow, I don’t listen to it like I used to back in the day. A lot of JLT’s melodies & his style of singing is from some of the previous bands you mentioned that set up the AOR genre in the States. He was hugely influenced by that & I have always heard that in his vocal. For him to make a statement in regards to that genre, well enough said there about his insecurity & ego. What is that saying ‘an empty vessel makes the loudest noise’. I remember his interview cringe worthy at best when joining DP, (why did that ever happen’). He says on that VHS video from the 1990 era, ‘I don’t sing anyone else’s drivel’. Something along those lines when the interviewer asked him ‘what it is like to be filling someone else’s shoes’. Anyway back to Rainbow & a few friends of mine who knew Purple & early Rainbow were shocked to hear 80’s Rainbow, surprised also. If it wasn’t for Blackmore that material wouldn’t have ever have been noticed at all. The Man In Black made it worthwhile in some aspects to hear & enjoy at times. Difficult To Cure is by far the strongest & heaviest 80’s Rainbow, a rather good album for me that one. Cheers.

  18. 18
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Uwe @12
    Of course I agree with you that over produced album is has no correlation to pop sound as the style dictates the music.
    I recall what Jon Lord said about the production of the Battle Rages On album and his words that it has a nice sheen to it refering as it might be over produced.
    Martin Birch also did an amazing job on the early Iron Maiden albums and with the black Sabbath Dio era.
    Now if you take an album like Born again or Dehumanizer by Sabath and asked Martin Birch to produce them I can guarantee he will do them justice.
    Maybe the word over produced album is not a fair statement and it’s down to the style of production but to be honest I hated the sound of all Def Leppard 80s production as it’s has too much human intervention tempering to the original sound of row material.
    I have no knowledge of the art of recording but my ears tells me that Martin Birch production of all the albums he did with the big guys sounds amazing and the same bands who used other producers no one has come quite near to his amazing sound and his amazing ears of how a album should sound.
    But Roger Glover did amazing job on the Rainbow albums and the DP ones who produced so all credit to him.
    Peace ✌️

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Joe is a fine singer. As long as he is singing and not talking he never does anything “wrong” or too cringeworthy. But nothing he ever sang within Rainbow, Deep Purple or in his many projects (though his first solo album Rescue Me with the original Foreigner keyboarder is a minor AOR classic and full of good melodies) ever gripped or touched me. Dio could take you on a journey of his fantasy trails and Bonnet would draw a smile on your face with his cock-sure ebullience unperturbed by convention and expectations (he was almost punkish in that way), but Joe just sang well and melodically, yet with no real impact (on me at least). Even Doogie White (neither a Dio nor a Bonnet) offered some Scot charm and grit.

    Ronnie Romero – fine singer he is – sounds kind of empty to me too, I hate to say. I believe he’d be more convincing if he sang in his native Spanish.

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Adel, whether one likes a particular production style or not is very much a matter of taste. Case in point: Everybody seems to hate the Born Again production – I love it, it’s this murky sonic monster that sounded like Grunge long before Grunge was invented. It’s a cornerstone in the development of rock music in the 90ies.

    Martin Birch shaped DP’s sound in the 70ies, no doubt and eternal credit to him for that. What his production did not add to DP was a halo or a mystique, he rather recorded them like they sounded live which proved beneficial as DP live for all their improvisation could easily replicate the sound of their studio albums closely without having to even try. Led Zep could never do that, their albums were much more produced, their live sound was quite removed from that. Martin’s no frills, “just get all the instruments and the voice to sound good” production came at a price though: good as the 70ies Purple albums sound, they don’t offer sonic grandeur. The way George Martin made The Beatles sound or Bob Ezrin Kiss on Destroyer (a sound they could never replicate live), Roy Thomas Baker with Queen or Mutt Lange with Def Leppard, AC/DC, Foreigner and The Cars. I sometimes think that with a little more grandeur in their productions, DP’s positioning in the eternal shrine of rock might be even more prominent.

    Come the reunion, Roger’s productions were serviceable, but I actually think he did his best production work outside of DP, no doubt because there was less interference from band members professing to know better! Whitesnake 1987 those productions were not and we’ll never know what, say, a Bob Rock or Bruce Fairbarn could have done.

