Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XI: Perfect Strangers (1984)

Nine years after Come Taste the Band, the Mark II lineup returned for Perfect Strangers. This was the most successful album recorded by the lineup. Three singles were released: “Knocking at Your Back Door”, “Nobody’s Home”, and “Perfect Strangers” . The album peaked at #17 in the US and #5 in the UK. At the time, each of the 5 members had played in other bands, making it a supergroup of sorts. Ian Gillian was in Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover were in Rainbow, Jon Lord was in Whitesnake, and Paice was backing Gary Moore.

Members:The

Ian Gillian: vocals

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Roger Glover: bass, synthesizer

Jon Lord: organ, keyboards

Ian Paice: drujs

The Tracks:

  1. “Knocking at Your Back Door “: The album starts off strong with this banger, and a killer Blackmore riff. The song was used by the Seattle Supersonics in their line-up intro at home games.
  2. ” Under the Gun”: Some great guitar and bass here.
  3. “Nobody’s Home” : This is the only song credited to all 5 members. Lord has an excellent keyboard riff and Paice does some great drumming. Best song on the album.
  4. “Mean Streak”: This is about average.
  5. ” Perfect Strangers “: This song kicks off side 2 with a good bass and rhythm section.
  6. ” A Gypsy’s Kiss”: I didn’t like this one much.
  7. “Wasted Days”: Some more great drumming and a killer solo from Blackmore.
  8. ” Hungry Daze”: The worst song on the album for me.
  9. “Son of Aleric”: This is a cool instrumental song.

Final Verdict: The album is pretty front -loaded, and winds down towards the end. It’s an excellent comeback.

Grade: A-

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part X: Come Taste the Band

With Blackmore busy with Rainbow, Deep Purple recorded their first album without him. He was replaced by Tommy Bolin. Bolin had played in many bands, often as a replacement (for example, he replaced Joe Walsh in the James Gang) . Bolin suffered from addictions to several drugs, including cocaine and heroin. This line-up is Mark IV, and this album is its sole appearance. The band disbanded temporarily after the album, allowing Bolin to record a solo album. Unfortunately, Bolin died of a drug overdose. This was also the last album to feature Coverdale and Hughes. The album had two singles: “Getting Tighter” and “You Keep On Moving”. It reached #19 in the UK and #43 in the US.

Members:

David Coverdale: vocals

Glenn Hughes: vocals, bass

Tommy Bolin: guitar

Jon Lord: keyboards, piano, synthesizer

Ian Paice: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Comin’ Home”: This is a great opener. Coverdale has good vocals and Lord ‘s keyboards sound great.
  2. ” Lady Luck”: This song has a good bassline. It’s the only song on the album that was co-written by a writer who isn’t a member of the band, Jeffrey Cook. Bolin sounds good here.
  3. “Gettin ‘ Tighter”: Hughes sounds excellent here, and Paice has some good drumming.
  4. ” Dealer”: Bolin sounds good here too.
  5. “I Need Love”: Not a fan of this song. I don’t think the band’s chemistry is good.
  6. ” Drifter”: This has Coverdale’s best vocals on the album.
  7. “Love Child”: Lord has some good keyboards on this one.
  8. “This Time Around/Owed to ‘G ‘” : The second half of this song has a good instrumental portion.
  9. “You Keep On Moving “: Pretty good closing number.

Final Verdict: Tommy Bolin doesn’t sound bad, but I felt as if he had a tough act to follow. For the situation, he was good. Overall, this album feels like an experiment. It’s been called “not a true Deep Purple album” by both Jon Lord and Ian Gillian (although Lord does say that it’s surprisingly good). I did like what I heard, but I can see why it’s not well -received.

Grade: B-

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part IX: Stormbringer (1974)

Before I start this review, I want to correct something from the previous review. I’d totally messed up and gave some inaccurate info on the vocals. I don’t know how I did this, as I’ve listened to bands that Coverdale and Hughes fronted after Deep Purple, including Whitesnake and Black Country Communion. I’ll try better this time.

Stormbringer is named after a magical sword that appears in books by Michael Moorcock. This makes Deep Purple one of three bands that have referenced his works (the other ones are Hawkwind and Blue Öyster Cult). Three singles were released: “You Can’t Do It Right” , “Lady Double Dealer”, and “Stormbringer”. The album reached #6 in the UK and 20 in the US. After this album, Blackmore formed Rainbow, which he initially intended to be a side project. However, Coverdale and Hughes stayed for one more album.

Members:

  1. “Stormbringer”: Although I haven’t read any Moorcock books, I thought this was an awesome opener. The vocals are really good, and I like Hughes’ higher range. Paice’s drumming is intense.
  2. “Love Don’t Mean a Thing”: Blackmore and Lord do some great instrumentation for a good funky tune.
  3. “Holy Man”: Hughes really gets a chance to shine by himself. Lord has some excellent keyboarding. Another one of my favorites.
  4. ” Hold On”: This one is decent, with a good bass line
  5. “Lady Double Dealer”: This is a fun song. It’s too bad Blackmore doesn’t like the funk elements Hughes and Coverdale brought in, because they sound great. Hughes has a great wail on this.
  6. ” You Can’t Do It Right (With the One You Love) “: A good blues feel on this one.
  7. ” High Ball Shooter”: My third favorite song on the album. Hughes and Blackmore have great synergy.
  8. “The Gypsy”: For some reason, this song didn’t work for me.
  9. “Soldier of Fortune”: This is a good closer, and Coverdale sounds good.

Final Verdict: Of the two albums featuring Hughes and Coverdale, I like this one best. The band has better synergy than they did on Burn. It’s a shame this is the end of Mark III.

Grade: A-

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part VIII: Burn

Due to fatigue from touring, Deep Purple had lost both Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Two new members joined, both of whom were in other bands: David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Coverdale had three local bands (Vintage 67, Government, and Fabulosa Brothers.) He and Government had actually opened for Deep Purple while on tour. Glenn Hughes was both bassist and vocalist for Trapeze. This marked the beginning of the Mark III line -up.

Burn had two singles, “Might Just Take Your Life” and the title track. The album reached #9 in the US and #3 in the UK.

Members:

David Coverdale: vocals

Glenn Hughes: vocals, bass

Ritchie Blackmore: guitar

Jon Lord: keyboards, organ

Ian Paice: drums and percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Burn”: With the new members comes a new sound as well. This album introduced a funkier, soulful side of the band. “Burn” kind of makes me wonder why today’s classic rock stations ignore Mark III. It’s a great opener.
  2. “Might Just Take Your Life”: Of the two hits, this is the stronger one. Coverdale really shows he’s up to the challenge of replacing Gillan.
  3. ” Lay Down, Stay Down “: Hughes has a good bass on this, and Blackmore wails away.
  4. ” Sail Away”: Paice has a good beat, and some good keyboards from Lord on here.
  5. “You Fool No One”: Another favorite song, with stellar Coverdale vocals and good keyboards and guitar.
  6. ” What’s Going On Here”: This song feels a little like filler for me.
  7. “Mistreated” : A nice bluesy tune here, and the best song on the album. Blackmore had intended this song for the previous album, but held off. Coverdale sounds excellent.
  8. “A 200” : Weird title. I think this was a weak closer.

Final Verdict: I’ve never heard the Mark III version of Deep Purple, so this was a great introduction.

Grade: B+

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.

Members:

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.

Members:

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.

Members:

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.

Members:

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