top of page

Ian Gillan

One of the greatest singers of our generation - Ian Gillan is celebrating his birthday today !!!

(Photo: Fin Costello)

He was born on 19 August 1945 in the London area, England.

He absorbed music from an early age. His grandfather was an opera singer, his uncle was a jazz pianist and his grandmother taught ballet.

As a child Gillan was a soprano singer in the local church choir.

The first band he was a member of was "Garth Rockett and the Moonshiners". He was their drummer and singer.

Gillan soon realized that he was unable to sing and play drums at the same time and decided to abandon the drums in order to concentrate on singing.

In 1962 he joined the band "Ronnie and the Hightones", which changed its name with Gillan joining to "The Javelins". The band played covers of rock and roll stars like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.

In 1964 he moved to "Wainwright's Gentlemen" that played mostly soul music.

The big change came in the mid-60s with the band "Episode Six" which also included bassist Roger Glover.

In 1969 he was asked by Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paice to join Deep Purple's MKII lineup, after seeing him perform.

In Deep Purple Gillan helped his bandmates to pursue their vision to change the band's musical direction and make it heavier. There is no doubt that Deep Purple would not have sounded as it did in its MKII lineup, had it not been for Ian Gillan.

But Gillan's powerful and dynamic singing not only shaped Deep Purple's musical direction, it was a milestone for the hard rock and heavy metal singers who followed. It could be said that without Gillan's famous screams in the song "Child In Time", we would probably be left to this day only with "Clean" singing and without "Growling".

In 1973, after co-creating "Deep Purple" masterpieces, such as "In Rock" and "Machine Head", Gillan left the band.

In parallel with Gillan's being part of Deep Purple, he also played the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1970 rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar".

After about two years in which he did not engage in music since he left "Deep Purple", Gillan formed the "Ian Gillan Band", whose style was more of jazz-fusion music. The band was not a success and in 1978 Gillan disbanded it and formed with keyboardist Colin Towns another band called "Gillan", which tended towards hard rock. The band was active until 1982, disbanding after an injury of Gillan's vocal cords, which forced him to retire and rest.

In 1983, Gillan joined "Black Sabbath" as a replacement for Ronnie James Dio. He recorded a solo album with the band, "Born Again".

In 1984 he was part of the union of "Deep Purple's" MKII lineup and took part in the excellent album "Perfect Strangers".

Like Deja Vu, Gillan was fired from "Deep Purple" in 1989 after failing to get along with Ritchie Blackmore, but returned to the band in 1992 at the request of Jon Lord and Ian Paice who wanted him to return to the band to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Gillan has been leading the band ever since.

(Photo: Jo Hale)

In 2020, on the occasion of his 50 years of membership in the band, Gillan and "Deep Purple" released their 21st album Whoosh!. An amazing album that does not have a single weak moment, which proves that even today Gillan is still a relevant and great singer.

Gillan also has an interesting solo career during which she has released up to day 7 albums, one of which is with Roger Glover.

He also has several collaborations, including with Tony Iommi on the project and album for Armenia "WhoCares".

So let's wish the man a lot of good health and continued extensive musical activity.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page