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Is no more — officially

Another historical article, announcing the dissolution of Deep Purple Mark 4. It originally appeared in the issue of Sounds from July 24, 1976.

Purple: the end

By Hugh Fielder

DEEP PURPLE is no more — officially. One of Britain’s longest running and most successful heavy rock bands have split up — as predicted exclusively in SOUNDS:
The announcement made this week by Purple’s manager Rob Cooksey says that the band ‘will not record or perform together as Deep Purple again’.
Purple’s singer, Dave Coverdale, in fact resigned from the group after their final concert in Liverpool last March but the news was kept secret until the other members of the band had decided on their future plans. Coverdale spoke this week of the pressures of staying on top in the ‘hypocrisy and falseness’ of the pop world. “Being on stage was nearly always great,” he said. “Purple make terrific music but off-stage I haven’t been happy for a long time”.

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

35 Comments to “Is no more — officially”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:

    Yo, it’s quite funny to be reading an article about the Mk-IV split, with Brian Ferry on the cover, who would have been bathing-in-the-success of the single “Let’s stick together”……

    Probably the among the greatest disappointments of DP, & rock history is the loss of Mk-IV with so little recorded output…They were leading the way, & were a magnificent band when on fire…

    RIP Tommy.

    Peace !

  2. 2
    MacGregor says:

    Keeping it clean there Mr Cooksey. Apparently there were some personality conflicts ‘but that is not why they are splitting’. “The real reason is that their talents have outgrown Purple?????? “Their music has matured from the heavy rock that made them famous”. So that is why Purple ceased to exist in 1976. I am surprised a tabloid journo didn’t seize on that at the time, who knows maybe they did, it wouldn’t have been hard to even tell the truth let alone sensationalise the whole story. Mr Cooksey seemed to do well there keeping a lid on it all. Well for a short while at least. Cheers.

  3. 3
    Adel Faragalla says:

    As far as my memory serves me and from watching various interviews. It’s Jon Lord and Ian Piace decided that DP is over after that bad performance by TB on stage somewhere in the UK I think it was Liverpool.
    Then when David come to had his resignation they told him the band doesn’t exist anymore so it’s a pointless act.
    I think Ritchie was holding the band together after IG and RG left so the writing was in the wall.
    Compare this to when Ritchie left in 93 and how IG held the band together and made it so successful for over 30 years.
    It’s never nice knocking people down but the truth is IG made DP very successful in the touring stage because of his amazing driving force and determination along with the rest of the guys.

  4. 4
    Wiktor says:

    I seem to remember that Gillan and Glover left Purple in the summer of 1973 after their last shows in Japan.. NOT 1972,
    a music reporter should know that.. I mean its not that long atime between the MK II split and the MK IV split we are not talking about 10-15 years inbetween so you might forget that it was actually 73 Mk II split up and not 72.
    but.. maybe Im too hard on the poor reporter..in that case I apologize.

  5. 5
    Friedhelm says:

    Dear Highway Star. From the first time I owned a computer and learned what a starting page is, the Hghway Star was and is my starting page. But please: never, never give me a shock like this!!!! The word “historical” should have really been used in the headline … 🙂 🙂

  6. 6
    Ivica says:

    From the title…My heart stopped for a moment…I know it’s not All Fools’ day I open…news from 1976…my heart is still beating.
    Only Fools and Horses by HS

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I remember those press reports – already in the Spring of 1976 there had been rumors in the press that Purple were done – after all a German tour had been planned to follow the UK one and that never came to fruition. Then a friend called one day and said: “Have you heard, radio said Purple have split up!” and back then I was reading the New Musical Express, Sounds and Melody Maker whenever I could get one in the closest ‘bigger’ city (Darmstadt) next to our town (Dieburg) and sure enough they soon confirmed that piece of shattering news.

    The reasons given in the Sounds article were the official statement and the same in all publications of the time. But the writing had been on the wall for a while, a lengthy NME article (by Tony Stewart?) on Purple’s dejected backstage climate before the two Wembley gigs had been published in March and contained quotes like “There is no sense of something special to happen which a Wembley gig certainly should be, even for a band of DP’s stature. Hughes and Bolin aren’t even around. When Hughes finally arrives, the camaraderie with the others is obviously only superficial. No, they are not washed out – not just yet.” DC also made at one of the London gigs amidst the dry ice the valiant, but already somewhat desperate statement to the audience “We’ve come to squash rumors that Deep Purple are finished!”

