Jon Lord

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Jon Lord
Jon2 sunflower 2007.JPG
Lord, on stage for The Sunflower Jam, in 2007
Background information
Birth nameJohn Douglas Lord
Born(1941-06-09)9 June 1941
Leicester, England
Died16 July 2012(2012-07-16) (aged 71)
London, England
Genres Rock, hard rock, heavy metal , blues rock , progressive rock , classical, jazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsKeyboards
Years active1956-2012
Labels Purple, EMI, Harvest
Associated acts Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, The Flower Pot Men, Anni-Frid Lyngstad

John Douglas “Jon” Lord (9 June 1941 16 July 2012) [1] was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men. In 1968, Lord co-founded Deep Purple, a hard rock band of which he was regarded as the leader until 1970. Together with the other members, he collaborated on most of his band's most popular songs. He and drummer Ian Paice were the only continuous presence in the band during the period from 1968 to 1976, and also from when it was reestablished in 1984 until Lord's retirement from Deep Purple in 2002. On 11 November 2010, he was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of Stevenson College in Edinburgh, Scotland. On 15 July 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree at De Montfort Hall by the University of Leicester. Lord was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 8 April 2016 as a member of Deep Purple. [2]

Hammond organ electric organ

The Hammond organ is an electric organ, invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and first manufactured in 1935. Various models have been produced, most of which use sliding drawbars to specify a variety of sounds. Until 1975, Hammond organs generated sound by creating an electric current from rotating a metal tonewheel near an electromagnetic pickup, and then strengthening the signal with an amplifier so it can drive a speaker cabinet. Around two million Hammond organs have been manufactured. The organ is commonly used with, and associated with, the Leslie speaker.

Baroque music style of Western art music

Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, and was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Johann Pachelbel.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.

Contents

Early life

Growing up in Leicester

Lord was born in Leicester on 9 June 1941 to Miriam (1909–1997; née Hudson) and Reginald Lord, growing up at 120 Averill Road [3] and retaining a strong bond with the city throughout his life. His father was an amateur saxophonist and encouraged Lord from an early age. He studied classical piano from the age of five, with a local teacher, Frederick Allt, and this focus on a classical grounding to his material was a recurring trademark in his work, both in composition, arranging and his instrumental solos on piano, organ and electronic keyboards. In particular his influences ranged from Johann Sebastian Bach (a constant connection in his music and his keyboard improvisation) to Medieval popular music and the English tradition of Edward Elgar. He attended Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys between 1952 and 1958 where he gained O Level passes in French, music and mathematics, participated in amateur dramatics and the school choir alongside his organ and piano studies and then worked as a clerk in a solicitor's office for two years. [4]

Leicester City and unitary authority area in England

Leicester is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National Forest.

Johann Sebastian Bach German composer and musician of the Baroque era

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Edward Elgar English composer

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Lord absorbed the blues sounds that played a key part in his rock career, principally the raw sounds of the great American blues organists Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and "Brother" Jack McDuff ("Rock Candy"), as well as the stage showmanship of Jerry Lee Lewis and performers like Buddy Holly, whom he saw perform at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester in March 1958. [5] The jazz-blues organ style of black R&B organ players in the 1950s and 1960s, using the trademark blues-organ sound of the Hammond organ (B3 and C3 models) and combining it with the Leslie speaker system (the well-known Hammond-Leslie speaker combination), were seminal influences on Lord. Lord also stated that he was heavily influenced by the organ-based progressive rock played by Vanilla Fudge after seeing that band perform in Great Britain in 1967, and earlier by the personal direction he received from British organ pioneer Graham Bond. [6]

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals, and the folk music of white Americans of European heritage. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds or fifths flattened in pitch, are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Jimmy Smith (musician) jazz musician

James Oscar Smith was an American jazz musician whose albums often charted on Billboard magazine. He helped popularize the Hammond B-3 organ, creating a link between jazz and 1960s soul music.

Jimmy McGriff American organist

James Harrell McGriff was an American hard bop and soul-jazz organist and organ trio bandleader.

Move to London

Lord moved to London in 1959–60, intent on an acting career and enrolling at the Central School of Speech and Drama, in London's Swiss Cottage. Following a celebrated student rebellion he became a founder of Drama Centre London, from where he graduated in 1964. Small acting parts followed, including in the British TV series, Emergency - Ward 10 and Lord continued playing the piano and the organ in nightclubs and as a session musician to earn a living. He started his band career in London in 1960 with the jazz ensemble The Bill Ashton Combo. Ashton became a key figure in jazz education in Britain, creating what later became the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Between 1960 and 1963, Lord and Ashton both moved on to Red Bludd's Bluesicians (also known as The Don Wilson Quartet), the latter of which featured the singer Arthur "Art" Wood, brother of guitarist Ronnie Wood. Wood had previously sung with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and was a junior figure in the British blues movement. In this period, Lord altered the spelling of his name from his birth name "John" to "Jon" and his session credits included playing the keyboards in "You Really Got Me", The Kinks number one hit of 1964 however in a Guitar World interview Ray Davies of The Kinks stated it was actually Arthur Greenslade playing piano on that particular track. [7]

Swiss Cottage district of the London Borough of Camden in London

Swiss Cottage is a district of the London Borough of Camden in England. It is part of Hampstead and is centred on the junction of Avenue Road and Finchley Road, at the tripoint of the postcodes of Hampstead NW3, Kilburn/West Hampstead NW6 and St Johns Wood NW8. Swiss Cottage is 3.25 miles (5.23 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross. It is the location of Swiss Cottage tube station.

