Who Do We Think We Are Studio

Lichtblick: Mörfelder Straße 20, Walldorf, Frankfurt, Germany. Formerly a recording studio used by Deep Purple to complete their album Who Do We Think We Are in 1972

deep purple who do we think we are recording studio walldorf frankfurt germany

DTB reader Bernt Kuepper has been trying to track down the exact location of the studio Deep Purple used for Who Do We Think We Are for some time. As we know the band began work in Italy (the exact villa is another location it would be good to pin down) but didn’t get much done, so had to hurriedly find somewhere else to finish the album in during October 1972. Bernt spoke to Roger Glover about it a couple of years ago, and I contacted Colin Hart on his behalf, but neither of them were able to really remember much about it.
The problem was that they used a little known studio in a small suburb of Franfurt called Morfelden-Walldorf, just off the E451 autobahn, a few kilometers away from Frankfurt airport. Our guess is that the place was found by someone at the band’s German agency Mama, who were based in Frankfurt. Morfelden-Walldorf was originally a small village and indeed retains a sort of separate identity even though it is now part of Frankfurt.
Bernt tracked down a guy called Joerg Gruensfelder who was around at the time and he confirmed that WDWTWA was recorded in the Walldorf-Studios. The owner was Herr Pfalzgraf and the studio was a former cinema which he had converted.

deep purple who do we think we are recording studio walldorf frankfurt germany

Who Do We Think We Are studio entrance

Bernt was able to drive over and have a look. The woman at the desk allowed him to take some photographs. She thinks the studio shut in the late 1980s. It was basically one big room – the cinema floor with the chairs removed. The actual control room is quite small, around 12′ by 10′, and had been the projector space originally (as it is again) but as the band used the Stones Mobile it wasn’t a big concern (they used it as a hanging out area).

deep purple who do we think we are recording studio walldorf frankfurt germany

Who Do We Think We Are studio area

I’ve never seen any contemporary photographs of this stage of the album recording, perhaps the band just wanted to get it over and done with by that time given the personal problems between them.
Bernt spoke to a few locals and all of them remembered the time Deep Purple were there, so it must have been quite a big deal.

deep purple who do we think we are recording studio walldorf frankfurt germany

Former studio from the street, 2012

29 Responses to “Who Do We Think We Are Studio”

  1. Robin Says:

    Still, one of my favorite albums ! Lovely guitarlicks. I still hope they play songs from this album…

  2. grigory Says:

    WDWTWA is great, it was my first DP album, their latest release back then.

  3. Carsten Says:

    I’m really happy to see how many people love this album. So do I. I think musically it’s really great. I can understand why the band all but disown it given the problems within the band. I do remember hearing it in its entirety when it was released on German radio station SWF3 (today, the station is called SWR3). It was shortly before or after hearing Led Zep’s House of the Holy in its entirety. Who do we think we are completely blew me away – and I was only 13 years old. Always has been and always will be one of my favourite Purple album!

  4. Chris Lee Says:

    There must have been something about the place. Apart from being a badly underrated album with some fantastic stuff on it, to me it’s Mk 2’s best produced studio album.

  5. Bernt Says:

    Sid, the projection room was inside the Mobile Unit. Thus there was no need to use the place where the cinema’s film projector was located. The recording room was the cinema itself (10m x 12m).

  6. Anthony Says:

    Adding my vote for the excellence of WDWTWA, which has always sounded to me like the logical extension of Fireball. Machine Head is one of THOSE albums which has Classic written through it like seaside rock; In Rock remains Purple’s heaviest record, and saved their career. When writers describe WDWTWA as a “tired” album, methinks they’re being lazy (no pun). The energy level is high.

  7. fabio c. Says:

    Not their best effort, Ritchie’s playing is slightly under his standard, also at composition level… however it’s Mark II and so it’s good as well. Painted Horse was a leftover, they put it out but it was a mistake, (though) I like Gillan and (also) Glover’s firm bass line.

  8. mAx___ Says:

    Excellent album, my favourite one right after Machine Head. One thing I’d love to know is the equipment used by Ritchie in the album. Some songs sound like he used the AC30, some others like the Marshall Major.