    “Talents have outgrown Deep Purple” – yes and no. If you look at the slew of solo albums of the Mk IV members (Jon’s Sarabande, PAL’s Malice in Wonderland, Glenn’s Play Me Out, DC’s solo debut White Snake and Tommy’s Private Eyes) in the aftermath of the split, not a single one of them attempted to out-purple Purple, they all did something (sometimes radically) different and reception by Purple fans and the press was overwhelmingly lukewarm, any commercial impact laughable by the standard of Purple sales.

    And yet …

    Imagine a power point presentation by Purple management given to the Mk IV members in the spring of 1976 setting out their imminent future as follows:

    – Jon and Ian, you’ll be sinking tons of your own money into a band project that won’t work. BTW, neither The Who nor Bad Company will ask you to join them. Maggie Bell will forget to introduce you to the audience at the RAH, you’ll just be the “Maggie Bell Band”, live with it. In the end, David Coverdale will hire you for his backing band and you’ll be allowed to successfully argue that hotels should be of somewhat better quality during Whitesnake tours going forward.

    – Glenn, no one wants to buy Stevie Wonder impersonations by some long haired rocker with a constantly running nose and you’ll slide into a dark decade-and-a-half of cocaine addiction financed by the money you made with DP while not getting anything really done in your life. Heart attacks included.

    – David, you’ll be back eating humble pie, touring clubs again, being an opener to acts like AC/DC, Jethro Tull and Nazareth and not crack America for a very long time. Oh, and your young marriage with Julia will go to hell in the process.

    – Tommy, I’m sorry to say, your next solo album won’t set the world on fire and you’ll have overdosed by the end of the year because there will be no huge Purple organisation anymore monitoring that you don’t do even more harm to yourself than you have already done in the past. See an attorney now to get your will in place properly or check in at Betty Ford.

    I think all five would have then reconsidered the split and thought twice, maybe take a year off (with some rehab for some members) and then record a new album in 1977. Mind you, I don’t believe that Mk IV (or any Purple line-up for that matter) would have again scaled the heights of the early 70ies glory years, but Purple could have been a very substantial act (similar to say, Status Quo’s standing in the UK and Europe) for a couple of years longer, weathering both Punk and New Wave. And in the US: Never forget that the Sex Pistols never sold as many tickets (or records) there as Foghat, even at the height of the Punk craze.

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I share Friedhelm’s bewilderment, I mean it’s tantamount to waking up one morning and reading “medieval folk guitarist in tights rejoins Deep Purple”! Shudder the thought.

  9. 9
    Hollywood Joe says:

    No great loss, I was glad when they put the band out of it’s misery after witnessing an uninspiring & frankly, not up to Purple standards performance in Miami in Feb.’76. Nine years later I would witness one of the greatest concerts I ever saw in March 1985 at the Hollwood Sportatorium in Hollywood Florida during the Perfect Strangers Tour. They absolutely tore the house down ! Now THAT was Deep Purple !!

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    I tell you what these journalists really put the boot in. The Bad Company & Kansas concert link at the end of this Purple story is comical. Steve Rosen his name & his scathing review of Bad Company is humorous indeed & it makes me wonder how true it could actually be. Guitarist Mick Ralphs plays plenty of sour notes & poses like Jimmy Page. Paul Rodgers once a mighty singer reduced to trying to improve his moves on stage more than delivering high quality vocals. Even drummer Simon Kirke allegedly missed a few cues according to the writer. The only member of the band to escape criticism was bass guitarist Boz Burrell. Maybe that one year appearance with King Crimson in 1972 enabled Burrell in the situation described to be able to handle all the shenanigans of the other band members. Bad Company were a mighty tight outfit, however it could have been a bad gig for different reasons, the journo could after all be right. Anyway as Blackmore says in the other recent article, the press eh what are we going to do with them? Cheers.