Drama Centre London is a British drama school in King's Cross, London, where it recently moved after a major reshaping of the university. The school is part of Central Saint Martins, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London and is a member of Drama UK. The BA (Hons) and MA Acting courses, offered by the school, are accredited by Drama UK.

Nightclub entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night

A nightclub, music club or club, is an entertainment venue and bar that usually operates late into the night. A nightclub is generally distinguished from regular bars, pubs or taverns by the inclusion of a stage for live music, one or more dance floor areas and a DJ booth, where a DJ plays recorded music. The upmarket nature of nightclubs can be seen in the inclusion of VIP areas in some nightclubs, for celebrities and their guests. Nightclubs are much more likely than pubs or sports bars to use bouncers to screen prospective clubgoers for entry. Some nightclub bouncers do not admit people with informal clothing or gang apparel as part of a dress code. The busiest nights for a nightclub are Friday and Saturday night. Most clubs or club nights cater to certain music genres, such as house music or hip hop.

Following the break-up of Redd Bludd's Bluesicians in late 1963, Wood, Lord, and the drummer Red Dunnage put together a new band, The Art Wood Combo. This also included Derek Griffiths (guitar) and Malcolm Pool (bass guitar). Dunnage left in December 1964 to be replaced by Keef Hartley, who had previously replaced Ringo Starr in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. This band, later known as "The Artwoods", focused on the organ as the bluesy, rhythmic core of their sound, in common with the contemporary bands The Spencer Davis Group (Steve Winwood on organ) and The Animals (with Alan Price). They made appearances on the BBC's Saturday Club radio show and on such TV programs as Ready Steady Go! . It also performed abroad, and it appeared on the first Ready Steady Goes Live, promoting its first single the Lead Belly song "Sweet Mary" — but significant commercial success eluded it. Its only charting single was "I Take What I Want", which reached number 28 on 8 May 1966.

Keith "Keef" Hartley was an English drummer and bandleader. He fronted his own eponymous band, known as the Keef Hartley Band or Keef Hartley's Big Band, and played at Woodstock. He was later a member of Dog Soldier, and variously worked with Rory Storm, The Artwoods and John Mayall.

Ringo Starr British musician, drummer of the Beatles

Sir Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals, usually for one song on an album, including "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine", "Good Night", and their cover of "Act Naturally". He also wrote the Beatles' songs "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden", and is credited as a co-writer of others, including "What Goes On" and "Flying".

Rory Storm musician and vocalist from United Kingdom

Rory Storm was an English musician and vocalist. Born Alan Ernest Caldwell in Liverpool, Storm was the singer and leader of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, a Liverpudlian band who were contemporaries of the Beatles in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ringo Starr was the drummer for the Hurricanes before joining the Beatles in August 1962, replacing original drummer Pete Best.

This band regrouped in 1967 as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre". This was an attempt to cash in on the 1930s gangster craze set off by the American film Bonnie and Clyde. Hartley left the band in 1967 to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Lord next founded the "Santa Barbera Machine Head", featuring Art's brother, Ronnie Wood, writing and recording three powerful keyboard-driven instrumental tracks, giving a preview of the future style of Deep Purple. Soon thereafter, Lord went on to cover for the keyboard player Billy Day in "The Flower Pot Men", where he met the bass guitarist Nick Simper along with drummer Carlo Little and guitarist Ged Peck. Lord and Simper then toured with this band in 1967 to promote its hit single "Let's Go To San Francisco", but the two men never recorded with this band.[ citation needed ]

<i>Bonnie and Clyde</i> (film) 1967 American biographical crime film directed by Arthur Penn

Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical crime film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film features Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons, with Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder, Evans Evans, and Mabel Cavitt in supporting roles. The screenplay was written by David Newman and Robert Benton. Robert Towne and Beatty provided uncredited contributions to the script; Beatty also produced the film. The soundtrack was composed by Charles Strouse.

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers English blues band

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers was an English blues rock band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. While never producing a radio-friendly hit on their own, the Bluesbreakers' greatest legacy is as an incubator for British rock and blues musicians. Many of the best known bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s had members that came through the Bluesbreakers at one time, forming the foundation of British blues music that still appears heavily in classic rock radio. Among those with a tenure in the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, Mick Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, and numerous other musicians.

Santa Barbera Machine Head were a short-lived British electric blues combo that formed and disbanded in 1967. They recorded three instrumental songs together for Immediate Records; "Albert", "Porcupine Juice" and "Rubber Monkey", written by Jon Lord and Gus Dudgeon, released in 1968 on the compilation album Blues Anytime Vol. 3. All four members later went on to achieve success and notoriety with other bands.

