Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part VII: Who Do We Think We Are

Who Do We Think We Are is the final album to feature the Mark II lineup of Deep Purple until they reunited with Perfect Strangers. Two singles were released: “Woman From Tokyo” and “Super Trouper” (although the latter was only released as a single in Europe). The album reached #11 in the US and #4 in the UK. The name comes from typical fan mail the band often received.


Ian Gillian: vocals

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Jon Lord: keyboards and organ

Ian Paice: drums and percussion

The album was engineered by Martin Birch.

  1. “Woman From Tokyo” : This is a great single, with a nice hook. Gillian’s got some swagger in his delivery.
  2. “Mary Long “: While I like the melody fine, the lyrics are kinda cringey to me.
  3. “Super Trouper”: This is a good song with some nice drumming.
  4. ” Smooth Dancer”: This has a good groove. One of my favorite songs.
  5. “Rat Bat Blue”: Despite the silly title, this isn’t bad.
  6. “Place in Line”: Another one of my favorite songs. Paice has a good rhythm.
  7. ” Our Lady”: I think this was a bad choice for a closer. The guitar sounds bad.

Final Verdict: This is a pretty good album all around. I don’t like it as much as Machine Head or In Rock, but I don’t think it sucks.

Grade: B+


Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part II: The Book of Taliesyn

The Book of Taliesyn was named after the 14th century book of the same name. That book was a collection of poems by Taliesin, a poet from the 6th century. Two singles were released, “Kentucky Woman” and ” River Deep, Mountain High”. The album reached #54 on the Billboard 200.


Rod Evans – lead vocals

Ritchie Blackmore – guitar

Jon Lord – Hammond organ, keyboards, backing vocals, strings arrangement on “Anthem”

Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals

Ian Paice – drums, temple blocks

The Tracks:

1. “Listen, Learn, Read On”

This opening doesn’t grab me. I do like Evans’ vocals.

2. “Wring That Neck”

This is a pretty cool instrumental. Lord’s keyboard is fantastic. The song is called “Hard Road” on the American release.

3. “Kentucky Woman”

As with the previous album, there are 3 covers. This one was originally by Neil Diamond. It’s pretty decent.

4. “We Can Work It Out”

The second cover is a Beatles song. It’s kind of boring.

5. “Shield”

Oddly the second side of the album is better than the first. This song rocks. Blackmore sounds great.

6. “Anthem”

Probably my favorite song on the album. It’s got a great string section.

7. “River Deep, Mountain High”

A pretty awesome cover of the Tina Turner song.

Final Verdict: I’m beginning to see why the Rod Evans-led Deep Purple isn’t as highly regarded. This is pretty good, but knowing what comes later, I’m not overly impressed.

Grade: C+

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part VI: Machine Head (1972)

Machine Head is Deep Purple’s most iconic album. It had 4 singles: “Never Before” , “Lazy”, “Highway Star”, and “Smoke on the Water”. It went straight to #1 in the UK and #7 in the U.S. In the US, it’s certified double Platinum. It’s featured in Robert Dimery’s book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.


Ian Gillan: vocals, harmonica

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Jon Lord: keyboards, organ

Ian Paice: drums and percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Highway Star”–What an opener! Jon Lord is on fire on the keyboards, and the bass line is so chunky! Gillan is wailing!
  2. ” Maybe I’m a Leo”–Incidentally, Gillan is a Leo. 😏 All kidding aside, this song slays. Glover was inspired by John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep”.
  3. ” Pictures of Home”–This is a song Blackmore refused to perform live. The lyrics are about Gillan’s homesickness while on tour.
  4. “Never Before”–The only single I don’t like. Paice does some great drumming, though.
  5. ” Smoke on the Water “–This song is about the recording of the album in the Grand Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland, and the evacuation of its casino after a concert by the Mothers of Invention, which resulted in a fire. Everybody brings their A game to this track. It’s my favorite song on the album.
  6. ” Lazy”–There’s nothing “lazy” about this one! It’s a straight bluesy tune with a great keyboard intro from Lord.
  7. “Space Truckin'”–Fun fact: this song was used as a wake-up call for Space shuttle program Flight STS-107 in 2003. I like the sci-fi feel to the lyrics.

Final Verdict: The album deserves its iconic status. Almost every song is a banger. In fact, this is the album that made me want to do this series.