  11. 11
    Friedhelm says:

    @Uwe: Maybe your are right. I lost my interest in DP then already, after Gillan and Glover had left. And I did not read the magazines you read, so I wasn’t even aware of the split. But learning about DP’s history since the Satriani-era, when I became a fan again, I must say: In retrospect I personally am glad they split. Because I prefer Jon’s Sarabande and Malice in Wonderland to Stormbringer and Come taste the band. The only two things I regret are Tommy’s death month after the split and Glenn’s nearly death in the following decade.

  12. 12
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @11: “In retrospect I personally am glad they split”

    That’s how I have been thinking sometimes about the current DP. Now, I don’t want them to split, don’t misunderstand me here, but a split could mean even more material to enjoy if they all did solo albums and projects. Then again, they could just as well retire and go lie on the couch, those lazy bastards! 🙂

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Kära Svante, don’t you think that the fact that of all myriad post DP careers only a single one ever really took off commercially on a global scale, namely the one of the bloke from Saltburn-by-the-Sea (who needed eleven years to do it), is a bit of a sombering perspective for potential DP leavers? 😂

    But I’m with you, the family stuff was/is always interesting and entertaining with quite a bunch of hidden jewels. It never fails to impress people who think of DP only as “that band who did Smoke On The Water and that golden sleeve Made In Japan album with all the long solos on it”.

    My list of jewels is:

    Rod Evans: Captain Beyond – Sufficiently Breathless

    Nick Simper: Fandango – Slipstreaming

    Jon Lord: a tie between Sarabande and Pictured Within

    Ian Paice: PAL – Malice In Wonderland

    Ritchie Blackmore: probably the Rainbow debut or Long Live Rock’n’Roll

    Ian Gillan: a tie between Sabbath’s Born Again, IGB’s Clear Air Turbulence and Accidentally On Purpose

    Roger Glover: Butterfly Ball and Accidentally On Purpose

    David Coverdale: a tie between Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing and Coverdale Page

    Glenn Hughes: Hughes Thrall (no contest)

    Tommy Bolin: a tie between James Gang – Bang! and Private Eyes

    Joe Lynn Turner: Rescue Me

    Steve Morse: Structural Damage

    Don Airey: probably his work with Ozzy, especially on Blizzard of Oz and Bark At The Moon

    Simon McBride: The Fighter

    Let’s continue this!

  14. 14
    Georgivs says:


    The PPT stuff is pure fun. Hilarious!)


    “They were leading the way, & were a magnificent band when on fire…”, which was about 1 show out of 10. And they stood no chance, therefore.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    I am not sure about how to label certain ex DP members solo or group excursions. Some I have never owned or thought much about as I don’t really like a lot of it. A horses for courses approach no doubt. Here goes. Jon Lord Concerto for Group & Orchestra & Before I Forget. Ian Gillan obviously Glory Road but as don’t know his mid to late 70’s a lot, I suppose the more popular Clear Air Turbulence. Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball, Coverdale & Whitesnake Ready & Willing, Steve Morse High Tension Wires & The Introduction. Ian Paice & Don Airey I cannot really list as they appear on other peoples albums & therefore are not the main composer or contributor as such at least form what I am familiar with. Anything they do is always good isn’t it? For studio work I would think of Airey’s playing & influence on The Blizzard of Oz album & Sabbath’s Never Say Die album. Ian Paice on anything he appears on. I don’t follow or are that impressed by Glenn Hughes solo music or collaborations, so I have to leave him out. Unless I put him down for Iommi’s Seventh Star album (sorry Uwe that is all I have) Same scenario with with JLT & Tommy Bolin as I don’t own or think that much there also. Pretty sad list isn’t it. Oh crikey I almost forgot that dastardly Man in Black, how could I? Anything with BN obviously, that is about it really, NOT. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Dr. Bob says:

    I started to panic for half a second until I saw “Mark 4” and 1976.

  17. 17
    stoffer says:

    @12 I don’t know, kinda been thinking the same way, maybe it’s time? but seeing the crowds in South America and the European tour I doubt they will. It’s sad they have become SO irrelevant here in the US, maybe the new LP will help. The Morse era put out some great music but with no promotion or PR hardly anybody knew or cared. I hope to see them 1 more time as Purple, getting rid of the same tired setlist maybe (not happening). No matter, either way I’m in till the end!