Formation of Deep Purple

In early 1967, through his roommate Chris Curtis of the Searchers, Lord met businessman Tony Edwards who was looking to invest in the music business alongside partners Ron Hire and John Coletta (HEC Enterprises). Session guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was called in and he met Lord for the first time, but Chris Curtis's erratic behaviour led the trio nowhere. Edwards was impressed enough by Jon Lord to ask him to form a band after Curtis faded out. Simper was contacted, and Blackmore was recalled from Hamburg. Although top British player Bobbie Clarke was the first choice as drummer, during the auditions for a singer, Rod Evans of "The Maze" came in with his own drummer, Ian Paice. Blackmore, who had been impressed by Paice's drumming when he met him in 1967, set up an audition for Paice as well. The band was called the "Roundabout" at first and began rehearsals at Deeves Hall in Hertfordshire. By March 1968, this became the "Mark 1" line-up of "Deep Purple": Lord, Simper, Blackmore, Paice, and Evans. Lord also helped form the band "Boz" with some of its recordings being produced by Derek Lawrence. "Boz" included Boz Burrell (later of King Crimson and Bad Company), Blackmore (guitarist), Paice (drummer), Chas Hodges (bass guitarist).[ citation needed ]

Deep Purple

1968–1970

It was in these three years that Lord's trademark keyboard sound emerged. Ignoring the emergence of the Moog synthesizer, as pioneered in rock by such players as Keith Emerson, Lord began experimenting with a keyboard sound produced by driving the Hammond organ through Marshall speakers in an effort to match the attack and volume of Blackmore's guitar. Lord's version was heavier than a blues sound, and it often featured distortion and a far harder, industrial type sound that became the trademark Jon Lord organ sound, admired by fans and peers alike but rarely replicated. Both Emerson and Rick Wakeman publicly expressed admiration for Lord's mould-breaking work on the organ. This delivered a rhythmic foundation to complement Blackmore's speed and virtuosity on lead guitar. Lord also loved the sound of an RMI 368 Electra-Piano and Harpsichord, which he used on such songs as "Demon's Eye" and "Space Truckin'".

In 1973 Lord's original Hammond C3 gave out and he bought another from Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. Also around this time, Lord and his keyboard technician, Mike Phillips, combined his Hammond C3 Organ with the RMI. Lord kept this particular Hammond C3 until his retirement from the band in 2002, when he passed it to successor Don Airey. That instrument was retired from stage use a few years later, as it had become "pretty knackered" according to Airey. [8]

Lord pushed the Hammond-Leslie sound through Marshall amplification, creating a growling, heavy, mechanical sound which allowed Lord to compete with Blackmore as a soloist, with an organ that sounded as prominent as the lead guitar. Said one reviewer, "many have tried to imitate [Lord's] style, and all failed." [9] Said Lord himself, "There's a way of playing a Hammond [that's] different. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that you can play a Hammond with a piano technique. Well, you can, but it sounds like you are playing a Hammond with a piano technique. Really, you have to learn how to play an organ. It's a legato technique; it's a technique to achieve legato on a non-legato instrument." [10]

In early Deep Purple recordings, Lord had appeared to be the leader of the band. [11] Despite the cover songs "Hush" and "Kentucky Woman" becoming hits in North America, Deep Purple never made chart success in the UK until the Concerto for Group and Orchestra album (1970). Lord's willingness later to play many of the key rhythm parts gave Blackmore the freedom to let loose both live and on record.

On Deep Purple's second and third albums, Lord began indulging his ambition to fuse rock with classical music. An early example of this is the song "Anthem" from the album The Book of Taliesyn (1968), but a more prominent example is the song "April" from the band's self-titled third album (1969). The song is recorded in three parts: 1. Lord and Blackmore only, on keyboards and acoustic guitar, respectively; 2. an orchestral arrangement complete with strings; and 3. the full rock band with vocals. Lord's ambition enhanced his reputation among fellow musicians, but caused tension within the group. Simper later said, "The reason the music lacked direction was Jon Lord fucked everything up with his classical ideas." [12] Blackmore agreed to go along with Lord's experimentation, provided he was given his head on the next band album. [9]

The resulting Concerto For Group and Orchestra (in 1969) was one of rock's earliest attempts to fuse two distinct musical idioms. Performed live at the Royal Albert Hall on 24 September 1969 (with new band members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, Evans and Simper having been fired), it was recorded by the BBC and later released as an album. The Concerto gave Deep Purple its first highly publicised taste of mainstream fame and gave Lord the confidence to believe that his experiment and his compositional skill had a future, as well as giving Lord the opportunity to work with established classical figures, such as conductor Sir Malcolm Arnold, who brought his skills to bear by helping Lord realise the work and to protect him from the inevitable disdain of the older members of the orchestra.[ citation needed ]

1970–1976

Lord with Deep Purple on tour at the Niedersachsenhalle, Hanover, Germany, 1970 Deep Purple, John Lord 1970.jpg
Lord with Deep Purple on tour at the Niedersachsenhalle, Hanover, Germany, 1970

Purple began work on Deep Purple in Rock, released by their new label Harvest in 1970 and now recognised as one of hard rock's key early works. Lord and Blackmore competed to out-dazzle each other, often in classical-style, midsection 'call and answer' improvisation (on tracks like "Speed King"), something they employed to great effect live. Ian Gillan said that Lord provided the idea on the main organ riff for "Child in Time" although the riff was also based on It's a Beautiful Day's 1969 psychedelic hit song "Bombay Calling". [13] Lord's experimental solo on "Hard Lovin' Man" (complete with police-siren interpolation) from this album was his personal favourite among his Deep Purple studio performances.

