Singer Rod Evans, who was the first frontman of "Deep Purple" in its first incarnation, is celebrating a birthday today!
As mentioned, he was the first singer of "Deep Purple" in the MKI lineup, that included Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Jon Lord and Nick Simper.
Rod was born in Eaton, Buckinghamshire, England, on January 19, 1947.
Beginning in the mid - 1960s, Evans replaced a number of bands, such as "The Horizons" and "The Maze", in which he played alongside Ian Paice.
In 1968, Evans was one of the founders of "Deep Purple". Bassist Nick Simper said he earned his place in the band after offering the members a ballad version of the song "Help!" from "The Beatles". This version finally found its place on the first album of "Deep Purple" from 1968, called "Shades Of Deep Purple".
Evans released 3 iconic albums along with "Deep Perple", the debut album "Shades Of Deep Purple", the second "The Book of Taliesyn", both from 1968 and the third album "Deep Purple" from 1969. He was a part of creating and performing masterful songs such as: "Hush", "Anthem", "April", "Lalena" and "Emaretta".
Following the release of the band's third album, during a tour of the US, keyboardist Jon Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice met to discuss the band's future. It was clear to all three that singer Rod Evans had a clean and "poppy" voice and that both he and bassist Nick Simper would not fit into the new style in which the band was going, so it was decided to replace them.
As early as June 1969, the same month of the band's third album release, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover were selected to replace Evans and Simper. They where both members of "Episode Six", but at this point their identities were still kept secret as well as the intention to fire Evans and Simper. None of the members of "Deep Purple" didn't wanted to be the one to deliver the bad news to them and the two learned about their dismissal from reading the newspaper.
After "Deep Purple", Evans and his then girlfriend moved to the US and lived in Los Angeles, with the intention that Evans would develop a career as an actor.
In 1971 he released a single called "Hard To Be Without You", and shortly afterwards he formed the band "Captain Beyond", which included members of the band "Iron Buttefly", after it disbanded in 1971. Evans' first appearance with "Captain Beyond" "Held on April 30, 1972. He released two albums with them in the years 72-73, but following their commercial failure he decided to retire from music.
In 1980, he followed his manager advice and formed a band that operated under the name "The New Deep Purple". The band performed in the United States. Evans' promoter took advantage of the fact that in those years "Deep Purple" was inactive and he tried to make money by using the "purple" brand name in publications and posters, designed to promote Evans and his band. Incredibly annoying, the posters even included the band's logo from the album "Stormbringer" released by the band's MKIII lineup in 1975.
Although Evans was the only member of the band to have a vague connection to "Deep Purple" in its MKI lineup, he was performing songs from the MKII lineups with Ian Gillan and MKIII linep with David Coverdale. Following this, the management of "Deep Purple" was forced to file a lawsuit against Evans and prevent the illegal use of the band name. Evans lost and was forced to pay a fantastic sum for those days in the amount of $ 672,000. In addition, Evans lost the right to receive royalties from the band's first three albums in which he participated. This incident led to a conclusion among all the band members from its various lineups, that anyone who wants to use the "Deep Purple" brand will be able to do so only if there are three members in the linep who were part of the band.
Since that lawsuit, Evans has disappeared from the cameras and is no longer seen in public. In 2015 Ian Paice noted that if anyone knows about Evans' whereabouts or even if he is still "on Earth", these would be good news for him. That same year "Captain Beyond" drummer stated that he was in touch with Rod and that he had been working in the medical field for a long time.
In 2016, "Deep Purple" entered the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" and Evans was to receive the award along with the rest of his friends from the band's various lineups. Evans was not present at the ceremony.