Music: Listen to a stream of Deep Purple’s remastered Machine Head album
Deep Purple’s mighty Machine Head is 40 years old this year. To coincide with the anniversary, EMI are releasing a deluxe box-set edition of the legendary album on October 15. We’ve got an exclusive stream of the remastered – and revitalised – Machine Head in its entirety.
Contents of the box set include:
CD1: original album 2012 remaster.
CD2: 1997 remix by Roger Glover.
CD3: original album quad SQ mix in stereo (2012 remaster).
CD4: In Concert ’72 – 2012 remix (recorded live at Paris Theatre, London, March 9, 1972).
CD5: 2012 high-resolution remaster and surround mix (DVD).
Detailed essay from bassist Roger Glover.
Quotations from Deep Purple fans Mikael Akerfelt, Luke Morley, Sebastian Vettel, Eddie Jordan, Brian Tatler, Janick Gers and Peter Hook.
An interview with famed photographer Didi Zill, whose photos of the legendary recording sessions in Switzerland illustrate the booklet.
Before you listen to our exclusive stream of Machine Head (note: it will only be available on this website for 24 hours) here are some things you may not know about the album…
What was Pony Trekker? Who was Johnny Burnette? Which song’s original title
was One Just Before Midnight? Your track-by-track guide to Machine Head. By Neil Jeffries
Highway Star was the second song written for Machine Head, supposedly beginning life on a coach hired to take the band and journalists to the Portsmouth Guildhall on September 13, 1971 – the first show of an autumn UK tour. It started as Ritchie Blackmore’s answer to a journo asking how the band wrote songs. “Like this…” he replied, guitar in hand, as Ian Gillan joined in with some ad-libbed words about being on the road. They developed this at the soundcheck and it debuted, still as a work-in-progress, that very night. Blackmore later said his solo on the record is based on a run taught to him 10 years earlier by American rockabilly guitarist Johnny Burnette (who had the first hit with Tiny Bradshaw’s Train Kept A-Rollin’ and wrote You’re Sixteen, as later covered by Ringo Starr), suggesting they met when Blackmore was a starry-eyed teenager checking out Johnny’s first UK tour in 1962.
Maybe I’m A Leo
Maybe I’m A Leo began life as a blues riff titled One Just Before Midnight. The subsequent title is a line from Ian Gillan’s lyric about a lost love in which he quotes his star sign. Maybe I’m A Leo was played live as part of a BBC Radio’s Sounds Of The Seventies broadcast recorded at London Paris Theatre on March 9, 1972. It was a rare public performance of the song by the group – although Van Halen used to cover it in concert before they landed a record deal.
Pictures Of Home
Like Maybe I’m A Leo, the band didn’t think Pictures Of Home was strong enough to earn a place in their set and it remained the only Machine Head song not played live on the tour (although it has since been reintroduced by the Mark IX line-up featuring guitarist Steve Morse in the 1990s).
Although not conceived as such, the band soon believed – as they were all waking up with the tune in their heads – that Never Before would become a major hit single. On March 18, 1972, it became the first ever release on the newly formed Purple Records imprint, but rose no higher than 35 in an unspectacular six-week run in the chart.
Smoke On The Water
A classic rock song that works not only because of ‘That Riff’ but due to an entirely factual Gillan lyric drafted on a napkin in the Europe Hotel restaurant, from where Purple enjoyed a spectacular view as the Casino blaze took hold and the wind off the Swiss mountains pushed the smoke on to Lake Geneva. The verses do, though, omit an unsubstantiated rumour that as the fire began, Claude Nobs had to go looking for Blackmore who had adjourned to an empty room with a young lady. And they also fail to mention that the track began life in The Pavilion – an art nouveau theatre in the middle of the town. Glover has recalled that before the lyrics were written the song was known only as Title #1 (although Blackmore, perhaps mischievously, has suggested its working title was Durh Durh Durh).
Lazy was the first song written for the album, worked up from a jam during rehearsals for the autumn 1971 UK tour. Glover recalls the swinging rhythm was based on a song called Sleep by American singer Oscar Brown Jr. Like Highway Star, Lazy was played live for the first time in Portsmouth on September 13, 1971. Blackmore’s solo was inspired by Eric Clapton’s in the James Bracken song Steppin’ Out as recorded with John Mayall on the Blues Breakers album and also played live most nights by Cream.
A classic good-time album closer, with lyrics painting 70s partying in shades of the contemporary NASA Apollo missions, Space Truckin’ comfortably accommodates naming a girl Borealice in a corruption of the correct name for the Northern Lights, the aurora borealis. Although the true identity of Pony Trekker remains a mystery we do know that Ian Paice’s drum break after the third verse was inspired by Brian ‘Blinky’ Davison on The Nice’s 1968 hit single version of Leonard Bernstein’s America. On tours following Machine Head’s release Space Truckin’ grew to a 20-minute set finale interpolating solo slots previously worked up within the live version of the Mark I line-up’s Mandrake Root.
When A Blind Man Cries
The non-album B-side of Never Before is much loved by Gillan – and Purple aficionados – but in 1972 Blackmore was less moved by it, arguing that it broke the mood of the rest of the album and so it was left off. Its lyric also alludes to the time spent making the album: “Had a friend once in a room/Had a good time but it ended much too soon/In a cold month in that room/We found a reason for the things we had to do.”