Machine Head 40th Anniversary Edition

Dec 3rd 2012 update • The 5CD box set was deleted at the end of November without warning.

Eyes down for a full house! The sales sheet crashed my Mac (something which almost never ever happens) three times as it tried to load. EMI have certainly come out with all guns blazing on this, combining the album and the 1972 BBC In Concert to mark the 40th anniversary of the album release. But while the official pack shot (below) looks pretty impressive, the only really new elements are a remix of the 1972 BBC show, and another remastering. As we suggested last year, finding a way to better the 1997 edition hasn’t been easy and overall there isn’t a vast amount you won’t already have in one form or another.
Deep Purple Machine Head 40th Anniversary 5 disc set

If we tackle the big Machine Head 5 disc box first, that will hopefully cover most things. When A Blind Man Cries is included with the album on all versions and there are a couple of single edits tucked away on the 5.1 disc.


Self explanatory; how it improves on the 1997 edition we’ll have to see.
The one you already have.
The alternate quad mixes reduced to stereo (as on the 2003 SACD) albeit remastered.
CD4: IN CONCERT ’72 (2012 MIX)
A new mix done from the original 8 track tapes in its correct order, remixed at Abbey Road Studios.
Disc 5 Audio DVD: ‘MACHINE HEAD’ 4.1
This has the quad mix in true 4.1, plus three bonus remixes in 5.1, as well as the stereo version in 96/24 LPCM. In other words much the same as the original 2003 SACD edition (the eagle eyed will spot that discs 3 and 5 were combined on the original SACD).

The box set is just over CD size and has a 64 page book. If you want to know what Sebastian Vettel and Eddie Jordan think about the album, then this is the place to come. All the CDs have a purple tint to them and come in mini gatefold sleeves, each with a variation on the original cover, within the box itself. It all looks very swish and the price isn’t too bonkers for once either.
There is also a bog standard single CD with just the Machine Head 2012 remaster on as disc one of the box set. Which brings us onto the vinyl editions.

Remastered this year by Jon Astley at Abbey Road, pressed on audiophile 180gram heavyweight vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with lyric sheet. It includes a special bonus 7″ Never Before / When A Blind Man Cries single.

This looks like the one which lets the side down big time. A really awful cover for starter (though this may change before it hits the shops, let’s hope so), the new mix is not being made available as a stand-alone CD for those who’d might want it but don’t need the full box set. Then, despite being a double LP, the sales sheets say they couldn’t fit it all on and retain the original running order (the show ran for 70 minutes). So Lucille is left off and stuck out on a bonus 7″ disc. To this they have added the previously unissued soundcheck version of Maybe I’m A Leo on the flip. This is the ONLY place to get this rarity, the only really new music on any of the editions. Before we all get too stirred up, please remember it is very rough indeed – with Gillan singing just a few bits (to save his voice) – and mostly of interest only to the hard-core. The album itself is pressed on purple vinyl.

So in all a bit of a mixed bag but without the involvement of the band there was only so much which could be done.

All the formats can be pre-ordered at DTBonline store.

32 Responses to “Machine Head 40th Anniversary Edition”

  1. David Black Says:

    I’m glad i waited. Now issued as a single CD with the MIAL bonus track (which is actually quite good) and the new mix definitely adds something over the original. I have therefore saved myself £40!

  2. Ziya Celayiroglu Says:

    Simon (as you were the one who wrote the sleeve notes), in the 1992 double CD version of “In Concert”, it’s said as follows : “Happily with increased running time the full set can be included on this CD for the first time, and in the correct running order too.” If that was the correct order, why do they change it in the 40th anniversary? If not, why it was written like that back in 1992?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Back in 1992 when the BBC supplied EMI with the DAT tapes for the CD we were told that was the order. However the newly found multi-track was in a different order, and so they’ve gone with that on the new mix as being the most likely to be right.

  3. Christoph Says:

    The 1992 In Concert CD version sounds so different in comparison to this 2012 one, it is so upfront as if the concert took place in your living room (nice). This new mix has a real concert hall feel to it. I find such a difference in sound puzzling…
    Greetings and thanks for all great work over decades now!

  4. Ken Murray Says:

    How does the 2012 re-master differ from the 1997 one ?

    Is it any better or sound different ?

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’m trying to find time to have a proper undisturbed listen but seem to spend every waking moment on the Cal Jam book right now! Has anyone done a comparison?

    • Lee Says:

      Much better than the 1997 Remaster, which was too bass heavy at the expense of a lot of the Rhythm Guitar. This is most noticeable on Highway Star, Maybe I’m A Leo and Smoke On The Water on the new remastering, where you can really hear Blackmore’s chord work much more than before. The left and right channel separation is clearer on the 2012 version too. I even think it sounds better than the CD layer of 2003 SACD, which was my preferred listening version until this arrived. Nice one Jon Astley! No pointless remixes either, just the original album and When A Blind Man Cries. Only down side is the cardboard Mini LP Replica Sleeve which looks good but is a bit flimsy.