Deep Purple released another six studio albums between 1971 ( Fireball ) and 1975 ( Come Taste the Band ). Gillan and Glover left in 1973 and Blackmore in 1975, and the band disintegrated in 1976. The highlights of Lord's Purple work in the period include the 1972 album Machine Head (featuring his rhythmic underpinnings on "Smoke on the Water" and "Space Truckin'", plus the organ solos on "Highway Star", "Pictures of Home" and "Lazy"), the sonic bombast of the Made in Japan live album (1972), an extended, effect-laden solo on "Rat Bat Blue" from the Who Do We Think We Are album (1973), and his overall playing on the Burn album from 1974.

Roger Glover would later describe Lord as a true "Zen-archer soloist", someone whose best keyboard improvisation often came at the first attempt. Lord's strict reliance on the Hammond C3 organ sound, as opposed to the synthesizer experimentation of his contemporaries, places him firmly in the jazz-blues category as a band musician and far from the progressive-rock sound of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. Lord rarely ventured into the synthesizer territory on Purple albums, often limiting his experimentation to the use of the ring modulator with the Hammond, to give live performances on tracks like Space Truckin' a distinctive 'spacy' sound. Instances of his Deep Purple synthesizer use (he became an endorser of the ARP Oyssey) include "'A' 200", the final track from Burn, and "Love Child" on the Come Taste the Band album.

In early 1973 Lord stated: "We're as valid as anything by Beethoven." [14]

As a composer

Lord continued to focus on his classical aspirations alongside his Deep Purple career. The BBC, buoyed by the success of the Concerto, commissioned him to write another piece and the resulting "Gemini Suite" was performed by Deep Purple and the Light Music Society under Malcolm Arnold at the Royal Festival Hall in September 1970, and then in Munich with the Kammerorchester conducted by Eberhard Schoener in January 1972. It then became the basis for Lord's first solo album, Gemini Suite, released in November 1972, with vocals by Yvonne Elliman and Tony Ashton and with the London Symphony Orchestra backing a band that included Albert Lee on guitar.

Lord's collaboration with the highly experimental and supportive Schoener resulted in a second live performance of the Suite in late 1973 and a new Lord album with Schoener, entitled Windows, in 1974. It proved to be Lord's most experimental work and was released to mixed reactions. However, the dalliances with Bach on Windows and the pleasure of collaborating with Schoener resulted in perhaps Lord's most confident solo work and perhaps his strongest orchestral album, Sarabande, recorded in Germany in September 1975 with the Philharmonia Hungarica conducted by Schoener.

Composed of eight pieces (from the opening sweep of Fantasia to the Finale), at least five pieces form the typical construction of a baroque dance suite. The key pieces (Sarabande, Gigue, Bouree, Pavane and Caprice) feature rich orchestration complemented sometimes by the interpolation of rock themes, played by a session band comprising Pete York, Mark Nauseef and Andy Summers, with organ and synthesizers played by Lord.

In March 1974, Lord and Paice had collaborated with friend Tony Ashton on First of the Big Bands, credited to 'Tony Ashton & Jon Lord' and featuring a rich array of session talent, including Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, Peter Frampton and Pink Floyd saxophonist/sessioner, Dick Parry. They performed much of the set live at the London Palladium in September 1974.

This formed the basis of Lord's first post-Deep Purple project Paice Ashton Lord, which lasted only a year and spawned a single album, Malice in Wonderland in 1977, recorded at Musicland Studios at the Arabella Hotel in Munich. A second album was begun but subsequently abandoned. He created an informal group of friends and collaborators including Ashton, Paice, Bernie Marsden, Boz Burrell and later, Bad Company's Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke and others. Over the same period, Lord guested on albums by Maggie Bell, Nazareth and even folk artist Richard Digance. Eager to pay off a huge tax bill upon his return the UK in the late-1970s (Purple's excesses included their own tour jet and a home Lord rented in Malibu from actress Ann-Margret and where he wrote the Sarabande album), Lord joined former Deep Purple band member David Coverdale's new band, Whitesnake in August 1978 (Ian Paice joined them in 1980 and stayed till 1982).

