Formed in 1968, Deep Purple is an English rock band hailing from Hertford, England. Originally assembled by drummer Chris Curtis, who quickly exited the lineup, the band initially comprised vocalist Rod Evans, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice. Deep Purple started as a progressive rock band with their 1968 debut album “Shades of Deep Purple,” which included the hit cover of Joe South’s “Hush.”
The band underwent its first significant lineup change in 1969, replacing Evans and Simper with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, respectively. This lineup, known as “Mark II,” produced some of the band’s most iconic work, including albums like “Deep Purple in Rock” (1970) and “Machine Head” (1972), the latter of which featured the iconic track “Smoke on the Water.” Over the years, Deep Purple saw numerous lineup changes, including the departure and return of Blackmore, Gillan, and Glover. The band also included other notable musicians like David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, and keyboardist Don Airey, who replaced Jon Lord in 2002.
Deep Purple’s sound evolved from progressive rock to hard rock and eventually to heavy metal, always characterized by Ritchie Blackmore’s virtuosic guitar work and Jon Lord’s classical-influenced keyboard arrangements. They are credited with laying the groundwork for heavy metal and modern hard rock, and their influence is visible in bands ranging from Metallica to Queen. Commercially successful and critically acclaimed, Deep Purple has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, cementing their legacy as one of history’s most important rock bands.
This article will look at all the fabulous musicians who have performed on Deep Purple albums and were also official members of the band.
Ian Paice has been the drummer for Deep Purple since the band’s formation in 1968. Being the only member to have been with the band throughout its many lineup changes, Paice has played on all of Deep Purple’s studio albums, from their debut “Shades of Deep Purple” to their latest release, “Whoosh!” in 2020. Paice is widely respected as a drummer for his technical skills and has contributed significantly to the band’s success over the decades.
Outside of Deep Purple, Paice has lent his drumming talents to various other artists such as Paul McCartney, Whitesnake, and Gary Moore. He’s also known for his drum clinics and instructional videos.
Roger Glover became the bassist for Deep Purple in 1969 and has since been a part of iconic albums such as “In Rock,” “Fireball,” “Machine Head,” “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Perfect Strangers,” “The House of Blue Light,” and many more up to the 2020 album “Whoosh!”. He left the band in 1973 but returned in 1984 and has been a steady member ever since.
Apart from his work with Deep Purple, Glover has had a successful solo career and has been a producer for bands like Rainbow and Judas Priest.
Ian Gillan, who joined Deep Purple in 1969, was a member of the classic lineup that produced legendary albums such as “In Rock,” “Fireball,” and “Machine Head.” He left in 1973, returned in 1984, and has been a part of several more albums, including “Perfect Strangers,” “The House of Blue Light,” “The Battle Rages On,” “Now What?!,” and “Whoosh!”.
Outside of Deep Purple, Gillan has had a flourishing solo career and had a brief stint with Black Sabbath. He also played Jesus in the original recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Jon Lord, who was with Deep Purple from its formation in 1968 until 2002, contributed to the band’s unique sound with his classically influenced keyboard playing. He played on numerous albums, including “Shades of Deep Purple,” “In Rock,” “Fireball,” “Machine Head,” “Burn,” “Stormbringer,” “Come Taste the Band,” “Perfect Strangers,” “The House of Blue Light,” and others, up to “Bananas” in 2003.
Lord had a prolific career outside of Deep Purple, working on classical compositions and playing with bands like Whitesnake and Paice Ashton Lord.
Ritchie Blackmore was Deep Purple’s original guitarist from 1968 to 1975 and again from 1984 to 1993. His distinct style and technique are prominent in classic Deep Purple albums like “In Rock,” “Fireball,” “Machine Head,” “Burn,” and “Stormbringer.” He was also part of the reunion albums “Perfect Strangers” and “The House of Blue Light.”
Blackmore is also famous for forming the bands Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night, contributing significantly to the rock and folk genres.
Rod Evans was the original vocalist for Deep Purple from 1968 to 1969. He was a part of the band’s first three albums: “Shades of Deep Purple,” “The Book of Taliesyn,” and “Deep Purple.” Evans was born on January 19, 1947, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and his tenure in the band was marked by a more psychedelic and progressive rock orientation.
