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Metal - Released June 1, 1970 | Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Metal - Released August 10, 1987 | Rhino

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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. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Pop/Rock - Released January 6, 2007 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

By most accounts, Deep Purple's 1993 European tour was quite a memorable one, not so much for the musical performances, but because it was in the middle of this tour that founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left the band for good -- marking the last time the group's classic Mk II lineup ever toured together. With the band supporting the appropriately titled The Battle Rages On... at the time, there are a few latter-day Purple songs included, but to the delight of many fans, the vast majority of 2007's Live in Stuttgart 1993 is comprised of classics. It doesn't sound like the group was resting on its laurels during this advanced stage of its career, either -- as evidenced by a simply ferocious reading of "Speed King," as well as other highlights like the set-opening "Highway Star" and "Knocking at Your Back Door." There may have been some tension behind the scenes at this time, but on the concert stage, Deep Purple were definitely still a functioning unit, as evidenced throughout Live in Stuttgart 1993. ~ Greg Prato
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | Island Def Jam

Though it was considered a disappointment upon its release (indeed, its production was much too sleek at times, and it lacked the creative daring of Perfect Strangers), 1987's House of Blue Light has actually stood the test of time just as well, if not better, than its predecessor. The second effort from the re-formed Mark II lineup, this album showed Deep Purple searching for an '80s-flavored hit single, and by doing so, sounding uncomfortably similar to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's other band, Rainbow. Virtually all of the record's first half suffers from this (especially "Unwritten Law" and "Bad Attitude"), but things improve with the Eastern-flavored melodies of "The Spanish Archer" and "Strange Ways." The eerie sound textures explored on the latter evoke memories of classic Purple, and finally allow some space for soloing from Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord. And the telltale lyrics to the equally interesting "Mitzi Dupree" (based on a true story), are vintage Ian Gillan, as the singer combines James Bond-style international intrigue with high comedy. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Rock - Released October 22, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Eagle Rock - Eagle Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Polydor Records

Once Deep Purple got the ball rolling again thanks to the success of 1984's phenomenal PERFECT STRANGERS, the band returned to the road as it had done throughout most of the early '70s. 1988's double-CD NOBODY'S PERFECT captures the classic Deep Purple lineup of Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice during the band's 1987 world tour. The album was recorded at different stops during the tour and includes songs that are a mix of classics, newer material, and deeper cuts. Gillan serves up paint-peeling readings of "Highway Star" and "Space Trucking" and rewards die-hard fans with a few lines from "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Gillan played the lead role as part of the early-'70s London cast) in the middle of "Strange Kind of Woman." Blackmore's playing soars on newer songs like "Dead or Alive" and classics such as "Space Trucking" and "Woman From Tokyo." As always, Lord's organ serves as a foil as he duels with the Man in Black on "Lazy" and sets the tone during the ominous "Perfect Strangers." A reinvigorated update of "Hush" (originally sang by Rod Evans, the group's first vocalist) is a welcome inclusion that features Blackmore's stellar playing and Gillan's wailing harp.
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Rock - Released June 25, 2002 | Mercury Records

Most editions of Universal's 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series capture the featured artist if not at their very peak, at least at a moment in their career when they were having hits. That's not the case with Deep Purple's volume. It's devoted to their '80s recordings for Mercury, a time that isn't considered one of their peaks, even if it did produce the fairly solid The House of Blue Light. This does round up the highlights from those records, and it does a good job of doing it, but it's not for most listeners -- especially the kind that would normally be quite satisfied by a volume of 20th Century Masters. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 30, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released March 1, 1992 | Mercury Records

The definitive Deep Purple lineup (vocalist Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, and keyboardist Jon Lord) reunited for two albums in the '80s. Both were released on Mercury--one being a commercial success (1984's PERFECT STRANGERS), and the other a major disappointment (1987's THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHT). The best of these two releases were featured on the 1992 collection, KNOCKING AT YOUR BACK DOOR: BEST OF DEEP PURPLE IN THE '80s, as well as live versions of past classics. The three selections from PERFECT STRANGERS ("Knocking At Your Back Door," "Nobody's Home," and the title track), showed that by coming back together and making music again, the group was re-invigorated. But as the selections from THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHT prove, the excitement was short-lived ("Bad Attitude," "Call of the Wild"). Live versions of such early-'70s nuggets as "Child in Time," "Black Night," "Smoke on the Water," "Hush," and "Space Truckin'" will entice longtime fans, but newcomers should stick with the superior 1980 collection DEEPEST PURPLE: THE VERY BEST OF DEEP PURPLE.
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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Island Def Jam

