Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Machine Head
Released: 1976 (Original Release = 1972)
Label: Warner Bros
Musicians:Jon Lord – Organ, Ian Gillan – Vocals, Ritchie Blackmore – Lead Guitar, Ian Paice – Drums, Roger Glover – Bass
Producer: Deep Purple
Engineer: Matrin Birch
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theater.
This LP, continuing from where both previous albums (Deep Purple In Rock & Fireball) left off, Machine Head became one of the band’s most famous albums. It became the band’s second number 1 album in the UK, while re-establishing Deep Purple in North America, hitting number 7 in the US and number 1 in Canada. It included tracks that became live classics, such as “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin'”, “Lazy” and “Smoke on the Water”, for which Deep Purple is most famous.
For some reason this 1976 re-release of Machine Head seems somewhat veiled sounding, but still ok.
Highway Star: This is one of their hits both for radio and live concerts. Great keyboard work which seems to be part of the support structure for the song. Obviously about a car.
Maybe I’m A Leo: Could be a filler song, which was fairly common in the 70s. It seems to have a somewhat similar structure to The Beatles-“Come Together” in a sense.
Pictures Of Home: This is a drum heavy tune and seems to be about a self-imposed exile or longing for a sense of ones self which could be a metaphor about being on tour for long periods of time since they were touring very heavily when this LP was made. There is also a bass solo and other interesting elements in this song.
Never Before: A straight rock sound to this one – seems to be about a first love break up perhaps.
Smoke On The Water: Huge hit, in fact, it is what really gave the group fame. It has been covered by many and is an absolute must at Deep Purple concerts. They can not get away without playing it. It’s so popular that it has become a part of the US culture as almost everyone knows the song within the first 3 notes. In December 1971, the band traveled to Switzerland to record Machine Head. The album was due to be recorded at the Montreux Casino, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig, caused by a man firing a flare gun into the ceiling, burned down the Casino. This incident famously inspired this song “Smoke on the Water”. The album was later recorded in a corridor at the nearby empty Grand Hotel. This song also reveals that Ian Gillan can’t hit the notes, but for some reason his voice fits this song. The live long version is the most desired for fans.
Lazy: This is the longest song on the LP. It starts out with a keyboard solo then turns into a three-way jam with keyboard, guitar and drums. About half way through the vocals come in. It could be a filler song, but it’s a darn good one if it is.
Space Truckin: This was also a hit. It’s not my favorite for some reason, I find it annoying and sounds thrown together to me.