Deep Purple

Smoke On The Water

by Dave Thompson

ECW Press / ISBN 1-55022-618-5 / Released: August 1, 2004

Deep Purple are one of the most popular rock bands in the world, and one of the longest-lived. It is now 35 years since the band first came together and today - 14 musicians, 17 albums, and countless millions of record sales later - the group remains a monster.

Smoke on the Water is the first book in more than 20 years to tell the story of this remarkable band, from their grandiose inception in 1968 to the release of their latest album in 2003. Drawing from candid interviews with band members (including Roger Glover, Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice), associates, and fans alike, the book traces the group through some of the most turbulent times that any band has survived, from the acrimonious departures of such legendary members as Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore, to the tragic death of guitarist Tommy Bolin.

The book goes beyond Deep Purple's own boundaries to paint a portrait of the music scene that surrounded and influenced them, placing the band's own music in vivid context and illustrating just how profoundly this one group helped change the world.

This is a pretty good biography. It gives an in-depth look on Deep Purple and the careers of all members including the work they did before and after Deep Purple in most cases. What you don't get is too many interviews with members giving their point of view (unfortunately), although they are often quoted from vintage interviews. There are some nice photos including a fine live shot of Rainbow in Copenhagen 1976 plus some others like Joe Lynn Turner with a guitar & Roger Glover from the live version of Butterfly Ball. They're all in black & white by the way. The biography takes over 300 pages, so it's not a quick run through job, although you always want to see a little bit more than you get. The book ends with an extended discography of not only Deep Purple singles & albums, but also sessions, split groups and the material released by Purple Records.

Short summary:
English, 402 pages plus 16 pages of Black & White photos. Discography included of Deep Purple & split groups.

Rating: ****½ [4½ out of 5]