    Now in their late autumn to winter years, I am very happy with Bob Ezrin’s productions of Deep Purple, I don’t think they ever had as good a producer – better late than never. And while there are people who find Bob Ezrin’s productions too grand and billowing, “too much Bob and not enough of whatever band he produces”, that wasn’t his approach with DP at all. He rather went to capture their sound as a live band – very much like Martin Birch in fact, but with more sparkle dust. His productions never overshadowed the band. He retained the Purple sound, yet added something. A man who has successfully produced acts as wide-ranging as Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss, Hanoi Rocks, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and Kansas. I think he has a very sympathetic ear for Purple, but let him speak for himself:

    (taken from: https://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/production-legend-bob-ezrin-on-11-career-defining-records-580957 – recommended reading! ):

    “It came together when Neil Warnock, the founder of The Agency Group, came to me and said, ‘I want you to produce the next Deep Purple album.’ And, actually, I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ because I was already working with Alice Cooper, and I didn’t want to be thought of as an oldies guy. But he said, ‘Yeah, but this is different. You need to come and see the band.’

    I went to see them, and halfway into the set they did this jam where they’re like a four-man orchestra. Steve Morse, Don Airey, Ian Paice and Roger Glover – each guy, in his own way, is like the best player to hit a rock stage. And when Ian Gillan sings those classic songs, he’s still got an incredible voice. They knocked me out. But what impressed me was how the audience reacted to the stuff they used to do, the kinds of things nobody is doing anymore. That’s what moved the audience the most.

    I went to talk to them, and I told them, ‘If you want to be a contemporary band and vie for radio play, you’d better talk to somebody else, ‘cause I don’t think it’s possible. You can’t compete with the bands of today on their turf. But if you want to be resolutely yourselves and make a quintessential Deep Purple album, then we have something to talk about.’ And Roger said it best: ‘We want to put the deep into Deep Purple again.’

    This album (Uwe: Now What?!) was made to capture what the band is without trying to make them something they’re not. We were fanatical about this being a true Deep Purple record. There weren’t moments of intense conflict, but occasionally I did say that something needed to be a different way than what it was. Thankfully, they responded to my ideas and were excited by them, and we developed a relationship of confidence and trust.

    It was a really natural collaboration. We all had a similar musical language – if not exactly the same, it was still one we understood. Everybody came to work every day excited about what they were doing, and they gave it their very best.”

    I think Bob’s quote here

    “But what impressed me was how the audience reacted to the stuff they used to do, the kinds of things nobody is doing anymore. That’s what moved the audience the most.”

    sums up why so many of us spent way too much time on this site rather than getting on with our lives! ; – )

    PS: The Battle Rages On is the one DP album I find almost painful to listen to. There are (some, not a lot) good song ideas on it, yes, but it sounds contrived, lifeless and starkly unhappy/uncomfortable. As if someone had butted the heads of the band together for so long until they finally gave in and said “Ok, ok, we’ll record another album with this line-up!!!”.

    Which is actually exactly what had happened and on most songs penned for JLT, Ian sounds ill at ease. That album was a harbinger for what was soon to come, banjo players taking hikes and the lot. But there would have been no Phoenix from the ashes Purpendicular without the negative preceding experience of TBRO, so it’s all good.

  21. 21
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Uwe @ 20
    Fair comments backed by facts but I am shocked and left scratching me head that you liked the production sound of Born Again I really hope that Ian Gillan will take comfort in your comments as I am in total agreement with him about how awful the mixing and the cover made him puke.
    But then again some people like Greek red wine on holiday so nothing shocks me at all as we all different but we are all the same in the dark.
    Peace ✌️