After leaving Deep Purple, Evans briefly formed and led a new band called Captain Beyond, which released three albums. Later, he became notorious for touring under the Deep Purple name in the 1980s without any of the original members, leading to legal issues.
Nick Simper was the original bassist for Deep Purple from 1968 until 1969. He played on the band’s first three albums along with Rod Evans. Born on November 3, 1945, in Norwood Green, Southall, Simper contributed to the band’s early sound, which was a mix of psychedelic and progressive rock.
After his stint with Deep Purple, Simper played in several other bands including Warhorse and Fandango, though none achieved the level of success that Deep Purple did.
Glenn Hughes joined Deep Purple in 1973 as the bassist and vocalist, sharing vocal duties with David Coverdale. He was part of the band’s albums “Burn,” “Stormbringer,” and “Come Taste the Band.” Born on August 21, 1951, in Cannock, Staffordshire, England, Hughes brought a distinct soul and funk element to the band’s sound during his tenure.
Apart from Deep Purple, Hughes has had a prolific solo career and has played with other bands like Trapeze and Black Country Communion. He was also briefly a part of Black Sabbath.
David Coverdale became Deep Purple’s vocalist in 1973, sharing vocal duties with Glenn Hughes. He appeared on the albums “Burn,” “Stormbringer,” and “Come Taste the Band.” Born on September 22, 1951, in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, Coverdale’s bluesy voice contributed to the band’s evolving sound during the mid-’70s.
After leaving Deep Purple, Coverdale formed the successful band Whitesnake, known for hits like “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again.” He has also released several solo albums and collaborated with various artists throughout his career.
Tommy Bolin joined Deep Purple in 1975 as the guitarist following the departure of Ritchie Blackmore. He was part of the band’s album “Come Taste the Band,” which showcased a different, funkier direction for the band. Bolin was born on August 1, 1951, in Sioux City, Iowa, and was known for his versatile guitar style, blending rock, jazz, and Latin influences.
Tragically, Bolin’s time with the band and his life were cut short as he died of a drug overdose on December 4, 1976. Besides his time with Deep Purple, Bolin also had a solo career and had played with bands like Zephyr and The James Gang.
Joe Lynn Turner
As the vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner was part of Deep Purple from 1989 to 1992. He contributed to the album “Slaves and Masters,” which was released in 1990. Born on August 2, 1951, in Hackensack, New Jersey, Turner brought a melodic rock sound to the band’s music during his time with them.
Outside of Deep Purple, Joe Lynn Turner has had a successful solo career and has also been part of other groups like Rainbow and Fandango. His vocal range and style have made him a versatile musician in the rock genre.
Steve Morse became the guitarist for Deep Purple in 1994 and has been with the band ever since. He has contributed to albums like “Purpendicular,” “Abandon,” “Bananas,” “Rapture of the Deep,” “Now What?!,” and “Whoosh!”. Born on July 28, 1954, in Hamilton, Ohio, Morse brought a new energy and technical prowess to the band, helping to revitalize their sound for a new generation.
In addition to his work with Deep Purple, Steve Morse has had a robust career outside of the band, notably with the Dixie Dregs and as a solo artist. His unique approach to guitar playing has earned him accolades and a loyal following of fans and musicians alike.
Don Airey joined Deep Purple in 2001 as the keyboardist, taking over from the legendary Jon Lord. He has been a part of several albums with the band, including “Bananas,” “Rapture of the Deep,” “Now What?!,” “Infinite,” and “Whoosh!”. Born on June 21, 1948, in Sunderland, England, Airey brought with him a rich history of musicianship, having played with a range of artists from Ozzy Osbourne to Whitesnake.
His keyboard skills added a fresh layer to the band’s sound, and he has been praised for his ability to honor Jon Lord’s legacy while also bringing his style into the mix. Outside of Deep Purple, Don Airey has had an extensive career, including solo albums and collaborations with many other notable musicians and bands.
All About The Musicians Who Played On Deep Purple Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain Creative Commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.