Grade: A+

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part 1: Shades of Deep Purple

Deep Purple formed in 1968, originally named Roundabout. Ritchie Blackmore suggested the name Deep Purple, after his grandmother’s favorite song. The original line-up consisted of:

Rod Evans – lead vocals

Ritchie Blackmore – guitars

Jon Lord – organ, backing vocals

Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals

Ian Paice – drums

The album was produced by Derek Lawrence.

The Tracks:

1. “And the Address”

This instrumental was the first song the band ever composed. Both Blackmore and Lawrence had composed the song before the band was even formed. It has some good moments.

2. “Hush”

This song was originally recorded by Billy Joel Royal. Lord is great on the organ. This is the best cover on the album.

3. “One More Rainy Day”

This was the B-side for “Hush”, and the last song recorded for the album. Evans, has good vocals here.

4. “Prelude: Happiness/I’m So Glad”

One of the most boring songs on the album. I get it, Evans, you’re glad! Now maybe you could actually show it?

5. “Mandrake Root”

Like “And the Address” , this song was written before the band was even formed. It’s the best song on the album, with some excellent drumming from Paice.

6. “Help!”

This is not only the worst cover on the album, it’s the worst song period! “Help!” id supposed to be a fast song, but they play it like the recording was slowed down to at least half the normal speed.

7. “Love Help Me”

This isn’t bad, but I feel like it could be better.

8. “Hey Joe”

How many times has this song been covered? I’m not saying this is a bad cover (it isn’t), but knowing that the song’s been done so many times kind of ruins the enjoyment.

Final Verdict:

Well, I suppose they had to start somewhere. A friend of mine told me the Rod Evans era isn’t all that great, and I can see his point. The band does show promise, though.

Grade: C+

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part V: Fireball (1971)

Fireball was the first Deep Purple album to hit #1. Both the UK and American versions have different track listings. I’m using the version that is on Spotify.


Ian Gillan: vocals

Roger Glover: bass

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Jon Lord: keyboards, organ

Ian Paice: drums

The album was produced by Martin Birch, Lou Austin, Alan O’Duffy.

The Tracks:

“Fireball”: The opening song has some great drumming.

” No No No” : Although the title is silly, this song is pretty good. Blackmore has a cool hook.

“Strange Kind of Woman”: One of the best songs on the album. It has a great rhythm with a cool bass line.

” Anyone’s Daughter “: One of the weakest songs. The chorus doesn’t work for me.

” The Mule”: Another favorite song. This has some of Lord’s best organ work. It became a live staple.

“Fools”: Another great song. with some great vocals and some great soloing from Blackmore.

” No One Came”: A decent song to end on.

Although the album is not well-liked by the band (Gillian is the only member who actually likes it, and even he has problems), Lars Ulrich of Metallica says it was the album that got him into rock.

Final Verdict: I’m going to disagree with the band here. This is a great album, and it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for “The Mule” alone.

Grade: A+

Next: Machine Head

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part IV: In Rock (1970)

Note: This is an article I posted on Amino. I cannot post there anymore, so I’m reposting here. I will repost the first three albums in the coming weeks, as well as continuing from this point.

In Rock begins the Mark II lineup, marking the departures of Rod Evans as lead singer and Nick Siempre on bass. The new lineup is:

Ian Gillan: vocals

Roger Glover: bass

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Jon Lord: Organ

Ian Paice: drums

The album was preceded by the single “Black Knight”, which is included on the deluxe edition. It’s featured in Robert Dimery’s book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Tracks:

“Speed King” : Pretty cool fast-paced opening song.

“Bloodsucker” : This is a great showcase for Ian Gillan, who is a much better singer than Rod Evans

“Child in Time”: The best song on the album. Gillan sure can wail! Lord is excellent on the organ, and Glover has a nice bass hook.

” Flight of the Rat”: Some excellent guitar riffs from Blackmore and Paice does some great drumming.

“Into the Fire”: Some more cool bass riffs from Glover and Gillan wails some more.

” Living Wreck “: Some excellent frantic drums by Paice.

” Hard Loving Man”: This is a good bluesy feel, showing that side of the band still exists.

Final Verdict: A great start for the most legendary version of the band. This is where they start to get good.

Grade: A+