On This Day (April 8)…Deep Purple and Some Honor

Some members of Deep Purple were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame on this day in 2016.

Induction speeches by the band members. Also present is Vicky Lord, wife of the late Jon Lord.

Inducted members include drummer Ian Paice (1968-1976, 1984–), singer Rod Evans (1968-1969), guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (1968-1975, 1984-1993), keyboardist Jon Lord (1968-1976, 1984-2002; induction posthumous), singer Ian Gillan (1969-1973, 1984-1988, 1993–), bassist Roger Glover (1969-1973, 1984–), singer David Coverdale (1973-1976), and bassist Glenn Hughes (1973-1976).

Everybody who’s ever been involved with the band, even for a short time, is instrumental in making it work and ensuring it still exists to this day. So I think if you’re gonna do it, everybody should have been invited to join the club.

Ian Paice with regards to certain omissions in the induction process. Retrieved from here.

As you can see, at least one member from every one of the eight lineups except for Mark II and Mark III were snubbed. This includes bassist and founding member Nick Simper (1968-1969), guitarist Tommy Bolin (1975-1976), singer Joe Lynn Turner (1989-1991), guitarist Joe Satriani (1993-1994; membership disputed), guitarist Steve Morse (1994–), and keyboardist Don Airey (August/September 2001, 2002–).

Despite these omissions, Ian Gillan, made sure to mention snubbed members in his speech. Glenn Hughes did the same thing for Bolin. Gillan and his bandmates Roger Glover and Ian Paice also asked that when Deep Purple performed as part of the ceremony, it would be as the current lineup, which is also the longest-running lineup. According to them, they wanted some way to ensure that people know not just who Deep Purple were, but who they are today. In this, at least, they prevailed.

Mark VIII’s performance.

Don Airey later related that even though they were performers, he and Steve Morse were not even allowed at the same table as the rest of the band during the ceremony.

Fans are still angry over the ceremony and how it came down. However, the majority are angry not about the fact that five full members and one touring member of the legendary band were snubbed, but that guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was not in attendance. Blackmore and his management added fuel to the fire by releasing this facebook post accusing Purple’s management of refusing to allow him to even attend the ceremony.

As it turned out, this was at best a malicious misrepresentation of the facts, which Gillan and the band’s management were quick to correct. The only thing Blackmore had been asked to not be a part of was the performance itself; given he had had surgery on his hand within a month of the ceremony, it seems a little bizarre to expect he would play anyway. Based on statements from the CEO of the Hall of Fame, he would have the final word on his own attendance anyway, not the management of the current Deep Purple.

It should be stressed that there is no slight intended nor any desire to upset anyone regarding this decision; it is purely a mark of respect to Steve and Don. I spoke with David Coverdale last week and he expressed complete understanding of the way it was being handled; thanks David you’re a Gent.

Ian Gillan’s statement with regards to the decision to have Mark VIII perform. Retrieved from here.

To ensure every side is represented, I must add that Coverdale claimed in 2019 that the management had barred Blackmore from even attending, and that the band had refused to attend in its entirety if Blackmore were there. Glenn Hughes, meanwhile, backed up the idea that former members, including himself and David Coverdale, were asked not to perform with the band. He also insisted that there were no hard feelings and that Blackmore never wanted to attend anyway. Perhaps the Man In Black simply wanted to stir up a little bit of trouble, something he has reveled in throughout his career.

In the end, this “honor” bestowed by the Hall of Fame is actually harmful to the band’s history rather than helpful. It reinforces the notion that certain members of the band hold greater importance than others and uses a seemingly arbitrary and exclusionary process to decide which ones. There is, for example, no conceivable explanation for why only four of the five founding members would be included, especially given that while one who was inducted went on to disappear from the music scene about forty years ago during a scandal, the one who was not is still a performer to this day.

Meanwhile, the decision not to induct everyone forced the members who were into conflict, resulting in outraged fans, though dishonesty among the involved parties has to be taken into account as a factor of blame as well. It is a sobering reminder of institutions’ responsibility, as well as the fact that they can fail in it.

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