Hertford, England produced us Deep Purple in 1968. The fabulous five-piece is commonly noted among rock historians as pioneers of the heavy metal sound. Author Joel McIver, who penned a popular biography on Black Sabbath in 2006, referred in chapter 12 to Deep Purple being one among three bands to make up the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies.” The other two bands, of course, are Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. But you knew that, didn’t you? Let’s take a look back at the top five greatest hits from Deep Purple.
Landing at number one is the title track for Deep Purple’s 1984 album of the same name. A song about reincarnation, it was written by members Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, and Roger Glover. Lyrics like “A strand of silver hanging through the sky / touching more than you see / the voice of ages in your mind / is aching with the dead of night,” were inspired by a novel series written by Michael Moorcock.
Released in 1974 on their eighth studio album of the same name, this track was widely known as the band’s song choice to open their shows for a number of years and is known as the first written and recorded piece by the Mark III lineup. Fun fact: “Burn” is a featured in Cameron Crowe’s 2000 comedy-drama Almost Famous.
From their 1972 album Machine Head, it is known for it’s powerfully driven tempo and guitar and organ solos. “Highway Star” was written in 1971 while the band was on tour in England. The story goes that Blackmore and Gillan were goofing around trying to give an example to an anonymous reporter who inquired on how they write their songs. Needless to say, the one-off faux jam session brought to life this famous track.
“Into the Fire”
Band organist Jon Lord once again puts his mark on this song, which was released in 1970 off of Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice has said of “Into the Fire” that it is “the story of someone who is making a mistake, taking the wrong plunge.”
This popular Deep Purple song often ends up on other lists referencing the band’s greatest hits. While the groovy track was written in the late 60s by American composer Joe South and ended up being recorded and released by country star Billy Joe Royal. Deep Purple covered the song not too long after the original became popular, and it appeared on the band’s first album Shades of Deep Purple.