  18. 18
    Uwe Hornung says:

    LOL, Herr MacGregor, if there is anything the IGB’s CAT never was, then it is ‘popular’. I sometimes think that Bruce Dickinson and yours truly are the only two people ON EARTH who dug that album and deem it a weird jazz prog rock classic with a very famous voice. Island (the record company) basically didn’t know what to do with IGB and unless you were perhaps a musician yourself, the virtuoso appeal of all IGB instrumentalists was lost on you (I do remember though that drummers used to be in awe of Mark Nauseef’s percussive brilliance).

    Big Ian’s hard rock image brought IGB into all these ill-fitting combinations and tour packages; in the US IGB were teamed up with the likes of Thin Lizzy (that is how Nauseef met Lynott and Moore) and Nazareth, in Germany they opened for – wait for it – Black Sabbath (then still fronted by Ozzy). What were people thinking … They should have toured with acts like Return to Forever or, say, Gentle Giant, where they would have at least stood a chance of finding a receptive audience.

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    That IGB album CAT probably wasn’t popular in that sense with the punters, I meant known by some including me. I do remember reading about that album way back in the day & it has stuck in my mind (probably because it is different) a bit like PAL also in that it isn’t & not what certain fans would expect from their hard rock hero’s. As I have stated earlier I do think it is an odd combination those ‘progressive’ musicians with Ian Gillan, but at least it is different & they tried something new. As far away from the DP mothership as possible in many ways. No harm in re arranging Child In Time for a different outlook. Why not? I always noticed an effort to get away from the mothership in a sense from all ex DP members at that time. Just to shake off that stigma perhaps, especially if all the media are interested in is the early 70’s glory days. Always getting asked about the those days & fast forward 50 years & that is still happening. It must get incredibly tedious & boring that aspect of the nostalgia. Cheers.

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sorry, I feel compelled to wave my IGB flag … Just listening to this again right now:



    The way Ian sings in synchronicity with Gustafson’s bass on Good Hand Liza in an otherwise sparse musical environment is underpants-creaming good. And Nauseef’s drumming on Angel Manchenio is pure music in itself (I hope Herr MacGregor agrees, speak up!), it’s like he is conducting an animated discussion with the rest of the music. IGB were so creative and intrepid to sound different. With Ian’s telltale yet sympathetic-to-the-music vocals there was no fusion rock band before or after that sounded remotely like them.

    Sublime and cerebral stuff – even as a 16 year old who did not yet have the schooled ears to hear and understand all of the playful intricacies of this particular music, it occurred to me that this was in an entirely different league than, say, Rainbow hammering out Do You Close Your Eyes.

    I could kick myself that I didn’t see them in April 1977, I was edging to go …


    but I didn’t have the money for the ticket, darn! AC/DC (which I had seen with Rainbow a year before and found boringly mundane – sorry!) I could have skipped, but The Doctors of Madness I really liked too. They were years ahead with their mix of Lou-Reed-meets-David-Bowie theatrical prototype New Wave:



    What a missed opportunity, sigh!

  21. 21
    MacGregor says:

    I have to admit to being too dismissive of the IGB back in the day. As i was the only one flying the Purple (& other bands) flag back then, it was buy the albums or I wouldn’t get to hear it at all. Gillan & Whitesnake I purchased & enjoyed. Reading about the IGB left me in too much doubt, so I didn’t take that risk with purchasing unknown music remembering the different reviews I had read earlier on. Post 2000 & the internet presented an opportunity & as I stated here a little while ago it is a different vocal approach that makes it harder to get into, I enjoy the music itself. I did listen to those two tracks & I hear what you are saying. Maybe I need to listen to more IGB & let it soak in, there could be a few gems here & there & I could end up enjoying some ‘new’ music. It can be exciting to hear older music that we don’t get at an earlier time. I will keep listening online. Cheers.

  22. 22
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 15

    “Ian Paice & Don Airey I cannot really list as they appear on other peoples albums & therefore are not the main composer or contributor as such at least form what I am familiar with. ”

    I should check the now several DON AIREY solo albums.

