On March 25, 1972, "Deep Purple" released "Machine Head", one of the most important and influential albums in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
This is the sixth and most commercially successful album of "Deep Purple" and probably also the best released by the band's MKII band. It's the third album out of 4 by the aforementioned classical MKII lineup, which included guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Roger Glover and singer Ian Gillan.
The album was recorded using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, after the casino where the band was supposed to record the album in Montreux, Switzerland, caught fire. The story of the recording of the album was immortalized in the song with the immortal riff "Smoke On The Water" in which Ian Gillan tells the story of the stupid man with the flare gun, that led to the burning of the casino, during the performance of Frank Zappa and The Mothers.
Already at the opening of the album, you can feel the energies and adrenalin, with the ultimate speed car song "Highway Star", and when Ian Gillan's voice enters with the famous scream, it is already clear to everyone that this is nothing less than an anthem. The song came to be after a curious reporter, who was on the band's tour bus on the way to a show in Portsmouth, asked Ritchie Blackmore to demonstrate to him a process of composing a song. This piece illustrates well the virtuosity of the band, especially that of Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, each in his own solo. Johann Sebastian Bach influences scream from every note in these solos. Blackmore and Lord's dual solo battle will be repeated in other songs on the album as well, and in our humble opinion, this is one of the reasons this album is so awesome. Blackmore's solo in this song reached number 15 on the "Rolling Stone" magazine's 100 greatest solos of all time.
Drummer Ian Paice is simply at his peak on this album. Listen to his drumming in "Pictures of Home" for example, which is by the way, one of the best songs on the album. It is simply led by Paice. And you do not want to miss Roger Glover's bass solo either.
Another notable song is "Lazy" - the longest song on the album, that opens with an amazing Jon Lord keyboards Solo and has excellent Blackmore guitar work. Ritchie Blackmore's solo in this song is rated by "Guitar World" readers as the 74th of the 100 greatest solos of all time.
"Space Truckin'" started with a musical idea that Ritchie Blackmore brought to the band. Its riff was born from "fingers exercises" that Blackmore performed after hearing the theme song of the Batman TV series. He asked Ian Gillan to write words based on the riff and the rest is history.
It is interesting to note, that during the sessions for the album, the band recorded another song - "When a Blind Man Cries", which did not enter the album. Ritchie Blackmore did not want it in the album. He thought it was inappropriate and so he was added as a b-side to the single "Never Before" released in March 1972. Blackmore shows what an amazing guitarist he is and how much emotion he can convey in his playing. Therefore, it is very surprising that Blackmore refused to play this particular song live. The only times the band played the song with Blackmore being part of the band, were actually in shows where he was not present. On the first one, in April 6, 1972, in Quebec, guitarist Randy California from "Spirit" replaced Blackmore, because he was ill, then the song was played for the first time. On the second time, in November 1993, Joe Satriani replaced Blackmore. This song tells a parallel story to that of "Smoke On The Water". The story of the recording of the album in Monterey at the same Casino Hotel. "Had a friend once in a room - Had a good time but it ended much too soon - In a cold month in that room - We found a reason for the things we had to do".
In conclusion, "Machine Head" is undoubtedly a masterpiece that has survived the test of time in a big way. An album that contributed greatly to the development of the genre that "Deep Purple", together with "Black Sabbath" and "Led Zeppelin", co-created and developed, and a must-have album for every music lover, from fans of "classical rock" to "Heavy Metal".