  9. Jeff Summers Says:

    Great to read this and see those pictures. WDWTWA is a great album, no matter what the band say about it. The writing was maturing and the performances (apart from Ritchie which is sparse) fantastic. Jon Lord and Gillan are outstanding on this album! I know it was the weakest in terms of sales, but MIJ was released around the same time and I think this impacted on the overall sales figures. “Rat Bat blue” has to be in the top ten of any DP songs and Mary Long is as absolute classic too… As with all classic MkII albums for my money there isn’t a weak song on this.

  10. Wiktor Says:

    “Who do we think we are” is a far better album than Burn or Stormbringer, you can tell its the end of the line for the MkII but its great, almost up there with Machine Head…

  11. John Hassett Says:

    A great album and often over looked by the fans, some great playing and Ian on fine form on songs like “Smooth Dancer” and “Painted Horse”

  12. Wiktor Says:

    I was standing in line buying the album in 1973 for Christ sake, and its a very good album, not the best, Machine head is still the one, but I rather listen to WDWTWA any day over Burn or Stormbringer…
    Wiktor

  13. Jack Hanson Says:

    It was a powerful album. Unfortunately, the best art sometimes comes from the depths of the greatest misery. I love the songs on this record. Wish they would get played more by the band. “Super Trooper” is a barn burner, “Place In Line” is a fantastic take on the blues and Gillan sings his heart out, “Painted Horse” should have made the final album. Much more to this record than “Woman From Tokyo”.

  14. neil jones , nuneaton , england Says:

    Thanks for the photographs and the effort put into locating the studio, good to be able to gain a feel for the album in its location setting… still to this day remains one of my favourite albums.

  15. Bernt Says:

    Thank you very much for posting this!
    But the recording room was not so small, it was 12 by 10 METERS. It’s the place where the audience sits.

    • simon robinson Says:

      Oops, sorry for the slip there Bernt. I was thinking looking at the photo of that large black wall, wouldn’t it be great to decorate it with a blow up of the LP art one day? Maybe for the anniversary.

    • Sid Says:

      Bernt,

      I believe you may be getting confused with the control room and recording area? Surely the control room (which housed the consoles, mixers, tape decks etc) would logically be the old protection room and not a 12 x 10 metres area at floor level?

      That way its a similar layout to the old IBC studio in London where a small control room was up a set of stairs and overlooked the main (and larger) recording area.

      12 metres by 10 metres for a control room would be record breaking size! I would think it more likely the band had their equipment set up where that seating area is.

  16. Dave Stoddard Says:

    Great pics and info – it’s so fulfilling when you track down these locations, wish I could do it full time!

  17. Bo Says:

    Michiel, you are so right, and the last from the glory days of Mk2 at full power.

  18. Stephen Clare Says:

    In my view it had the best sound of any of the early MK II albums so it is nice to see where that sound started from. I’ve said this before but will say it again, if you reorder the album tracks like this then it actually a really heavy album and much better to listen to (actually sounds more like a Purple album) –

    Rat Bat Blue, Smooth Dance, Super Trouper, Mary Long, Place In Line, Our Lady and Woman From Tokyo

  19. Micke Says:

    Agree, great album!!

  20. Mark Nolde Says:

    WDWTW will always be one of my favourites. I can imagine the band, of way back (then) that is, performing on a small stage and me sitting in one of those chairs. No place in line for me, he he he.

  21. Mic Says:

    Agreed Michiel. My favorite Mk2 album.

  22. WILLY Says:

    And no matter what critics say…

  23. Volodymyr Drybushchak Says:

    Very interesting…

  24. Gert Larsson, Sweden Says:

    Finally some interesting news about the best album from DP. I agree with Michiel, it doesn’t matter what others say and I have been listening on them since 1970.

  25. dirk4u Says:

    Another puzzle solved (in) the story of WDWTWA …

  26. Mike Galway Says:

    Well done Bernt-thanks for sharing

  27. Michiel Says:

    Great album. No matter what people say.

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