    I think for the most of us solo albums are an aquired taste but many became sweethearts in this corner.
    Dare I mention Cozy s albums, Sarabande , Pictured Within, FUTURE SHOCK, TOOLBOX, several outstanding GH solo albums, JLTs RESCUE YOU and ODYSSEY, and yes many more……

    Its partly taste.

    I do remember a review overhere of PLAY ME OUT
    I think it was Kees Baars in Muziekkrant Oor that said : Only suited as ashtray. WoW!!!!

    He also described Gillan screams on the Double Trouble Live album as megalomanic. To be honest, already then the GILLAN scream was damaged, sometimes temporarily found back, very weird.

  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    I have been listening to a few tracks of a Don Airey solo album online. A Light in the Sky 2008, a Dio sound alike vocalist on one track, is it the title track perhaps & a pretty dramatic arrangement & also the ballad rocker ‘Love You Too Much’ & the Sombrero instrumental. The track Shooting Star song has a typical Bach style Jon Lord start to it then becomes a AOR sort of rocker, rather commercial sounding. Also have listened to the IGB first album Child in Time, I like the 2nd side & the last lengthy song & also the re arranged Child in Time. Will check out Clear Air Turbulance also. Cheers.

  24. 24
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I forgot all about those Don Airey Band albums, darn! Otherwise one or two of them would have made my list too. That acoustic piano album he did (and sold at his shows) was nice too, I don’t even know whether this is really known among even the trainspotters here (there is certainly nothing of it on YouTube):


    Mind you, when Don plays classical, it has nothing of Jon’s ear-enamoring feel and warmth (= pastoral, sometimes bordering on the kitschy, Jon will forgive me on his cloud, but his classical tastes were firmly entrenched in past centuries and, with few exceptions, the moods he created very often sounded a bit like soundtracks for Jane Austen movies!); Don is more Glenn Gould than Sir Edward Elgar if you know what I mean! But it’s good music nonetheless.

    Herr MacGregor, you warm my heart by giving IGB a second chance! That first album is good too (I prefer the second side with its “Santana meets Pink Floyd”-vibe as well, though Gustafson’s and Gillan’s vocal harmonizing and call + response singing on Down The Road which closes side one, is as great as anything Glenn and DC ever did together

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgAL4zdMnJA ).

    IGB’s CIT (the album) still sounds a bit more relatable for Purple fans because of Roger’s production I think. Come the more cutting-edge CAT and it’s in your face fusion production, it was hard going for someone who expected Machine Head II.

    The final IGB album is good too, Scarabus saw them opting for shorter songs, but not for less complexity. That last album also has a somewhat feverish/nervous atmosphere to it which I like (many later Gillan albums would have that too).

    It’s not that in 1976/77 as a 16-year-old I was immediately smitten with all the solo output of ex-Purple members. I immediately loved Rainbow’s debut, Tommy’s Private Eyes and Jon’s Sarabande, that was about it. PAL, Glenn’s Play Me Out, Roger’s Butterfly Ball and IGB’s CAT bewildered me too at first. But I thought: “This is obviously music that is quite different from Deep Purple and Status Quo, Uwe, but it features Purple members (THAT’S HOW LOYAL TO THE CAUSE I WAS !!!) and you’ve just spent your allowance on it, better listen to it again (& again & again & again …)


    before dismissing it!” And that is exactly what I did.

    It opened new avenues for my music tastes …

    The first jazz rock fusion album I ever bought? Cobham’s Spectrum – because of Tommy, I didn’t give a rat’s ass that Billy Cobham (Billy who? Mahavishnu what?) and Jan Hammer were on it. The ignorance of youth is bliss, my friends.

    The second fusion album I bought? IGB’s CAT. The jazz rock tour de force of the first track (once Town’s atmospheric intro had stopped) flabbergasted me and what the hell meant “Get into Duluth?” I’m still wondering today. : – )

    The first real funk album I owned? Glenn’s Play Me Out – I had never listened to Stevie Wonder before. (And whoever though that record only ashtray-worthy, never registered Glenn’s commitment to that music nor his innate ability to create it.)

    My first album with an orchestra? Jon’s Sarabande. (I had that even before I had the Concerto.)

