43 this week

Deep Purple In Rock release June 1970

In Rock out June 5th

I’ve been listening to Deep Purple In Rock now for 43 years. Not continuously I hasten to add, with an album this venerable it’s important not to over play it. So I like to save it up for a treat when I’m really in the right frame of mind. But even if I’m not blasting it out as often as I used to, I still know In Rock well enough for it to remain one of my all-time favourite hard rock albums by any band. Fireball might just pip it to the post, but without In Rock there would not have been any Fireball, so maybe it ought to stand as their finest hour (or thirty plus minutes).
Some of the band (indeed many musicians) get rather dismissive about people as they see it ‘obsessing’ on moments from the past and as with any creative work, the creators generally move on.
Personally I really enjoy going back into time, whether it’s standing in the Tudor kitchens at Haddon Hall and seeing the soot marks left by candles nailed into the crude wood paneling 400 years ago by some over-worked cook, or wondering who penned the busy press release which Deep Purple’s publicists issued in the second week of May 1970. They’re both equally ephemeral moments.
You would think that a press sheet announcing the date for the release of Deep Purple In Rock would lead off with just that. Not a bit of it.  Instead the sheet talked about an impressive American record deal, the delayed release there of The Concerto, details of the follow-up work by Jon, etc., etc. Only then did it let slip (almost in a ‘by the way’ sort of fashion) that the band’s new studio album would be released three weeks hence, before carrying on with details of live dates in Germany and UK one-nighters.
Some of the music papers copied the information more or less in full, others just cherry-picked the news they thought would interest their readership. Deep Purple after all were still not a huge name, and given that for many readers The Concerto was perhaps their only point of reference for the band, maybe whoever had written the press release had been wise to lead off with that.
I like to think of the people reading it who felt a sense of anticipation, perhaps having seen the band live or heard them in session, and were keen to hear the first studio album from the new band. Planning a trip down to their record shop on June 5th, or maybe placing a pre-order (as a lot of people used to do in those days, paying a deposit over the counter). They would not be disappointed. Wait For The Ricochet.

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17 Responses to “43 this week”

  1. Fred Ender Strat O'Caster Says:

    In Rock is by far the best hard rock record. Ever! Whenever I put it on it sounds just as fresh and exciting as it used to way back when, and no band has ever come close to it.

  2. Chip Tarbutton Says:

    I think it is funny to debate the role of Blackmore in the success of In Rock. Blackmore’s playing really is at the heart of the success of this record. But what made In Rock (as well as Fireball and MH) so good is that they were obviously band records. Later Mark 2 incarnations were often times Ritchie Blackmore solo efforts with a great backing band.
    Those 3 records are so brilliant because all 5 members played a key role in every aspect of the effort. They capture the band at their apex. As much as I like Now What?! (and I like it a lot) it will never recapture the magic of these few years when DP was firing on all cylinders with enough experience to be groundbreaking…and enough youthful exuberance and camaraderie to ensure everyone was heard.
    I love Steve Morse as the guitarist now…but nothing could have been better than those 5 guys at that moment…making those records.
    They were genre defining moments and you just can’t ever recreate them. But we are able to relive them as long as the recordings survive. And for that we are blessed indeed.

    • simon robinson Says:

      Nicely put. There was also a shared vision back then, which they were all wanting to try and achieve with their music. What happens when you actually succeed is a difficult one to answer. Do you simply quit while you’re ahead or try to repeat the trick or just ease off a little and earn the financial rewards? All those factors I suggest affected the band at one point or another after that initial fantastic output. But as you say, we’re the lucky ones as we have the results to enjoy.

  3. Anthony Says:

    I remember first listening to In Rock when I was 11 yrs old and it blew me away, the sheer rawness and power of it. And it still stands the test of time to this day. Its influence on rock music as we know it is unsurpassed. I still don’t understand why they didn’t follow this music formula for the follow up album because Fireball is a totally different album and approach..more progressive in nature and it doesn’t have that sheer attack that In Rock has. I agree with Ritchie when he said that ‘they slipped up’ with Fireball.

