Deep Purple released the album Now What?! on this day in 2013.
(As a note, this piece will appear with an asterisk on my “On This Day” page, as some places state the release date as April 29 or even April 26. However, most places have the date as April 30).
This album marked the end of one of the longest gaps between studio albums from Deep Purple while the band has been active. Seven years had passed since the previous album, Rapture of the Deep, had hit the shelves.
Now What?! marked the first collaboration between Deep Purple and noted producer Bob Ezrin. He had seen them perform in February 2012, and had been so impressed by the interplay between Steve Morse and Don Airey that he decided to produce their next album. The band and Ezrin have since collaborated on two more albums, Infinite and the yet-to-be released Whoosh!
Another monumental, but far sadder, event was attached to this album. This was the first album to be released since Jon Lord’s death in the summer of 2012. The group were in the recording studio on the day they received the news of his death. They dedicated the album to him. The songs “Uncommon Man” and “Above and Beyond” are the ones that most touch on the themes of loss and the band’s late keyboardist.
The album overall received positive critical reception. The band was praised as returning to their roots, while Ezrin’s production was rated as some of the best the group had ever experienced. Meanwhile, it sold quite well, even reaching gold certification in Germany (signifying 100,000 copies sold).
The song “Uncommon Man” is still performed onstage to this day, the only song from Now What?! to have routinely made the setlist for their most recent tour. What do you think of the album? If you had a chance to see any of the songs live, which would it be?
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