Colin Hart – A Harts Life

Colin Hart Hart Life coverDespite what seems to me a misfired pun of a title, Colin Hart’s book, as you might imagine from a guy who spent thirty years at the centre of Deep Purple and Rainbow’s careers, contains some fascinating material. It is also the first book the come from anyone beyond the band themselves (and even there the official pickings are slim). Colin has broken down the tale roughly into four sections, the first covering his early years with local groups up until getting the DP gig (he was working with The Faces at the time when Purple went out as support). It was Purple’s managers who spotted his abilities and offered him the job with Purple. His early stint with the group is a bit frustrating, it’s quite short and some of the stories seem to cover stuff which is already out there, though you do get Colin’s take on it all (and some astonishing new snippets). It’s clear that in places co-writer and friend Colin Allix has done a bit of background research and dropped in context which helps structure the tale.
When Colin moves on with Blackmore into Rainbow, the book picks up and from there on into the reunion, fans will find lots of interest in the saga, and plenty to provoke other reactions I’m sure. It’s not all sex and drugs and rock and roll by any means though, and Colin does take time to explore the way the band interacted and worked on the road, and the various personalities.
I’m not going to get into recounting the many anecdotes, but the story of his dismissal from the band following a heart attack in 2001 is woeful – and yet from the stuff I’ve seen fairly typical of the way the band and managers have operated at times.
Roger Glover’s introduction is short and strange, but Paul Mann’s is really nicely written (Colin is his uncle and recommended him for the Concerto anniversary project in 1999). There is a selection of photos, including a lot of personal shots from Colin’s own collection. These are not always of the best quality but it’s nice to see them.
In all then not the most detailed book you’re ever going to read, but one which rattles along and certainly throws light on many of the important moments in the band’s history, and as such will prove useful to future researchers.
Happily Colin managed to get through his illness and I’m sure every fan who ever got a tour pass off him will want to wish him well for the future and enjoy this.

Available at the DTB Online Store

11 Responses to “Colin Hart – A Harts Life”

  1. Roy Davies Says:

    Interesting but a missed opportunity overall; there was (still is in fact) the potential for a really good account of Purple and Rainbow goings-on from a band member or as here, from a more detached perspective.
    Unfortunately the lack of a sub-editor with a prior knowledge of the story to question and push Colin into extra detail where needed means the narrative skips through tantilisingly interesting tales without embellishment, while elsewhere we get bogged down with the simple telling chronological events most fans are wholly familiar with. I suspect both Jerry Bloom’s Blackmore biog and yours truly’s Rainbow book was used as references here and there to confirm the sequence of events – which is fair enough as nearly forty years worth of recollections must start to blur together!

    • simon robinson Says:

      I kind of think most musicians are not in a great hurry to go into print no matter how interesting us fans might find the stories! After all you never known when you might need a gig… Colin on the other hand probably reasoned he had nothing else left to lose. And yes it was fairly easy to spot where (and from where) his book had been beefed up to give some chronology. Just like the Whitesnake Cd reissues where the writer seemed to have had my old biography propped up next to the keyboard (or OCR software in some cases!).

  2. Johan Antonides Says:

    I’ve read the book and boy what a fun it was. If you’re interested in Deep Purple, Rainbow or Blackmore you just must read this. The part about (when) Ritchie ‘wanted’ to leave the band in 1993 realising the others called his bluff, is hilarious.
    At least this book gives you an inside look of the spinal tap called Rock& Roll

  3. Richard Frost Says:

    It might just be me, but that cover shot of Colin Hart is a dead ringer for Steve Coogan! I very much look forward to getting a copy of the book.

  4. jpphoopha Says:

    Interesting but sloppily written and edited – and easily corrected by a professional editor.

    My main impression from this book is that Blackmore is an abusive coward who readily backs down when confronted by someone capable of and willing to take him down. It is a surprise that no stories have surfaced of Blackmore receiving a thorough ass-kicking. It is clear from the book that Blackmore hides behind his musical genius and the deference it elicits.

    Other than that, no great surprises. but more details.

    That’s all.

  5. Bernt Says:

    What a great guy! He really went through hell sometimes. Esp. autumn 1993 just before RB’s leaving and 2001 were hard times.

  6. Steve Edwards Says:

    Colin was also our (ELF’s) road manager when we recorded our 2nd and 3rd LPs in England along with all the English, European and American tours when ELF was opening act for Deep Purple. Colin always took great care of us and I always held our friendship in the highest regard.

  7. JMcE Says:

    Anyone think CH looks like a Spinal Tap-ish Steve Coogan?! :-)

  8. philippe leroy Says:

    cher colin , j’ai passé de bon moments avec deep purple
    grace à toi

    merci encore

    philippe et julie

  9. Bo Poulsen Says:

    Colin WAS a part of Purple/Rainbow. A great person and I hope I one day will meet him again. I miss him when Purple are in town.
    All the VERY best to you Colin!

  10. Scott W. Says:

    I have read about half of it and have enjoyed it so far. Love the story about John Bonham crashing Ritchie’s “Affluent” themed party! I laughed out loud!
    I feel as an American I have become accustomed to British slang and wording over the years, but the sentence structure and wording at times seems a bit strange.

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