  4. David Says:

    Yes, this was one of Deep Purples finest moments. It’s raw, full of energy and ideas and dramatic, and shows the band as 5 musicians on top of their game, I agree with T in that Ritchie was the driving force in taking the band in this direction. it has stood the test of time well. If ever my 13 year old Son gets into hard rock and asks me ” Dad, why do you like Deep Purple so much?” I`ll just give him a copy of this and say “There you go, have a listen!”

    • simon robinson Says:

      You do kind of envy youngsters who have never heard this album coming to it for the first time.

  5. Mike Says:

    When I listen to In Rock I know how the TV camera felt at the Cal Jam…

  6. John Hassett Says:

    A happy birthday to the best album the band produced. The chemistry that Ian and Roger brought to the band would not be equalled. A classic album from start to finish, playing, writing and recording by Martin Birch is excellent. The band were on fire. Fireball was as good in being creative, fresh, innovative and performing and showed the band pushing themselves. The foundations were built by this album. A album you can safely say highlights the talents these guys have.

  7. Richard Salisbury Says:

    Although I agree to a point re the Blackmore comments, I think it has to be said that here were 5 guys at the top of their game – the writing contribution brought in by Gillan & Glover being the catalyst after the lack of direction on the first 3 albums.

    • T Says:

      But who created that direction? The contribution of Blackmore is understated.

      Outside of Deep Purple, only he was able to maintain the kind of intensity for which Purple was known.

  8. Hiza Says:

    Brilliant album. Has stood the test of time. Superb work from a to z. Tough, rough and goes “like a freight train”. Hats off to everyone involved, not forgetting Mr. Birch. The vinyl was among the very first ones I ever purchased, back in ´81. I´m so lucky having met the players too, along the years.

  9. Rob Corich Says:

    I’m with you on this Simon although Fireball gets the spin far more often than any other Purple album for me save, maybe surprisingly Shades … Trips down memory lane are the essence of the Fountain of Youth, after all where else can you be 15 again (even if it’s only for a few hours) as you can listening to the records that made us, or frequenting concerts of the bands we love.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I think you’re right, and that’s what the musicians themselves sometimes fail to get. So much is wrapped up in the purchasing and listening to these artifacts for the fans. Shame Microsoft don’t put their energies into time travel instead of silly sunglasses.

  10. timothy Says:

    I hadn’t realised that you place Fireball ‘above’ In Rock… it’s not just me then! This album was the one that firmly set my mind as to whether I enjoyed hearing Purple or was ‘into’ them – a big difference… it wasn’t just the thrill of Speed King, the majesty of ‘Child in Time’ (I was already familiar with the MIJ version, which is really a showcase for RB rather than a group work as it is here), it was all the other subtle details – that crazy recorded down an alley reverb on Paice’s drums at the start of Living Wreck, the panning of the guitars at the death of Hard Loving Man, and the cryptic blurb that was written for each song (on the sleeve) – I’d better stop now and listen to it instead of writing about it!

    • simon robinson Says:

      It depends what day of the week it is really, but it does alternate. Just feel that brilliant as In Rock is Fireball pushed the envelope on terms of creativity as well as musicianship.

  11. T Says:

    In Rock is arguably Deep Purple at their finest hour.
    It is almost unbelievable to listen to this album today and think that much of it was recorded in 1969. This album practically single-handedly defined hard progressive rock – and what a contrast to the first few albums, which struggled to find a direction among pop covers and psychedelia.
    This dramatic change in direction was attributable in the largest part to one Monsieur R. Blackmore who would continue to set the tone for the remainder of Purple’s career.
    In recent times, Blackmore has been vilified by many fans and dismissed by others – but the fact remains that it was “that man” who was largely responsible for the success that would follow.
    In Rock was a ground-breaking performance by the entire band. However, waving off the banjo player as irrelevant as so many do today demonstrates a lack of depth among some so-called fans.
    In Rock is proof that vision and determination define direction.

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