Whitesnake, 1978–1984

Lord's job in Whitesnake was largely limited to adding colour (or, in his own words, a 'halo') to round out a blues-rock sound that already accommodated two lead guitarists, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody. He added a Yamaha CP-70 electric piano to his set-up and finally a huge bank of synthesizers onstage courtesy of Moog (Minimoog, Opus, Polymoog) so he could play the 12-bar blues the band often required and recreate string section and other effects. Such varied work is evident on tracks like "Here I Go Again", "Wine, Women and Song", "She's a Woman" and "Till the Day I Die". A number of singles entered the UK chart, taking the now 40-something Lord onto Top of the Pops with regularity between 1980 and 1983. He later expressed frustration that he was a poorly paid hired-hand, but fans saw little of this discord and Whitesnake's commercial success kept him at the forefront of readers' polls as heavy rock's foremost keyboard maestro. His dissatisfaction (and Coverdale's eagerness to revamp the band's line-up and lower the average age to help crack the US market) smoothed the way for the reformation of Deep Purple Mk II in 1984.

Jon Lord's last Whitesnake concert took place in the Swedish TV programme Måndagsbörsen on 16 April 1984.

During his tenure in Whitesnake, Lord had the opportunity to record two distinctly different solo albums. 1982s Before I Forget featured a largely conventional eight-song line-up, no orchestra and with the bulk of the songs being either mainstream rock tracks ("Hollywood Rock And Roll", "Chance on a Feeling"), or – specifically on side two – a series of very English classical piano ballads sung by mother and daughter duo, Vicki Brown and Sam Brown (wife and daughter of entertainer Joe Brown) and vocalist Elmer Gantry as well as piano and synthesiser instrumentals such as Burntwood, named after Lord's stately Oxfordshire home at the time. The album also boasted the cream of British rock talent, including session drummer (and National Youth Jazz Orchestra alumnus) Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Simon Kirke, Boz Burrell and Mick Ralphs.

Additionally, Lord was commissioned by producer Patrick Gamble for Central Television to write the soundtrack for their 1984 TV series, Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady , based on the book by Edith Holden, with an orchestra conducted by Alfred Ralston and with a distinctly gentle, pastoral series of themes composed by Lord. Lord became firmly established as a member of UK rock's "Oxfordshire mansion aristocracy" – with a home, Burntwood Hall, set in 23.5 acres (9.5 ha) at Goring-on-Thames, complete with its own cricket pitch and a hand-painted Challen baby grand piano, previously owned by Shirley Bassey. He was asked to guest on albums by friends George Harrison ( Gone Troppo from 1982) and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (1984's About Face ), Cozy Powell (Octopus in 1983) and to play on an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic, Wind in the Willows . He composed and produced the score for White Fire (1984), which consisted largely of two songs performed by Limelight. In 1985 he made a brief appearance as a member of The Singing Rebel's band (which also featured Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) in the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais-scripted film Water (1985) (Handmade Films).

In the 1980s he was also a member of an all-star band called Olympic Rock & Blues Circus fronted by Pete York and featuring a rotating line-up of the likes of Miller Anderson, Tony Ashton, Brian Auger, Zoot Money, Colin Hodgkinson, Chris Farlowe and many others. Olympic Rock & Blues Circus toured primarily in Germany between 1981 and 1989. Some musicians, including Lord, took part in York's TV musical extravaganza Superdrumming between 1987 and 1989.

Later work, 1984–2006

Lord's re-emergence with Deep Purple in 1984 resulted in huge audiences for the reformed Mk II line-up, including 1985s second largest grossing tour in the US and an appearance in front of 80,000 rain-soaked fans headlining Knebworth on 22 June 1985, all to support the Perfect Strangers album. Playing with a rejuvenated Mk. II Purple line-up (including spells at a health farm to get the band including Lord into shape) and being onstage and in the studio with Blackmore, gave Lord the chance to push himself once again. His 'rubato' classical opening sequence to the album's opener, "Knocking at Your Back Door" (complete with F-Minor to G polychordal harmony sequence), gave Lord the chance to do his most powerful work for years, including the song "Perfect Strangers". Further Deep Purple albums followed, often of varying quality, and by the late-1990s, Lord was clearly keen to explore new avenues for his musical career.

Lord performing for The Sunflower Jam, London, 2007 Jon sunflower 2007.JPG
Lord performing for The Sunflower Jam, London, 2007

In 1997, he created perhaps his most personal work to date, Pictured Within , released in 1998 with a European tour to support it. Lord's mother Miriam had died in August 1995 and the album is a deeply affecting piece, inflected at all stages by Lord's sense of grief. Recorded largely in Lord's home-away-from-home, the city of Cologne, the album's themes are Elgarian and alpine in equal measure. Lord signed to Virgin Classics to release it, and perhaps saw it as the first stage in his eventual departure from Purple to embark on a low-key and altogether more gentle solo career. One song from Pictured Within, entitled "Wait A While" was later covered by Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø on her 2003/2004 album My Heart. Lord finally retired from Deep Purple amicably in 2002, preceded by a knee injury that eventually resolved itself without surgery. He said subsequently, "Leaving Deep Purple was just as traumatic as I had always suspected it would be and more so – if you see what I mean". He even dedicated a song to it on 2004's solo effort, Beyond the Notes, called "De Profundis". The album was recorded in Bonn with producer Mario Argandoña  [ es ] between June and July 2004.