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    The end result that we hear of a record or cd is probably very different to the studio master final mix, in some ways. We all like our favourite music to sound a certain way. Opposite of that is our favourite music sounding not to our liking. Martin Birch was very good in getting a drier ‘live’ sound out of many artists at times. Other producers go for the all out over the top awful production, trying to make things sound very different for different reasons. Bob Ezrin knows what he is doing. Someone like Rick Rubin may not at times according to our ears & the Black Sabbath members at the time. A fine example is what Tony Iommi said of the Sabbath ’13’ recording sessions. He arrived at the studio one day to find an array of old classic tube amplifiers sitting there. Rubin wanted him to try them all in an attempt to find that ‘old’ 1970 classic Sabbath guitar sound. Iommi was bemused & reluctantly tried them all & eventually told him, ‘forget it, I have my sound’.
    It is one example of how things can go wrong I guess, or right in other ways perhaps. Some musicians & producers get it wrong in the over production side of things. Trevor Rabin should never have been allowed to turn post 1983 AOR Yes into an over the top heavy sounding band. They were never that sort of band. Trevor Horn a wonderful record producer, nailed it on the previous Yes 90125 album, a punchy, dry & clear sounding record. He was initially involved in the early demos for the next album, Big Generator, (the name says it all) but pulled out for different reasons. Get another producer, easier said than done no doubt. It seems to be a fine line indeed. What do the original Black Sabbath Born Again masters sound like? They may be good & the final pressing of the album muffled & dirty. We have heard those sort of stories before. Roger Waters talking on the Pink Floyd studio sessions from The Dark Side Of The Moon. Someone commented on the mix of the previous album Obscured by Clouds & Waters jumped on them by replying, ‘the final mix was fine, it was the end result, the final pressing that resulted in that albums first release sounding poor’. Something along those lines. Should Jimmy Page have produced Led Zeppelin records, maybe so, it was his baby so to speak. Although an outside helping hand can help in some ways at times, but could also get in the way at other times & mess things up. A difficult one indeed. Cheers.

  23. 23
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Uwe @20, Adel @21: I am Spartacus! I stand with Uwe on the topic of the Born Again production. I love it. It sounds dark and evil, as a Black Sabbath album should do. The early Ozzy records were no sonic masterpices either but they, just as BA, were evil sounding soundtracks to my teenage doom appreciation. Discussions about the production of BA almost always comes with the comment that “Ian Gillan also thought it sounded bad.” Yep, and Ritchie Blackmore thinks BN is a cool band with smashing outfits. Just because out heroes have an opinion doesn’t make it a fact. Come on! There are thousand records out there that sounds much worse than BA!

    Would I still want to hear a remix of it? Yes, because it would be interesting to see if it made me enjoy the album even more (almost impossible) or just establish the fact that is is excellent as is.

  24. 24
    Svante Axbacke says:

    I am setting up an organisation called BAAA, Born Again Appreciation Anonymous where we can love our favorite album without being mocked by the rest of the metal community. As it sounds almost like ABBA, maybe we can get Ritchie to join as well.

  25. 25
    MacGregor says:

    Interesting that if Born Again is remixed & remastered, is it going to sound much different. I don’t think it will as that is the way they recorded it. It will still sound down right heavy, dark & evil etc. Just a little more clarity with the drums & lower the lead guitar solo’s a bit in the mix. I know I might be biased being a drummer but those early Sabbath records do sound great in many ways because everything was more simple in it’s approach. Instruments & the recording process, nice & quick & not a lot of time to ‘mess’ with the end result perhaps. Bill Ward’s drums sound good on those early albums, because of a basic production approach & also recording techniques no doubt. Also no band members pushing up the volume on their respective instruments at the console. There are plenty of stories we hear about those sort of issues with bands. Will I buy Born Again with a new mix & remastering? I don’t know, I probably will wait to read reviews etc from other rabid fans first & then make a decision, as I have already purchased it twice as most Sabbath aficionados have no doubt. Cheers.

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Adel, Born Again is aptly produced (I’m not saying: well-produced) in the same way as the Blair Witch Project is aptly filmed! The production is part of the art concept. (And Big Ian, bless him, never really understood what Sabbath were about, his excellent work on Born Again is more a brilliant accident and instinct than a conscious contribution.) And I do like the garish, unsettling cover as well.

    Herr MacGregor: All true observations! We’re really conjoined twins separated by the equator.

    Svante: Yeah, let’s do that, we need a motto though, how about:

    “Disturbing the hi-fi purists since 1983”?

