Lord was our godfather says Gillan
Members of Deep Purple have paid tribute to keyboardist Jon Lord, who died on Monday, with singer Ian Gillan calling him the godfather of the band.
Gillan, a colleague since 1969, says: “He was just an amazing character – the godfather of Deep Purple. We all looked up to him with tremendous admiration.
“If there was such a thing as a typical English gentleman in rock music, it was Jon Lord. We’ve all been touched by him one way or another. I could speak for hours about what he’s given us. We shall carry his memory forward, and his music.”
Bassist Roger Glover adds: “It’s unthinkable that Jon is gone. A great sadness and sense of loss hangs over me. Not only has the music world lost a fantastic musician, but a gentleman of the finest order. He was a giant in my life – a great friend, a fellow traveller, a teacher not only of music, but of life. I am devastated at his passing.”
Original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore comments: “Jon was not only a great musician, he was my favourite dinner companion. We knew he was sick but the word was that he was recovering and doing much better. Without Jon there would be no Deep Purple. He lives on in our hearts and memories.”
Guitarist Steve Morse, who joined the band in 1994, says: “Jon was the guy who’d stop us from giving up on an idea songwriting because it wasn’t immediately obvious. He had the imagination to hear ideas on top of anything I suggested. His humour was right up my alley – ridiculous thoughts like, ‘If Brenda Lee married Tommy Lee her new name would be Brenda Lee,’ or having him finish the tune when an airport announcement started with musical notes.
“Jon retired from the endless Deep Purple tour schedule, but continued to do appearances with original material and performances of his concerto. I know he missed the band he helped start, but at the same time he couldn’t stand the relentless travel.
“His sudden death caught me totally unaware. I thought we would meet and do a recording project when he recovered from chemotherapy.
“If you have friends, family, especially kids, don’t ever miss a chance to do or say something special, or simply appreciate the fact they are there. One day, they won’t be.”
Black Sabbath icon Tony Iommi, who’s fighting cancer himself and recently worked with Lord, says: “Jon was not only a magnificent keyboard player and musician, but a wonderful human being. I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to play with him. We’ve lost a true legend – but his music will live on.”
Drummer Bill Ward comments: “Reflecting on his keyboard sounds, I must endorse how much he brought in originalist and vision to the defining edge of hard rock. He is well proven as part of rock’s historical journey and will not be forgotten. Thank you, Jon. Rest in peace.”
Fellow keyboardist Rick Wakeman says: “We became real friends just a few years ago. We did talks together at music conservatories, we met for lunch, and most importantly made music together. It was so easy because we had such different styles. Because Jon was concentrating heavily on the Hammond and I on synthesisers, the blend was quite magical.”
He adds the pair had planned to record an album after becoming convinced they could “come up with something very special”. The project was put on hold while Lord underwent his cancer treatment, which Wakeman understood was going well.
Now he reports: “The news has hurt me like no other loss of a musician I have ever known. I can only thank him for the legacy he has left us, and for his kindness, as he was one of the most gentle and kind persons I have ever had the pleasure of being able to call my friend.”
Singer Doogie White has thanked Lord for “three of the most outstanding and joyous concerts I have ever been part of.” He continues: “You gave me a shot, took a chance and I will never forget those moments, nor how you mocked the tartan suit I had bought for the occasion. There are those who have known you much longer and worked with you much harder – but I will cherish those memories for all that remains for me.”