    Hell, I even got to like Jon’s Windows eventually, no mean feat! : – )

    Thus, the vastly varied/eclectic Purple family output broadened my musical horizons no end, vielen lieben Dank!

  25. 25
    Uwe Hornung says:

    RV, Ian’s piercing high screams had already lost some of their fluidity and ease as early as 1972. On Made in Japan, he already sounds rougher and more gravelly than, say, in 1970/71, but many people actually liked that gruffer sound. Still, it was a sign that Purple’s unforgiving touring schedule coupled with less than great on stage acoustics had already taken their toll and compromised his voice. Not so much in the studio, but you could hear the difference live.

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    I did listen to the full CAT album last night, it is definitely more along the lines of side two of the first IGB album. Much more avant-garde & ‘progressive/ fusion sounding. It is good how Ian Gillan lets the musicians play so much on certain songs, he obviously was contented (if that is the word) to let it roll. I also noticed one song where Gillan let’s a few screams out here & there, starting to chomp at the bit no doubt. Now there is that third album to suss out. I notice that was held back for release, I recall reading about the record company losing interest around the CAT time. Regarding the production of CAT apparently produced by the band, I like that drier sound, vey tight in it’s delivery. Mind you I am listening to it on a computer so it may be too dry a mix on a decent Hi Fi system. Not enough bottom end sound perhaps. I also noticed upon reading a few forums that some aficionados are going back to the IGB albums after not getting into them back in the 70’s & 80’s. A bit like me although I had never heard them & just went off a few reviews I had read. Something we should never do really, best to hear it for ourselves if possible. Thanks for the information & links. If we keep giving this guy Gillan a few accolades he may go somewhere. Cheers.

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    I think the Scarabus album could have been the first IGB material I listened to online many years ago. I have just listened to it & hearing that title song instantly reminded me of Sabbath’s Disturbing the Priest, vocally. Not that I remember hearing that title song before so maybe I didn’t listen to that song at all as I would remember that. Anyway we can see why he had to change lineups & style, the harder rock of the Gillan band suits his vocal delivery much better after listening to the third IGB album. It has that odd feeling about it to my ears, that I have mentioned before, a strange combination in the difference of the musicians style with the shorter songs. It is hard to tell properly after just one listen though. CAT is the strongest album & also side two of the first CIT album after what I have been exposed to recently. All interesting music to hear though. A small point, did I hear Gillan mentioning the word ‘baby’ in a song or two, surely not. Maybe he was influenced by Percy or a young Coverdale or Paul Rodgers even. Cheers.

  28. 28
    pacuha says:

    Fans of Deep Purple Mark IV period know of the Springfield 76 recording through three official releases, In Concert (King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710-88002-2), Springfield 1976. but..

    This complete recording appeared a few months ago.


  29. 29
    Gregster says:


    I’ve been listening to Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” all afternoon…

    No wonder the boys decided to hook-up with TB, but he was taken away too soon.

    RIP Tommy Bolin !

    Peace !

  30. 30
    Eek Squared says:

    Re IGB. Given the availability of music these days, it’s amazing how long it can take to get round to visiting albums we ignored (or felt we couldn’t risk) at the time of release. That said, I loved CIT and CAT first time around, especially the longer tracks on both albums – shimmering bass lines, wonderfully expressive and well judged guitar solos from Ray Fenwick and Gillan even finding a knack for a bridge too – who can resist the middle eight on CIT or Money Lender? I occasionally have another go at Scarabus but whatever charms it has, I find difficult to uncover. Or do I mean cure? But in short, there is much to relish in those first two releases.

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “No wonder the boys decided to hook-up with TB, but he was taken away too soon.”

    Though a lot of people – David Coverdale and Jeff Beck included – mistook Jan Hammer’s introductory distorted synth lines (mixed to the left) on Quadrant 4 as the processed guitar of Tommy Bolin. It apparently got to the point where Tommy would react somewhat snappy/miffed if someone praised him for the intro solo (“That’s Jan, thank you.”):


    Tommy (mixed to the right) doesn’t enter with his guitar until 01:19 and his first solo is at 01:50, all the blurry, whizzy, chromatic stuff before is Jan Hammer (as inspired by John McLauglin who used the same scales in Mahavishnu Orchestra).