    I’d love to hear a remix, just for curiosity’s sake. But the nightmarish-blurry atmosphere of that album is key.

  27. 27
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Svante@23 & 24
    You have a very valid point regarding how artist views their work and no one can argue with that.

    I remember at the time of the release of Bananas how Steven Morse was praising Micheal Bradford saying he has super ears and every note or cord he captured in every song while on another part of the world Jon Lord was asked about the production of Bananas and he Franky said that I know Micheal Bradford is really big guy and can sit of my face with the comments I am going to say but I believe Roger could have done a better job.
    Now considering Jon Lord was on the outside he was more frank and honest why the same line up stuck with Bradford for Rapture of the deep and we ended up with a wealth of material that is my opinion presented and mixed really badly.

    Now I hope you are not a big guy and will sit on my face beacuse of my opinions 😂

    Peace ✌️

  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    At least Born Again still sounds like it it was intended to be. The musicians are all playing their instruments & the songs are a completed finished article. The debacle that occurred in 1991 when Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman & Steve Howe started recording new songs for their 2nd album, is a classic case of a producer & possible off siders deciding to hijack songs & take over the situation. Many finished songs apparently & some decent demos were destroyed in many ways. With Anderson trying to get YES West (Squire, Rabin & White) onside again after the falling out over the Yes name, someone came up with the bright idea of getting everyone together & releasing an album & then touring. The Union album or ‘Onion’ as Rick Wakeman calls it because it made him cry when he heard it for the first time, was the new album & a debacle it was. Wakeman’s keyboards were erased apparently & session musicians used to replace said parts. Even Steve Howe’s guitar parts in many songs were removed & replaced also. A classic case of a producer messing with an artists music. Unbelievable really, but then again Spinal Tap did send up Yes in some ways didn’t they, not necessarily that Union album scenario though, maybe that could be used on their new movie. Although that is long ago & I think Spinal Tap are doing more modern music scenes this time are they not? What did Rick Wakeman say of some record producers, “Wouldn’t trust some of them with a food processor’, something along those lines. Cheers.

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Production-wise, I didn’t think the two-albums-only Michael Bradford excursion was a catastrophe. That Steve liked it and Jon didn’t, might have to do with Yank vs. Limey sonic tastes. Bradford had a very American touch – no wonder having worked with Kid Rock and Uncle Cracker (that’s Bradford watering the lawn at 00:41).


    I thought Bananas sounded fresher and more enthused than Abandon (which in itself wasn’t a bad, but a somewhat dark, dejected album), but sometimes Bradford’s production was a bit sharp and raw to me. Deep Purple isn’t AC/DC, but maybe they hear things differently in Deeeetroit.

    In hindsight though, the two Bradford albums (I prefer Bananas to Rapture which sounded a bit listless to me) were a stepping stone necessary to get to Bob Ezrin, I view them as yet another interesting detour in Purple’s tangled history.

  30. 30
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Stumbled on this by accident, but it is a very insightful and perceptive interview with Bradford on his experience producing Bananas, well worth a read:


    He knew Deep Purple prior to producing them better than I thought, he jokes about being the kid in the black neighborhood who listened to Deep Purple and Rainbow while all his friends were listening to RnB.

  31. 31
    MacGregor says:

    @ 29 – I agree with your take on the British & European musicians being different to the USA style at certain times & no doubt some record producers also. My recent ‘Yes’ story regarding the ABW&H songs being changed was no doubt what the new record company signing them up wanted. They wanted the AOR style of Yes, even if most of those songs were from the ABW&H lineup. Management again eh, making ridiculous decisions in chasing the almighty dollar no doubt. The success of ‘YES’ with the Rabin era in the 80’s was what they were obviously interested in. ABW& H as a band were successful at that time 1989-90, real Yes in many ways & ‘YesWest’ group had stalled without Anderson on board. The record company & producer obviously did not want Howe & Wakeman being heard too much, like Yes during the 70’s. Strip there musical style from the songs & replace it with a more simplistic, commercial & bland approach. Rush things through & get the new record released & get out on the road. We have heard that scenario before from the powers that be.
    It was a big record deal that was out of control once all the hoopla of the 8 members of Yes being together was announced. Cue that absurd ‘supergroup’ saying!
    Thanks for the Bradford interview, an interesting article. There is a BIG difference in both sides of the pond at times. Cheers.

