On This Day (January 7)…A Letter for Emmaretta

Deep Purple recorded the single “Emmaretta” on this day in 1969. According to Simon Robinson from the liner notes to The Book of Taliesyn, it was recorded in four takes.

The song was named for Emmaretta Marks, a singer known for her role in Hair. She also reportedly helped her friend Jimi Hendrix with his lyrics, having studied English at Howard University before dropping out (source). She still occasionally performs to this day. Rod Evans met her during the group’s US tour, which had finished after a run in New York City just a week prior. It’s not fully known where and when they met, but it’s not unlikely that it was on one of those days when the group was in New York City.

Emmaretta Marks. Retrieved from here.

Unusually, the single was finished off by a drum solo, provided by Ian Paice, who at the time was just twenty years old. He would come into his own in a big way as the year went on, providing what might be his first big performances of a long career on the upcoming Deep Purple and in the third movement of Concerto For Group and Orchestra.

Other members of the group, however, would not be so lucky. Both Rod Evans on vocals and Nick Simper on bass would be replaced within six months. Though they did not know it, the sessions for “Emmaretta” and the next album would be their last period in the studio with Deep Purple.

Deep Purple’s Mark I reportedly in 1969. Retrieved from here.

We don’t know for sure if Emmaretta ever got Rod Evan’s letter, but hopefully she at least heard the song!

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