On June 3, 1970, "Deep Purple" released their fourth studio album "In Rock".
"In Rock" is considered a groundbreaking album that defined the "Hard Rock" and "Heavy Metal" genres and is without a doubt one of the most important and influential in the development of the above genre. This album is so important that even an entire book has been written about it: "Wait For The Ricochet: The Story of Deep Purple In Rock".
The story of the album and it's becoming so influential, began somewhere in 1969. After the release of her third album, "Deep Purple" decided to make a fundamental change in its musical direction. During a tour of the band in the US, keyboardist Jon Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice met and discuss the band's future. The three unanimously expressed their desire to take the band in heavier directions. They all knew that the singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper won't be able to “deliver the goods” in the new musical direction the band is aiming for. After searching for a suitable singer and bassist, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover were both selected in June 1969, both of whom were members of "Episode Six".
Since "Deep Purple" was still committed to several performances in the MKI lineup, the last of which was scheduled for July 4, 1969, the members of the new band, which was initially formed secretly and without the knowledge of Simper and Evans, met to exchange writing ideas.
The newly formed band entered the studio in the summer of '69 to record the song "Hallelujah". During the rehearsal, Nick Simper thought he was still a part of the band. He asked to find out when the song would be recorded and then he found out that Roger Glover had already recorded the bass roles in his place. Due to the embarrassing incident, the band members asked the band's management to issue a formal announcement about the replacement of Simper and Evans.
In September 1969, the band recorded, during a performance at the "Royal Albert Hall", an album called "Concerto for Group and Orchestra". The album was recorded together with the "Royal London Symphony Orchestra" and was the first album in history to combine compositions of a symphony orchestra with a rock band.
In October 1969, the band re-entered the studio to record their new album. Ritchie Blackmore noted that he would have had to take matters into his own hands, otherwise the band would have continued to play with symphony orchestras forever. Indeed, this time everything sounded different, and finally, the long-awaited change in the band's style emerged. The sounds that emanated from the studio were heavy, rough even shrill, yet they had an amazing harmony and a perfect melody.
Even the name of the album was carefully chosen to make a clear distinction between the classical orchestral days and the new era. "Deep Purple" was announcing: "We are a rock band and you can see this from both the cover and the title of the album".
The album opens up with "Speed King" in an atomic explosion. A huge, huge, rolling noise of bombastic drums, squeaky guitars, and pumping bass mixed together, when beneath all this clutter, hustle and bustle a soft, caressing "carpet" of keyboards. And like the silence that prevails after the "bombing", this mighty thunder of musical instruments fades away and we are left with the same soft and caressing carpet of John Lord's church keyboards, which becomes a short keyboard mini solo that leads us through a cold, dark corridor into the mighty song. Then all of a sudden, the door opens and a bright light emanates and dazzles the eyes, and the song opens with a guitar-bass-keyboard-triangular riff, with bombastic drumming of Paice and the roars of Gillan, and there is nothing that sounds like that at the time !!!! By the way, the famous riff was written on Glover's bass when he tried to emulate "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix.
It is not clear why this amazing 1:30 minute-long intro was cut in all versions of the album which can be found in the various streaming apps. It's just neutering of the song and of "Deep Purple's" bold statement, to the world of music, notice! not only have we changed our style of music from end to end, but we have come to give you a head start with something new and powerful that is not heard before. In light of the importance and perfection of this crazy opening, here is a YouTube version of the full song, which includes the same intro:
By the way, this is the band's first song for which Gillan wrote lyrics. This is Gillan's homage to the rock 'n' roll songs he grew up on, as the lyrics are a collection of excerpts from famous rock 'n' roll songs including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley.
Immediately afterward comes "Bloodsucker" with the bluesy riff played at a fast pace. This is the last song written for the album and features Gillan's famous scream at the end of each verse. Gillan played a key role in making this album a breakthrough in the hard rock and metal genres. We are not just talking about the powerful voice, the endless range, and the unique singing style, but mainly about the courage and daring that are shown to sound different. Until then singers mostly sang, after which they were no longer afraid to roar and scream. It is interesting to note that the song was re-recorded by the band for the album "Abandon" from 1998, in a lineup that included guitarist Steve Morse. The new version of the song was given a slightly different title - "Bludsucker". In 2017 a clip of the band performing the song at the "Hellfest" festival was released.
The third song that seals the first side of the vinyl is the masterpiece "Child In Time". A song that more than 50 years after it was written still sends chills through our whole bodies. A song that is a musical miracle "above nature". What virtuoso music from all the members, especially Lord, what a true and moving song of their age. Just a perfect song. This song is an anti-war protest song referring to the Vietnam War, which is also one of the band's greatest works of all time. The song opens with a slow, soft keyboard playing by John Lord and is slowly built up, rising to a climax followed by a jam session which includes a virtuoso guitar solo by Blackmore and from there returns for Lord's quiet and jazzy keyboard playing, Which again increases until the mighty climax at the end. The song features one of Gillan's best vocal performances which demonstrates his immense abilities and his wide vocal range. It is highly recommended to listen to Gilan's voice during the live performance of the song in the "Made In Japan" album, to understand the undisputed greatness of this legendary singer.
Lord's famous keyboard riff in this song was greatly influenced by the song "Bombay Calling" by the American band "It's a Beautiful Day". The song was included on the band's debut album released a year earlier, in 1969. For those unfamiliar with the song, it is very worth listening to here because the resemblance is simply amazing.
There are no weak songs on this album, it maintains a high level throughout.
"Flight of the Rat" opens up the second side of the vinyl and features simple, basic and so classic hard rock riffs and long solos by Blackmore and Lord, with Glover holding everything tight with his steady bass playing. Later in the song, a funky part of Blackmore and everything stops abruptly for two seconds to start all over again. And if all that wasn’t enough, the song ends with a short Ian Paice drum solo. The piece evolved during rehearsals from a humorous adaptation of Glover to the classic piece "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
"Into The Fire" has a heavy and metallic riff that is slightly influenced by "King Crimson" and includes a slow and bluesy guitar solo by Blackmore and Gillan's famous scream which is actually also the chorus "Into The Fire". Glover intended to place here a warning sign against drug use.
"Living Wreck" is the result of a joint composition by all the members. The riff of this song will undergo a musical metamorphosis and land almost a decade later in "Scorpions" song "Don't Make No Promises (Your Body Can't Keep)". Lord plays the Hammond here through a Leslie speaker which gives the keyboards a slightly different sound from other songs on the album in which he plays through a Marshall amp-like in the song "Hard Lovin 'Man" for example. Blackmore plays the solo here through the octave effect.
Indeed it is impossible without the "pearl" that ends the album "Hard Lovin 'Man", with Glover's galloping bass and John Lord's stunning keyboard riffs simply shining in this song. Blackmore said he performed the second guitar solo to annoy one of the sound technicians in the studio. He noted that he had deliberately rubbed the guitar up and down the neck to produce disturbing sounds, until the same technician was sure Blackmore was going crazy. It is worth mentioning that this is the first song out of two on the album produced by the super producer "Martin Birch". Birch also produced the song "Flight of the Rat", with all the other songs being produced by the band itself. Birch's work on these two songs was liked by the band and it will lead to Birch's fruitful collaboration with Deep Purple which will last until 1976.
Before the end, we must mention the song "Black Night", which was not part of the album itself but was recorded during the album's sessions. It was released as a single and was a great success on both sides of the Atlantic. The song was included in the expanded editions of the album and had many cover versions including "Metallica" and Bruce Dickinson.