Deep Purple released their self-titled album Deep Purple in the United States on this day in 1969.
Despite the fact that this a self-titled album, something usually done for debuts, it was the third album the group had released. It had been recorded throughout the winter and spring of 1969 between gigs; the first song known to have been recorded was “Bird Has Flown”, the penultimate song on the album. It was recorded on January 7, less than a week since the band had returned from their first US tour and during the same sessions which produced “Emmaretta”. The rest of the album followed in fits and starts.
This album saw the group beginning to come into their own as writers; only one of the songs included on it was a cover. This was the atmospheric and mournful take on “Lalena”, originally by Donovan. Every other work was original, reflecting band members’ nightmares, recent interest in African drumming, cinema outings during their recent tour, and so on.
The cover was lifted from a portion of Renaissance artist Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Despite the increasing maturity with which the band were conducting themselves in the musical sphere, this album was overall fairly unsuccessful. Tetragrammaton, the band’s label, was already experiencing serious financial difficulty and were thus unable to promote the album much. Meanwhile, while current reviews praise it for its adventurousness and consider it a strong album (mine included), it didn’t seem to have made many waves at the time critically either.
It is likely that these issues didn’t much affect the members of the band; already, three of them had decided that change was needed. By the time this album was released, Rod Evans and Nick Simper had already been replaced behind the scenes, though they weren’t informed until later. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, Evans and Simper’s respective replacements, had already recorded with the other three members of the band. Less than three weeks by the album’s release, this second album were onstage together. By the time Deep Purple was finally released in England, it was all but forgotten, as the group had moved onto bigger, better things.
Today is a day to rediscover this album. If you haven’t listened to it, I’ve linked it below.
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