    A middle-aged man, formerly a teenage gushing Ritchie fan, whose day job is with a hearing-impaired spotted feline and who likes to work out a lot (plus show that he likes to work out a lot; if you’ve got it, flaunt it!) has meanwhile painstakingly undertaken it to reproduce BOTH Jan’s and Tommy’s solo parts on guitar, pour some fusion sugar on us!


  32. 32
    Gregster says:


    Good post Uwe, thanks for sharing ! And yes, Tommy was right-up-there with the best of the “fusion” players of the time…John McLaughlin, Zappa & even Jeff Beck were all producing similar albums incorporating these sounds.

    It is very testing on the ears to differentiate the intro solo from keyboards & guitar, until Tommy finally does arrive, & settles into the RH side mix, & plays his ass off. His unique sound with his amp & Stratocaster allows this to happen, as it carried-on into DP. The rest of his contributions are more your typical blues-phrases, though his rhythm-chops shine quite brightly. And Billy Cobham’s style, sound & fills are 1st-class, & would have inspired many drummers back-in-the-day. ( In fact, there’s a drummer a few houses down that could benefit greatly by listening to this album, as he needs inspiration from somewhere )…

    Of its kind, Spectrum is quite a good album, & easy to get along with, & like all good records, you find that it’s all over too soon, & so a 2nd or 3rd spin is warranted lol ! Here’s the full album.


    Peace !

  33. 33
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Truth be told, when I first heard Spectrum, I thought Jan Hammer’s fluid lines stemmed from Tommy too. I believe the majority of people did. Possibly even Ritchie who was impressed by the album too (Spectrum came out during the recording sessions for BURN and put the hitherto unknown Tommy Bolin on the map among fellow musicians; being allowed to play with Billy Cobham was something) and referred to Tommy as – hark! – “worth listening to”. Tommy’s work on Spectrum also got him the job with the James Gang (aided, no doubt, by a recommendation of Joe Walsh to his old band buddies as well).

    But in reality, those scales in which Jan improvised with lightning speed were beyond Tommy’s grasp as mainly a blues scale player. Tommy was fast and fluid, but he wasn’t ‘Jan Hammer fast & fluid’. (Very few people were!)

    Tommy was also a great rhythm guitarist. When I re-listened to Come Taste The Band in the car full blast recently, it struck me how many reggae (he was a Bob Marley fan) and funk elements are interspersed in his rhythm playing. It’s something that was totally new to Purple’s music, but it worked well on that album.

  34. 34
    MacGregor says:

    Truth be told those virtuoso albums from the fusion jazz rock side of things usually leave me wondering what could have been. Great players all of them & it sounds like they are having a ball no doubt, however the compositions don’t make me want to play it again & again. Same with Tommy Bolin’s albums, they never really stood out to me. A wonderful player & a few nice compositions here & there, but it leaves me wondering. That is why I like Come Taste the Band, good songs with the wonderful playing. It is the same with Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola etc etc. Superb musicians all of them & more. I have witnessed McLaughlin & band twice in concert, Beck once. A great night & the top of the pile indeed, but after a while I start craving a few decent songs etc. It is what it is. It is good music to listen to whilst driving & even while doing something around the house, in the background sort of, not in your face, it has it’s moments like any music we listen to. Cheers.

  35. 35
    Gregster says:


    Good pop / radio songs everyone likes, since they’ll usually contain a memorable hook / melody / chorus-line that stays with you often all-day-long, that you can sing or hum back to yourself…Of course, by the turn of the 1960’s into the 70’s, people ( I would have been for sure ) were sick & tired of the Beatles, & all that lovey-dovey-stuff that saturated radio & TV themes, & so the good fusion / instrumental albums were coming-out to balance things out via independent labels & other means. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the really good stuff coming from the UK was not found on regular radio stations first, but pirate radio stations that were essentially abandoned old war-ships at anchor in the English channel & other places from WW-II.

    It’s nice to have choices, that’s for sure. And perhaps even modern radio will return to good music once again…All you need is that “million-dollar-riff”, & away you go, hook-line-&-sinker lol !

    Peace !

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