On This Day (June 7)…Hallelujah, a New Lineup!

There is a better way of life and it’s not so hard to find
If you live and let the people in your world speak its mind

Lyrics to Hallelujah. Retrieved from here.

Deep Purple began recording “Hallelujah” on this day in 1969 at De Lane Lea Studios in London, England. The late Derek Lawrence was the producer of the session, and the song was supposedly finished up during two following sessions.

This song was not actually written by the band members, but rather by the songwriting duo of Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook. Greenaway and Cook created songs for bands such as the Hollies and the Fortunes. As well as writing for other bands and creating pop songs for their own outfit, David & Jonathan, the two also created advertising jingles. Probably their most famous is “I’d Like to Give The World a Coke”.

This particular song embraces a cautious optimism that world peace is possible, though it may take standing up for one’s own beliefs in various difficult settings. While the theme of the lyrics are optimistic, the g minor that predominates the song provides a mournful contrast, especially in the first two minutes.

Famously, this is the first documented time Deep Purple’s Mark II lineup played together in its entirety. Ian Gillan had been offered a job with the group a mere three days prior after at least one member heard him playing with Episode Six. Roger Glover had been apparently encouraged by Gillan, his bandmate and friend, to join him on a phone call the day after. However, by this point he was still hesitant and didn’t formally accept the job until later on, so was basically a session player for this recording. According to Jon Lord quoted in a later documentary, the recording session functioned as Gillan’s (and Glover’s, again more informally) audition. Clearly, they passed! They remained with Episode Six to finish out the dates to which they had already committed before the duo stepped into the roles of Deep Purple’s singer and bassist.

69-Aug 26 klooks kleek.jpg
Photo of Deep Purple Mark II in their early days together onstage; may be the first photo of the five together. Unknown photographer. Retrieved from here.

The Mark II lineup remained together as a full unit for around four years after this recording session, reunited in 1984 and remained together for four more years, and then finished their cumulative approximately ten years with an album and a tour in 1992-1993. Gillan and Glover continued their association with Jon Lord in Deep Purple until his retirement from the band in 2002, with sporadic guest appearances by Lord until his death in 2012. Their collaboration with Ian Paice has continued to the present day.

Despite the fact that the band was preparing to move in new directions, they were still going onstage with their original lineup; their next gig was a mere three days after this recording session. Rod Evans and Nick Simper, the erstwhile singer and bassist of the band, were not even informed of the session, much less the fact that their jobs were in serious jeopardy. They would play their last show with the band about a month after this session.

The song was released in July of 1969, the month Mark II began performing together. Its peak chart position in the US was 108, while it failed to chart in the UK. It does not appear to have ever been part of Deep Purple’s setlist onstage, though there is footage of them miming to it at the Beat Club in 1969.

The footage is pretty cool, too!

I talk a bit about De Lane Lea studios, which at this time was where Deep Purple did a great deal of their recording work, here.

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