Tony Ashton (right) with Lord at a gig at the Hotel Post, March 1990 Tony jon1990.jpg
Tony Ashton (right) with Lord at a gig at the Hotel Post, March 1990

Pictured Within and Beyond the Notes provide the most personal work by Lord, and together, have what his earlier solo work perhaps lacks, a very clear musical voice that is quintessentially his. Together, both albums are uniquely crafted, mature pieces from a man in touch with himself and his spirituality. Lord slowly built a small, but distinct position and fan base for himself in Europe. He collaborated with former ABBA superstar and family friend, Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad,) on the 2004 track, "The Sun Will Shine Again" (with lyrics by Sam Brown) and performed with her across Europe. He subsequently also performed European concerts to première the 2007-scheduled Boom of the Tingling Strings orchestral piece.

In 2003 he also returned to his beloved R-n-B/blues heritage to record an album of standards in Sydney, with Australia's Jimmy Barnes, entitled Live in the Basement, by Jon Lord and the Hoochie Coochie Men, showing himself to be one of British rock music's most eclectic and talented instrumentalists. Lord was also happy to support the Sam Buxton Sunflower Jam Healing Trust and in September 2006, performed at a star-studded event to support the charity led by Ian Paice's wife, Jacky (twin sister of Lord's wife Vicky). Featured artists on stage with Lord included Paul Weller, Robert Plant, Phil Manzanera, Ian Paice and Bernie Marsden.

Final work, after 2006

Two Lord compositions, Boom of the Tingling Strings and "Disguises (Suite for String Orchestra)", were recorded in Denmark in 2006 and released in April 2008 on EMI Classics. Both featured the Odense Symfoniorkester, conducted by Paul Mann. Additionally, a second Hoochie Coochie Men album was recorded in July 2006 in London. This album, Danger – White Men Dancing, was released in October 2007. His Durham Concerto , commissioned by Durham University for its 175th anniversary celebrations, received its world premiere on 20 October 2007 in Durham Cathedral by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and featured soloists Lord on Hammond Organ, Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes, Matthew Barley on cello and Ruth Palmer on violin. [15] It became a hit in Classic FM's "Hall of Fame", alongside his piano concerto Boom of the Tingling Strings. [16]

Lord played piano on George Harrison's posthumously released Brainwashed album (2002) and became an important member of Harrison's social circle in Oxfordshire (Lord by now living at Hill House, in Fawley, Henley-On-Thames), the two having first met at Abbey Road studios in the late 1960s. [17] He was also a close friend of Sir John Mortimer, the English barrister, dramatist, screenwriter, author and creator of British television series Rumpole of the Bailey , whom he had accompanied on many occasions during Mortimer's performances of "Mortimer Miscellany." In 2007, Lord joined Derek Griffiths, Colin Martin and Malcolm Pool at an Artwoods reunion at the ART Tribute night, at York House in Twickenham. Ali Mackenzie took over Art Wood's role on vocals, and Chris Hunt played drums. They were joined on stage by guitarist Ronnie Wood and vocalist Geno Washington. Lord released his solo album To Notice Such Things on 29 March 2010. [18] Titled after the main work—a six movement suite for solo flute, piano and string orchestra—the album was inspired by, and was dedicated to the memory of Jon's dear friend John Mortimer, who died in January 2009. On its first day of release, the album entered Amazon's Movers And Shakers index, nestling at No. 12 at the end of the day. [19] Six days later it entered the UK's official classical chart at No. 4. [20] Lord had been commissioned to compose a concerto for Hammond organ and orchestra with special parts for tympani. The piece was to be premiered with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Tom Vissgren on tympani in Oslo, Norway in the Spring of 2012. With Vladimir Ashkenazy and Josef Suk, Lord was one of three artistic sponsors of Toccata Classics.

In July 2011, Lord performed his final live concert appearance, the Sunflower Jam at the Royal Albert Hall, where he premiered his joint composition with Rick Wakeman. [21] At that point, they had begun informal discussion on recording an album together. Up until 2011, Lord had also been working on material with recently formed rock supergroup WhoCares, also featuring singer Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, guitarist Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, second guitarist Mikko Lindström from HIM, bassist Jason Newsted formerly from Metallica and drummer Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden, specifically the composition "Out of My Mind," in addition to new compositions with Steve Balsamo and a Hammond Organ Concerto. [22] [23] Lord subsequently cancelled a performance of his Durham Concerto in Hagen, Germany, [24] for what his website said was a continuation of his medical treatment (the concert, scheduled for 6 July 2012, would have been his return to live performance after treatment). [25]

Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra was effectively recommissioned by him, recorded in Liverpool and at Abbey Road Studios across 2011 and under post-production in 2012 with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing, conducted by long-time collaborator, conductor Paul Mann. The recording was at completion at the time of Lord's death, with Lord having been able to review the final master recordings. The album and DVD were subsequently released in 2012.

