Monday, October 8, 2012

"Fireball" Appreciation Day

Deep Purple deserves a spot in the Rock & Roll Of Hall Of Fame, if only for their 1971 release "Fireball." This is not to say the records the band released before and after aren't worthy. As a matter of fact, I think Deep Purple is often misunderstood and lazily tossed into a pile with lesser heavy metal bands, sadly thought of as one-hit wonders, thanks to "Smoke On The Water." But "Fireball" is the stand out.

Here is Eduardo Rivadavia's review of "Fireball" from AMG:

One of Deep Purple's four indispensable albums (the others being In Rock, Machine Head, and Burn), 1971's Fireball saw the band broadening out from the no-holds-barred hard rock direction of the previous year's cacophonous In Rock. Metal machine noises introduced the sizzling title track -- an unusually compact but explosively tight group effort on which Jon Lord's organ truly shined. The somewhat tiring repetitions of "No No No" actually threatened to drop the ball next, but the fantastic single "Strange Kind of Woman" nimbly caught and set it rolling again, just in time for the innuendo-encrusted hilarity of "Anyone's Daughter," featuring one of singer Ian Gillan's first (and still best) humorous storylines to go with one of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's most uncharacteristic, bluesiest performances ever. "The Mule" opened the vinyl album's second side with what is perhaps Purple's finest instrumental, and on the hyper-extended "Fools," the bandmembers proved they could flirt with progressive rock without plunging off its cliff (although the song could probably have done without its drawn-out middle section). And closing the album was the exceptional "No One Came," where intertwining instrumental lines locked together beautifully, Gillan wove another entertaining yarn that was part autobiography and part Monty Python, and the often underrated skills of drummer Ian Paice helped the song sound so unreservedly fresh and intuitive that one could almost be convinced the band had winged it on the spot. Sure, the following year's Machine Head would provide Deep Purple with their commercial peak, but on Fireball, the formidable quintet was already firing on all cylinders.

"Innuendo-encrusted."  HEH!

Personally, I love "No No No" and the "hyper-extended" "Fools." I love the whole damn thing.

Deep Purple are one of this year's 15 nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  We can discuss those who don't belong over at Burning Love?.  

But for now, I'd like to recognize the distinct sounds of Richie Blackmore's guitar, Jon Lord's fiery organ, one of the most underrated rhythm sections to ever play music, Roger Glover & Ian Paice, and though there have been many, the one vocalist who nailed it, Ian Gillan. Deep Purple tried it all from hard rock to R&B to heavy metal, blues and jazz, occasionally in the same song. From 1968-1974, it mostly worked.

Well, that's my pitch.


buzzbabyjesus said...

I've never heard a whole Deep Purple album, and except for "Strange Kind Of Woman", "Fireball" is entirely unexplored territory.
That said, I know they're solid. Jon Lord was considered one of the best Hammond players of the era.
They were as good as any prog rock band.
I'll check it out.

whattawino said...

Fireball was my entree into Deep Purple as far as an entire album was concerned. I was living in Florida that year and fell in with some peeps that all loved DP and
especially this new album. I was baptized by "Fire"ball
and that was it for me. Played the crap outta this one and we all went to see them play (headlining with Uriah Heep's "Look at Yourself" and Buddy Miles' Express opening.) Ian Gillan had the voice, folks. And Blackmore
and the entire rest of the band to a man was unbelievable. Great show and still my fave DP album.
The opening drum riff on the title track got my attention immediately and still does. Check it out!

buzzbabyjesus said...

I just listened to the tracks and I can hear that this has influenced every modern hard rock band since. I should have been listening to this instead of Urge Overkill, for instance. Holy Shit!

Sal Nunziato said...


After you've had enough of "Fireball," may I suggest diving into "In Rock?"

buzzbabyjesus said...

I knew they were better than I thought. Yes In Rock.

pb said...

"Fireball"'s the dp rrecord I love best. My opinion is(and I hope not just mine):
this is the only dp's record with IRONY. And the most psychedelic of their bulkload of records (alongside some hints in the one with TommyBolin..)..
It's a great slab of wax!!