Deep Purple: Hard Rock with a Mild Mannered Name
How many hard rock bands have been named after the title of a song which came before? Probably hundreds. It’s the ultimate fan tribute, and immediately labels a band by style and musical influence. Deep Purple, on the other hand, was named after a song, but the resemblance to its namesake well and truly ends there.
Deep Purple knows how to rock hard, and loud. Very loud. The band was listed as ‘Loudest Pop Group’ in the 1975 edition of the Guinness Book of Records with this citation:
The amplification for Deep Purple on their 10,000 watt Marshall P.A. system attains 117 decibels. This was sufficient in the Rainbow Theatre, London, in 1972, to render three members of their audience unconscious.
117 decibels is comparable to the magnitude of noise produced by a sandblaster or an emergency siren. Rock concerts have become louder since 1972. But Deep Purple’s reputation lives on.
Not that you’d know it from the origins of the band’s name. Originally formed as Roundabout, the band adopted Deep Purple as a name at the suggestion of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. The book Rock Formations: Categorical Answers to How Bands Got Their Names states that the name came from an early 1960s song by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, which was a favourite song of Blackmore’s grandmother. A lovely gesture, but not very rock ‘n’ roll!
If you watch the video you’ll see what a departure the original song is from the hard rock territory that Deep Purple are part of. But in its early days the band had more of a progressive rock style and only began branching out into hard rock after a couple of years of touring and recording.
If you’re not familiar with Deep Purple, check out one of their better known songs here: