Machine Head album out now…?

So, when was Machine Head released in Britain then? Postings elsewhere on the web to the effect that March 1st marked the release caused some response, so I thought we’d see what we could add to the story.
deep purple machine head released march 30 1972The DTB archives have a copy of an internal EMI memo dated March 13. which clearly gives a release date of Thursday, March 30. At the time most major labels (some budget labels ignored this as they were not eligible for the album charts) had settled on Thursday as the main release day for new full-price albums. The reason was to make sure of maximum sales prior to the compilation of the album charts, including the very important Saturday sales.
The chart figures were usually dated for week ending on the following Saturday. Obviously there was some delay in collecting sales figures, which I think were still entered on chart return sheets manually at the time and posted in.
Machine Head first entered the UK album chart on (week ending) April 15. 1972. This fits the pattern of a two week gap between album release dates and first chart entry (Nigel Young has checked others and they match this pattern). So I think we can confirm the 30th as release day.
On the April 15. album charts Machine Head debuted as a new release at number 4. It reached the number 1 spot the following week. It stayed there for two weeks, dropping to number 2 on May 6. replaced by (of all things) a rerelease of two old Tyrannosaurus Rex albums back to back. EMI reissue department’s triumph was short lived though, and Machine Head was back at number 1 the next week (though overall EMI won either way as they also owned the old T. Rex catalogue). From there it was a slow downward trend overall, with the album last placed at 44 in October having been going back up for a time thanks to the effect of the September UK tour.
At the time the album charts were important and fans took a certain pride I think in seeing bands they admired up there, though for the general public the singles charts probably had more resonance and certainly more publicity.
Shown above is the first news about the album appended to a longer press release, and below the famous French chart entry – three singles and the album! See the original UK full page press advert on the site here.

deep purple machine head french charts


11 Responses to “Machine Head album out now…?”

  1. Craig Stevens Says:

    Just one of the best EVER! My first LP when I was a kid! I still love pulling that album out of it’s sleeve and putting the stylus on the Vinyl!

  2. Mark Says:

    Is this the “Fantastic Darker Than Blue site” as praised by another organisation with DP’s interests, supposedly at heart, on the facey book thing today?

    Wonder what they’re after now…

    • simon robinson Says:

      Didn’t realise they let you watch facey book thingy in Shanghai Mark! But no, it must be another Darker Than Blue they’re talking about, surely…

  3. Daniel Sauvé Says:


  4. Micke Says:

    Those where the days.. for sure.

  5. Jeff Breis Says:

    I still think that “Never Before” should have been a hit. It’s the best song on the LP. Ian Paice and Jon Lord are the real stars on that one.

  6. Nigel Young Says:

    All albums were released on Fridays but 31st March 1972 was Good Friday (and the shops closed back then), hence the Thursday release for Machine Head. Despite mention of February in that cutting, the USA got it the same week as us.

    • simon robinson Says:

      shops closing for Bank Holidays (and Sundays, and half day on Thursday round here); that makes me feel even older than posting the news of Machine Head’s 40th.

  7. Raj Kohli Says:

    I always found T Rex dinosaurs……

    • simon robinson Says:

      Yes, but we’ve always had a fascination with those as well. I had no time for T.Rex at school (not that they ever visited, just the records) but enjoy their top tracks these days.

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