  32. 32
    sidroman says:

    I think the 2 best Purple albums since Blackmore left are Bananas and Purpendicular. I don’t know why the band left working with Michael Bradford?

  33. 33
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sidroman: I think that is because they stand as the most varied albums in the Mk VII/VIII canon – I can very much relate to what you wrote. And both featured of course a fresh line up – Jon had settled into a statesman-like role in DP, Don immediately became a creative driving force, I think he was hungry to establish himself with a band rather than being the go-to-session-keyboarder for heavier music for the rest of his life.

    For whatever reason, Rapture of the Deep (which Ian Gillan had announced at the time as an attempt of the band to record a late-in-the-career Sgt. Pepper, remember?) was anticlimactic and a little lackluster after Bananas, they had run a out of steam on that, it is the Mk VII/VIII studio offering I like the least. I would assume that its muted reception had to do with the perception that continuing with Michael Bradford was not a very fruitful path. But I’m still happy the detour with him took place.

  34. 34
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Hi guys
    While I respect everyone point of view on Micheal Bradford let’s not forget the shinning fact that he was not fully committed to give the guys from DP enough of his time on the production of Rapture of the Deep and it was rushed as he had other commitments.
    This is a fact and I think it’s totally unprofessional treatment to a big icon like DP.
    I rest my case but I find it sad that the enormous wealth of material on Bananas and Rapture go down in that fashion and it’s a wasted opportunity.
    The diversity of the songs on Bananas is unbelievable but listening to a song like haunted from Bananas sums up the crazy mixing.

    I am in total agreement with our Beloved Jon Lord that Roger could have done a better job but the crazy touring calendar made it impossible for Roger to get any rest if he took on the production (I think)

    I honestly wish someone like Bob Ezrin could do a mixing job on the two albums just to imagine what could have been but I don’t think that will ever happen so I just have to enjoy the pleasure and pain I get for listening to those two albums.
    Peace ✌️

  35. 35
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Herr MacGregor, I know how UNION met and meets utter derision in YES quarters, but admittedly I wouldn’t have minded to hold something similar with the extended DP family in my hands – uneven as the musical results might have been! My completist urge, no doubt. Glenn Hughes and Steve Morse*** doing a track together or Nick Simper and Don Airey …

    ***I remember reading somewhere that the two were lined up for a joint project in the late 80ies, but – no surprise with Glenn – nothing ever came of it.

  36. 36
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It is beyond me why there is so far no comprehensive DP box spanning all studio albums of all eras with proper new remasters/remixes (where possible) of everything. So many lesser acts have that – including ones with a vastly more chequered/checkered record company history than Purple -, but Purple’s back catalog has been outright shabbily treated. Drives me friggin’ nuts.

    I have these huge, impressive boxed sets of Ian Hunter, Wishbone Ash, Nazareth, Steve Hillage, UK, Judas Priest, Gentle Giant & what have you at home, yet nothing of the sort from my favorite band!!!

  37. 37
    Nick Soveiko says:

    Uwe @36:

    > It is beyond me why there is so far no comprehensive DP box spanning all studio albums of all eras

    because the band’s back catalogue is split between 3 different corporate behemoths: parlophone and tetragrammatone are now parts of the warner empire, which also owns the rights for pre-reunion albums stateside; harvest, purple records, and polydor went to universal; bmg and rca — to sony.

  38. 38
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Nick, but that is nothing compared to the convoluted label changes of, say, Wishbone Ash – and they managed to get a box together though Andy Powell and Martin Turner hate each other’s guts! Or Uriah Heep. Given the duration of their existence, Purple’s rights aren’t overly complicated to disentangle if you set your mind to it.

    And everyone of the label behemoths involved could cash in on new sales to an aging deep pocket audience that would otherwise not take place – reassuringly priced, of course, you know how senior citizens like something substantial in their creaky hands.

    As always with Purple, I think there is an underestimation of the commercial potential of such a boxed set. I’d base the cover of it on the iconic In Rock sleeve – supplemented by all other members in suitable Mount Rushmore style.