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Pop - Released January 30, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Led Zeppelin's fourth album, Black Sabbath's Paranoid, and Deep Purple's Machine Head have stood the test of time as the Holy Trinity of English hard rock and heavy metal, serving as the fundamental blueprints followed by virtually every heavy rock & roll band since the early '70s. And, though it is probably the least celebrated of the three, Machine Head contains the "mother of all guitar riffs" -- and one of the first learned by every beginning guitarist -- in "Smoke on the Water." Inspired by real-life events in Montreux, Switzerland, where Deep Purple were recording the album when the Montreux Casino was burned to the ground during a Frank Zappa concert, neither the song, nor its timeless riff, should need any further description. However, Machine Head was anything but a one-trick pony, introducing the bona fide classic opener "Highway Star," which epitomized all of Deep Purple's intensity and versatility while featuring perhaps the greatest soloing duel ever between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and organist Jon Lord. Also in top form was singer Ian Gillan, who crooned and exploded with amazing power and range throughout to establish himself once and for all as one of the finest voices of his generation, bar none. Yes, the plodding shuffle of "Maybe I'm a Leo" shows some signs of age, but punchy singles "Pictures of Home" and "Never Before" remain as vital as ever, displaying Purple at their melodic best. And finally, the spectacular "Space Truckin'" drove Machine Head home with yet another tremendous Blackmore riff, providing a fitting conclusion to one of the essential hard rock albums of all time. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Rock - Released March 8, 2010 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Eagle Rock - Eagle Records

This is a record that even those who aren't Deep Purple fans can listen to two or three times in one sitting -- but then, this wasn't much like any other album that the group ever issued. Actually, Deep Purple was highly prized for many years by fans of progressive rock, and for good reason. The group was going through a transition -- original lead singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper would be voted out of the lineup soon after the album was finished (although they weren't told about it until three months later), organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore having perceived limitations in their work in terms of where each wanted to take the band. And between Lord's ever-greater ambitions toward fusing classical and rock and Blackmore's ever-bolder guitar attack, both of which began to coalesce with the session for Deep Purple in early 1969, the group managed to create an LP that combined heavy metal's early, raw excitement, intensity, and boldness with progressive rock's complexity and intellectual scope, and virtuosity on both levels. On "The Painter," "Why Didn't Rosemary?," and, especially, "Bird Has Flown," they strike a spellbinding balance between all of those elements, and Evans' work on the latter is one of the landmark vocal performances in progressive rock. "April," a three-part suite with orchestral accompaniment, is overall a match for such similar efforts by the Nice as the "Five Bridges Suite," and gets extra points for crediting its audience with the patience for a relatively long, moody developmental section and for including a serious orchestral interlude that does more than feature a pretty tune, exploiting the timbre of various instruments as well as the characteristics of the full ensemble. Additionally, the band turns in a very successful stripped-down, hard rock version of Donovan's "Lalena," with an organ break that shows Lord's debt to modern jazz as well as classical training. In all, amid all of those elements -- the orchestral accompaniment, harpsichord embellishments, and backward organ and drum tracks -- Deep Purple holds together astonishingly well as a great body of music. This is one of the most bracing progressive rock albums ever, and a successful vision of a musical path that the group might have taken but didn't. Ironically, the group's American label, Tetragrammaton Records, which was rapidly approaching bankruptcy, released this album a lot sooner than EMI did in England, but ran into trouble over the use of the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" on the cover; although it has been on display at the Vatican, the work was wrongly perceived as containing profane images and never stocked as widely in stores as it might've been. ~ Bruce Eder
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Hard Rock - Released July 7, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Pop - Released July 12, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Eagle Rock - Eagle Records

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Rock - Released September 23, 2014 | Eagle Rock - Eagle Records

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Rock - Released June 21, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Eagle Rock