Classic Rock backs Jon Lord memorial campaign
Classic Rock is backing a campaign to have Jon Lord commemorated in his home city of Leicester.
The Deep Purple keyboard icon died in July at the age of 71 after a cancer battle.
Now it’s hoped the Heritage Foundation will agree to place a blue plaque at 120 Averill Road, where he spent the first 20 years of his life.
The Leicester Mercury reports: “It was in this house that Jon Lord took his first steps, learned to play the piano, tuned into Radio Luxembourg and had his head turned by rock’n'roll.
“It’s more than 50 years since he called 120 Averill Road his home. He spent more time away from Leicester than he did living there. But he was fiercely proud of his roots and regularly acknowledged the dept he owed to his home city.”
Lord’s brother Steve took piano lessons alongside his sibling. He says: “I had exactly the same chances that Jon had, except Jon was good and I wasn’t. He just got it. he was a brilliant pianist.”
Brian Wood grew up with the future icon on Averill Road, and remains there to this day. He recalls: “We had games of cricket and football in the street, and we used to paddle in the brook that runs under the road. He was a great lad.
“My mum had a piano and Jon would come round and we’d plink-plonk away. I remember him leaving for London, then a few years later, his mum telling my mum he’d joined a group called Deep Purple and they were starting to have some success.
“He used to come back quite often, and each time he seemed to have a bigger car. I was always pleased for him. Success couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
The blue plaque campaign has secured the backing of Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who says: “It’s an excellent idea. It would help to serve as an important reminder of the city’s contribution to the world of contemporary music.”
Lord’s manner Tarquin Gotch recalls: “Both Jon and I were Leicester City fans. We’d look out for their results when he was on tour. I think a plaque at Jon’s childhood home is a really lovely idea.”
Purple archivist Simon Robinson says: “I think Jon would be most pleased to see it there as a thank-you to his mother and father, who worked hard to give him a good start in life, and who were proud of his success.”
Simran Dhillon, the eldest daughter of the family who now owns Lord’s home, says: “it would be nice to commemor- ate that with a plaque at his original house. It is a real privilege to live in the same house he did.”
Classic Rock Editor In Chief Scott Rowley comments: “Jon was not only a consummate musician, he was a gentleman. He was always grounded, decent and well-liked. A blue plaque would be a fitting way of commemorating Jon and his roots in Leicester.”