1974 in focus

These days the anniversaries seem to be coming thick and fast; I just had a journalist enquiring about photographs I took at the Butterfly Ball show as he was planning a 40th anniversary feature on the album…  could it really be that long ago?

Deep Purple UK tour 1974

But interesting as that album was, perhaps for many the event we should be looking back on was the UK debut 40 years ago of Deep Purple Mk 3, on a massive and what proved to be very exciting UK tour.  I was reminded of this thanks to this great photograph taken from up in the gods looking down on the group rocking out in front of a clearly appreciative crowd.  It was taken by photographer Barry Plummer and I’ve been helping him sort through his images for a series of books.  He worked for The Melody Maker and as such was often sent out to cover the band, the first time being in 1971, photographing both live shows and the musicians off-stage during interviews.  The paper would use one or two photos, and Barry just filed the rest of his negatives away.  Anyhow, one of the books is devoted just to Deep Purple and we’ll have more on the book (which is due in early 2015) soon but I got permission from the publishers to reproduce this shot.  For anyone who caught this tour (I was lucky enough to see two shows) it will really bring the gigs into focus.  It’s also fascinating just to look at the little bits of detail – the roll of gaffer tape on one of the amps, the support band’s drum kit shoved behind the back-line, Jon’s effects unit taped to the top of his Hammond, Ritchie’s Revox, Ron Quinton holding on to the Marshall stack, the left-handed Strat, and so on. I’m back there blissed out on the blues solo once more!

The book is one of a series from Barry’s archives coming out on ST33 books (the others feature more big names from the era), you can read a bit more on their site.  We’ll be getting more details soon and discounts for Darker Than Blue readers are on the cards.

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22 Responses to “1974 in focus”

  1. Neil Cutler Says:

    Hard to believe that that version of the band didn’t even see out 2 years! In 1975 I was on a school trip in Paris when Mk 3 played their final gig, totally oblivious to what was going on just down the road! (I didn’t discover Purple until 1976).
    Mk 3 were rough, raw and dangerous, and saw the Mk 2 members all on top of their game, particularly Ritchie who over the next few years was untouchable. How David Coverdale stepped into that the way he did is a credit to him. Unbelievable voice, and such a different style to Ian Gillan (equally unbelievable!). Check out Bang Bang by the Government from 1971 and you’ll easily see what Purple came across when they were listening to tapes prior to signing the singer.
    Glenn had an amazing voice but for me was always a bit the weak link in the band, and its easy to see why on live recordings his embarrassing between-song chat and singing was edited out.
    But it was what it was, white suit and all, and they were a crackin’ band.
    Worth a book of Mk3 photos alone, especially for all of us who didn’t see them live.

  2. Tony B Says:

    My experience of the 1974 tour was only through the ‘Live in London’ LP from Kilburn released in 1982 which I got as soon as it came out. Both sides ran long and the cover had the unforgettably crass corner logo (as Simon noted at the time!) ’57 minutes of heavy rockin’ music’.

    The whole band sounded energised as at that stage Blackmore was interested and there is a great version of Lay Down Stay down plus the best live version of ‘You fool no one’ I’ve heard.

  3. Morten Larsen Says:

    Can’t wait for the book

  4. Danny Fox Says:

    Simon, cracking picture. With the book coming out next year reminds me of the Mk3 live soundboard you had from Scotland if my memory serves me right. What’s the chances of bringing that out around the same time, or as a bonus with the book! I know I know, more chance of DC’s Crushed Denim trousers splitting than that happening…. Danny Fox

  5. Les Hedger Says:

    Was it really 40 years ago?!! I remember letting my neighbor borrow my “Burn” album (had to sneak it in through his window as his parents wouldn’t let him listen to hard rock). After a few weeks I had to beg him a few times to give it back to me.

  6. Timothy Says:

    What a great photo – totally atmospheric yet loads of details… my main concern is with DC’s potential wedding tackle snarl up – I imagine those flares were made of lycra to allow that (non) crotch splitting stance?!

    • simon robinson Says:

      His trousers were brushed denim of course, which we all had back then (mine are carefully preserved ready to donate to a fashion museum!). Maybe he just relied on a post gig massage to get the blood circulating again…

  7. IAN DOUGLAS Says:

    Well done Simon and looking forward to the book! Yes I love Mk 3 and they made a fantastic contribution to the total history of the band. You Fool No One live was simply the best or equal to whatever else they did from any line-up so far as I am concerned. And the blues alternative of Mistreated that was quite distinct from earlier ‘shades’ of DP. The live recordings from the era too really stand up – especially Live In London. Treasured memories indeed!

    • simon robinson Says:

      Yep, the You Fool sequence live was something to experience, they really managed to win over us Mk 2 die-hards for the most part.

      • Les Hedger Says:

        How about Paice’s drumming!! You Fool No One and Space Truckin back to back. The man never got tired!!

  8. Raj Kohli Says:

    The Burn album was an album of raw and stunning power but the elephant in the room for me has always been that DC was a dreadful singer in a live context. Glenn always outshone him.

    • simon robinson Says:

      Would want to debate that, he always worked OK for me in those days, very powerful.

    • Aaron Says:

      Wrong. For me, Hughes live back then was extremely chaotic and quite poor vocally. DC was very good live but because Hughes could screech and whoop, people seem to think he was fantastic. Very odd. Hughes has actually improved I think, over the years.

      • simon robinson Says:

        I agree Hughes has been very good live this last two decades; we mustn’t forget he was being “stimulated” at many of those old Purple shows!

  9. jmst1 Says:

    Oh my. My first ever live gig – Deep Purple, Bristol Colston Hall, 20th May 1974. Never ever to be forgotten. I would love to get my hands on this book.

    • simon robinson Says:

      It’s out early in the new year. I have not yet identified the hall, and Barry did cover a number of venues, so you never know. He has a lot of info which I am slowly getting through. I can imagine Purple going down well in Bristol, it was a great venue.

  10. Arthur Smith Says:

    Love the photo!

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