      • simon robinson Says:

        Thanks for this Lee. I’ve not had chance to compare myself yet but look forward to having a blast when things calm down.

  5. Ronnie Bellamy Says:

    Hi Simon. Will the double ’70/72 In Concert’ cds be remastered and released soon? I was playing them recently and noticed how quiet they are. Since they’ve done the ’72 gig I assume the 1970 one has been done also, or would that be too sensible for EMI?

    • simon robinson Says:

      The 1972 set was done because new masters were found. Those for 1970 have been erased. I guess they may sound a bit quiet compared to some newer CDs but I just tweak up the volume control a bit.

  6. peter chrisp Says:

    Simon, it’s a tough decision, as we know MH is an all time classic, (but) around the same time we had Paranoid, Dark Side Of The Moon, Led Zep 4 and Machine Head. You can only choose one for a desert island disc, which one? I remember buying the vinyl version, followed by a single CD disc, a box set that included the album, the 25th Anniversary CD edition, and now this deluxe edition! Disc 5, is it all in 5.1 or only a couple of tracks? Thanks, P.C.

  7. Aleksey Says:

    Soundcheck version of Maybe I’m A Leo – will it be on CD4 of the BOX SET?
    Or only on a bonus 7″ disc?

  8. jaro Says:

    The double LP back in the 80s was first; double CD 1997 was second. I have got third edition from 2005 mastered by Steve Hoffman, which sounds brillant. Forthcoming edition would be fourth…

    • simon robinson Says:

      Have heard good things about Steve’s work, and suggested this might be worth issuing as part of this new set but it hasn’t happened.

      • Javi Says:

        Yes, Mr. Hoffman usually does great work, but his BBC In Concert 1972 sounds awful. I know, I have it. The original EMI CD of In Concert sounds the best, first released in 1992.
        Incidentally, can we still expect the Made In Japan shows to be released in complete form?

  9. Bengt Johansson Says:

    Simon, do you know why EMI didn’t involve the band?

  10. skyscaper Says:

    Is this the 2nd or 3rd “official” version of In Concert?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Depends how you count ’em Sky. Double LP back in the 80s was first; double CD some time later was second, now this. So I’d say second version.

  11. jan hedelin Says:

    What about the rest of Didi’s Machine Head sessions photo’s – will we find them in booklet? Or will they been saved for the book Smoke On The Water? Perhaps a new edition of A Photographic Record?

    • simon robinson Says:

      From what he says, Didi is expecting a revised edition of his own photo book some time in 2013 and doesn’t want a rival book out before then. So some of his MH material will appear in mags and books but not a complete edition for now.

  12. Michiel Says:

    I love the album, but I have it four times already (LP, cd, remix, remaster). With the re-machine thing coming up there is no need for this nonsense. And who is Sebastian Vettel??

    • simon robinson Says:

      Current world champion formula one racing driver from Germany. That big country to the East of you!

  13. cja74 Says:

    Will their be any difference in the surround sound mix from the original SACD? Did Jon Astley do the CD 2012 remasters/remixes as well? Sorry but he butchered the Judas Priest remasters. Still I like this. In Concert was one of my first DP albums.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I don’t know on the surround sound, the sales info just says remastered, so I assume they have worked on what was previously done rather than start again. Pete Mew is credited on some of the work, he’s still at Abbey Road and did the original Quad mixes back in the 70s for many albums.

  14. Javi Says:

    “Before we all get too stirred up, please remember it is very rough indeed – and mostly of interest only to the hard-core.”
    Well, that’s just what we are, aren’t we? He he. I guess a copy of that 7″ will be my Machine Head celebration. That soundcheck is the only item worth seeking in this whole reissue campaign.
    As for the box… YAWN.
    Thanks a lot for all the info, as always.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I just didn’t want anyone diving into the album packaging, tearing off the shrinkwrap, pulling out the 7″, dusting off the record deck and then being a bit let-down! They don’t come much nuttier than me over archive audio but even I only played it once.

  15. purpledaniel Says:

    Simon…do you mean the unreleased Maybe I´m A Leo is not available in the 5cd set? If so, could you contact EMI and tell them to include it? What´s the point in buying a 5CD set if the only non released piece of music is not on it?

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’ve not been involved on this one in any way Daniel (though what’s the betting all the memorabilia images I did for the 1997 release turn up here uncredited and unpaid for!), so suspect any suggestions at this late stage would be redundant. We’ve got a sweepstake on at DTB Towers; I reckon they must be going to do a proper cover for In Concert and that’s just a mock up in the photo; Ann reckons it’s the finished item. The loser is on coffee duty for a week.

      • Simon Stopher Says:

        Can I be the first person to say that I think this box set is a really nice thing to have, but then it was bought for me as a present!

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