    Ok, ok, it would be a little crowded! We’ll do’em all as candles then!

  39. 39
    MacGregor says:

    It must be a luxury for an artist to have a good producer working with them & not against them, so to speak. George Martin with the Beatles, Martin Birch with DP & Rainbow, Roger Glover also. Terry Brown with Rush in their heyday, Bob Ezrin now with the Purps. Although I was surprised recently with the Purple covers album that Roger Glover didm’t take it on, being a lockdown issue & maybe to get his hands ‘dirty’ again & without any added pressure of a new release of original material. Although he may be over the production thing by now, ‘been there, done that’. An extra member ‘or 5th member’ of the band for The Beatles, as it was stated back in the day with George Martin. That surely is always a good thing, one would think. Cheers.

  40. 40
    MacGregor says:

    I forgot to mention Edie Offord, a wonderful engineer & producer for Yes & also ELP during the early 1970’s. Started out a little like Martin Birch, engineering at first then ended up doing both. The equipment & technology no doubt played it’s part in the early days before digital technology started ruining recordings & production. Also certain musicians becoming more tech savvy obviously contributed to the down side of poor record production in may ways. Now days it can all be done on a computer at home. Better get back to the 60’s & 70’s me thinks. Cheers.

  41. 41
    sidroman says:

    Speaking of Yes I love the odd times in their history. I’m still hoping for a live cd/dvd to appear from the Drama tour. I love Drama I think it’s a great Yes album.

  42. 42
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I thought Drama has been reappreciated in YES quarters long ago and is today perceived as one of their strongest works after it was unjustly clobbered at the time? You’re certainly in good company, these days I know hardly anyone who doesn’t give that album credit today.

    It’s kind of YES’ Come Taste The Band, also an album whose stature has grown over the decades.

    My guilty pleasure with YES is Fly From Here in the original 2011 version with Benoit David singing (the Return Trip version with Trevor Horn on lead vox and with Benoit wiped probably meant something to YES fans who craved for a sequel to Drama, but I found it superfluous).

    I saw them on tour at the time. Benoit is a fine singer but he was struggling at that point (and unceremoniously dismissed a few weeks later), not just with his vocal cords (for health reasons), but also generally with his front man role in YES or, for that matter, in any rock band (in his demeanor, he had ‘Broadway musical singer’ written all over him). It was palpable that the YES diehards in the front rows just didn’t want to see him, they were a tough audience.

  43. 43
    MacGregor says:

    The ‘Yes’ Drama album is a good one, great songs on that & it holds up very well in their history. It still has that critical Yes music style to it & with wonderful melodies from Trevor Horn & Geoff Downes ‘Buggles’ songs adding to the mix. Regarding the tour, I remember a friend managed to record from the tv onto vhs a live at Madison Square Gardens concert. We used to watch it way back in the early 80’s. Then his father unknowingly taped over it, gone forever. We were not amused & why my friend left it sitting around in his parents living room at the tv & video set up, is still beyond me. Trevor Horn did struggle vocally performing live as the tenor vocal of Jon Anderson was a little too high for him. Same thing happened with Benoit David in the 2011 era. I though David sounded very much like Horn vocally, hence the same problem afflicting his vocals having to sing Anderson’s vocal lines. There are two cracking versions of Machine Messiah & Tempest Fugit on the Live in Lyon dvd. Oliver Wakeman on the keyboards also.The only time I watch or listen to ‘Yes’ after Jon Anderson’s messy dismissal. I have not heard the Trevor Horn re recorded vocal version of Fly From Here. I don’t follow ‘Yes’ at all after that period, too pedestrian, slowed down etc, no ‘drama’ in their playing & when Squire departed this world that said it all & now sadly Alan White also. Cheers.

  44. 44
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That album which followed Fly From Here, the one produced by Roy Thomas Baker, was truly awful. You’re better off listening to Starcastle.

    Yes touring without both Anderson and Squire is a bit like Ringo and George touring under the Beatles moniker.

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
© 1993-2023 The Highway Star and contributors
Posts, Calendar and Comments RSS feeds for The Highway Star