Personal life

Lord's first marriage, from 1969 to 1981, was to Judith Feldman, with whom he had one daughter, Sara. Lord's second wife, Vickie Gibbs was a former girlfriend of Purple bandmate Glenn Hughes and twin sister of Ian Paice's wife, Jacky Paice (founder of the charity Sunflower Jam). The sisters' father was Frank Gibbs, owner of the Oakley House Country Club in Brewood, South Staffordshire. Jon and Vickie also had one daughter, Amy. [26]

In July 2011, Lord was found to be suffering from pancreatic cancer. After treatment in both England and in Israel, [27] he died on 16 July 2012 at the London Clinic after suffering from a pulmonary embolism. [28] [29] [30] [31] His interment was at the new churchyard of Saint Mary the Virgin Church in Hambleden.

Influence and legacy

Lars Ulrich, founding member and drummer in Metallica commented, "Ever since my father took me to see them in 1973 in Copenhagen, at the impressionable age of 9, Deep Purple has been the most constant, continuous and inspiring musical presence in my life. They have meant more to me than any other band in existence, and have had an enormous part in shaping who I am. We can all be guilty of lightly throwing adjectives like 'unique,' 'one-of-a-kind' and 'pioneering' around when we want to describe our heroes and the people who've moved us, but there are no more fitting words than those right now and there simply was no musician like Jon Lord in the history of hard rock. Nobody. Period. There was nobody that played like him. There was nobody that sounded like him. There was nobody that wrote like him. There was nobody that looked like him. There was nobody more articulate, gentlemanly, warm, or fucking cooler that ever played keyboards or got anywhere near a keyboard. What he did was all his own." [32]

Interviewed in 2012 for Blabbermouth.net, Motörhead frontman Lemmy said: "It's just a shame, because Jon Lord was, to a large extent, responsible for me being in rock and roll. He was in a band called the Artwoods years ago, with Ronnie Wood’s brother Arthur. They were sort of a jazz-blues band, I guess. They played at the place in Wales where I was living, this dingy little boozer, and I was talking to Jon and, like an idiot, he gave me his address in London. So, of course, I went down there and he wasn't there, but he was living at Art’s mother's house where Ronnie Wood who was in a band called The Birds was living and they let me crash on the couch.... I saw him late last year in a hotel in Germany in Cologne. He was over there doing some orchestral stuff, and we talked in the bar for awhile... I'm glad I saw him, since he's since departed." [33]

Former keyboard player of rock band Yes, Rick Wakeman, who was a friend of Lord's, said he was "a great fan" and added "We were going to write and record an album before he became ill. His contribution to music and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him terribly." In mid-2013, Wakeman presented a BBC One East Midlands-produced TV programme about Lord and his connection to the town of his birth. [34]

Singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad (ABBA), who described Jon Lord as her "dearest friend", paid him tribute at the 2013 edition of Zermatt Unplugged, the annual music festival which both he and she served as patrons. "He was graceful, intelligent, polite, with a strong integrity," she said. "(He) had a strong empathy and a great deal of humour for his own and other people's weaknesses." [35]

Keyboardist Keith Emerson said of Lord's death, "Jon left us now but his music and inspiration will live forever. I am deeply saddened by his departure." [36] In a later interview in November 2013, he added, "In the early years I remember being quite jealous of Jon Lord – may he rest in peace. In September 1969 I heard he was debuting his "Concerto For Group & Orchestra" at the Royal Albert Hall, with none other than Malcolm Arnold conducting. Wow! I had to go along and see that. Jon and I ribbed each other, we were pretty much pals, but I walked away and thought: 'Shit, in a couple of weeks' time I'm going to be recording The Nice's Five Bridges Suite ... not at the Albert Hall but at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon!' A much more prosaic venue. Later, Jon wanted me to play on his solo album, Gemini Suite , but that was around the time ELP were breaking big and we were touring. He was a lovely guy, a real gentleman." [37]

A concert tribute to Lord took place on 4 April 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall. Performers and presenters included Deep Purple, Bruce Dickinson, Alfie Boe, Jeremy Irons, Joe Brown, Glenn Hughes, Miller Anderson and Steve Balsamo.[ citation needed ]

In December 2012 the Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, joined the campaign to honour Lord with a blue plaque at his childhood home at 120 Averill Road, where he lived until he was twenty, saying it would be "an important reminder of the city's contribution to the world of contemporary music." [38]

Lord was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple in April 2016. [39]

Discography

Related Research Articles

<i>Concerto for Group and Orchestra</i> live album

The Concerto for Group and Orchestra is a concerto composed by Jon Lord, with lyrics written by Ian Gillan. It was first performed by Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold on 24 September 1969 and released on vinyl in December 1969. After the score was lost in 1970, it was performed again in 1999 with a recreated score. The 1969 performance was the first ever combination of rock music and a complete orchestra and paved the way for other rock/orchestra performances such as Metallica's S&M concert and Roger Waters's The Wall – Live in Berlin performance.

<i>Shades of Deep Purple</i> album

Shades of Deep Purple is the debut studio album by the English rock band Deep Purple, released in July 1968 on Tetragrammaton in the United States and in September 1968 on Parlophone in the United Kingdom. The band, initially called Roundabout, was the idea of former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, who recruited Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore before leaving the project. The Mk. I line-up of the band was completed by vocalist/frontman Rod Evans, along with bassist Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice, in March 1968.

<i>Deep Purple</i> (Deep Purple album) album by Deep Purple

Deep Purple, also referred to as Deep Purple III, is the third studio album by the English rock band Deep Purple, released in June 1969 on Tetragrammaton Records in the United States and only in September 1969 on Harvest Records in the United Kingdom. Its release was preceded by the single "Emmaretta" and by a long tour in the UK, whose dates were interspersed between the album's recording sessions.

<i>Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple</i> compilation album by Deep Purple

Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple is a compilation album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple, released in 1980 on LP. It features the original hits of Deep Purple before their 1984 reunion. Aided by a TV advertising campaign it would become Purple's third UK No. 1 album. In 1984 this compilation additionally was published on CD.

<i>Gemini Suite Live</i> 1993 live album by Deep Purple

Gemini Suite Live is a recording of Jon Lord's classical/rock piece Gemini Suite featuring the original Mark II band lineup of Deep Purple, recorded live during this one and only live performance in 1970. A follow up to their "Concerto" Project, it featured five movements for the individual members of the band, including a guitar piece from Blackmore.

<i>Listen, Learn, Read On</i> compilation album

Listen, Learn, Read On is a box set released by the British hard rock band Deep Purple in 2002.

Fireball (Deep Purple song) opening song of the album of the same name by the English rock band Deep Purple

"Fireball" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple, from the album of the same name. It was Deep Purple's second single release in 1971, and peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles chart. It is one of several songs based on Ian Gillan's real life experiences: "She was a complete mystery to me. This is another tale of unrequited love", he explained.

"Mandrake Root" is a song by Deep Purple that is featured on their debut album Shades of Deep Purple. The title is in reference to the mandrake plant, but is also the name of a pre-Purple band that Blackmore was trying to form in Germany when he got the call from Deep Purple's original management.

<i>Days May Come and Days May Go</i> compilation album by Deep Purple

Days May Come and Days May Go is a compilation album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple, released in 2000.

<i>The Anthology</i> (Deep Purple album) compilation album by Deep Purple

The Anthology is a compilation album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple, containing material by Mks I (1968-1969), II (1970–73), III (1974–75) and IV (1975–76) line-ups. It was released as a double vinyl album and double-cassette, and included a few previously-unreleased tracks and mixes. The sleeve-notes were written by Chris Charlesworth, author of Deep Purple - The Illustrated Biography.

<i>The Deep Purple Singles As and Bs</i> album

The Deep Purple Singles A's & B's is a compilation album of singles released by the British hard rock band Deep Purple. It was released on vinyl in October 1978. An updated version of the album was issued on CD in 1993 and contains the complete collection of Deep Purple's UK singles, recorded and released from 1968 to 1976 by the Mk I, II, III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple. In 2010 EMI released another double CD compilation album called Singles & E.P. Anthology '68 - '80. It contains all songs as herein plus 15 tracks. The song "Kentucky Woman" is present in the album version, which is 38 seconds longer than the single edit.

<i>Purple Passages</i> compilation album

Purple Passages is a 1972 United States-only double-LP compilation album by Deep Purple featuring material originally released in 1968 and 1969 on the Tetragrammaton label. It features classics such as "Hush" and "Kentucky Woman". It was issued in Japan on compact disc in 1993.

<i>The Early Years</i> (Deep Purple album) compilation album by Deep Purple

The Early Years is a 2004 compilation album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple. This is a compilation of material released in 1968 and 1969 and includes unreleased mixes and new mixes of tracks from the same period.

<i>Powerhouse</i> (Deep Purple album) Deep Purple album

Powerhouse is a 1977 compilation album by Deep Purple, featuring previously unreleased live and studio tracks from the band's Mark II line-up at the height of its powers. The album achieved Gold Certification in Japan.

<i>Deep Purple in Rock</i> album

Deep Purple in Rock is the fourth studio album by English rock band Deep Purple, released in June 1970. It was the first studio album recorded by the Mark II line-up of Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

The Deep Purple European Tour was a year-long successful concert tour by British hard rock band Deep Purple, lasting from July 1969 until June 1970. The band played mostly United Kingdom shows, also covering Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. It was the first tour to feature the classic Deep Purple line-up: Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paice. It is considered to be the pre-tour for the In Rock album, as the band mostly played songs from the upcoming album.

<i>Mark I & II</i> compilation album by Deep Purple

Mark I & II is a 1973 UK only compilation album by Deep Purple. It contains material originally released between 1968 and 1973. This double LP was released after Ian Gillan had left Deep Purple in June 1973.

<i>BBC Sessions 1968–1970</i> album by Deep Purple

BBC Sessions 1968–1970 is a 2011 live compilation album featuring performances by the British hard rock band Deep Purple that were recorded at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios, London, and originally broadcast on various BBC Radio shows from 1968 through 1970. BBC Sessions 1968–1970 is a two-disc set collecting all the surviving sessions in the BBC archives.

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Further reading