Deepest Purple: The Very Best Of Deep Purple

Deep Purple

Purple / Warner Brothers Records, 1980

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


To some people, Deep Purple was the epitomy of British hard rock in the 1970s. To this day, many of their songs still get overplayed on radio stations around America.

I think the first taste I got of Deep Purple that influenced me was in 1984, when Perfect Strangers came out. Soon after I got my license to drive, I went to the used record store, traded in some Culture Club albums, and walked out with a used copy of Perfect Strangers. Thus, the love affair began.

About ten years ago, I picked up Deepest Purple: The Very Best Of Deep Purple at what used to be Sound Warehouse. A compilation covering the classic years of the band, as well as the reign of two lead singers, this album is the definite starting point for anyone who wants to get into Ritchie Blackmore and company.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

A word of warning, though: I don't know if this was ever fixed via remastering, but the sound quality of this album is not the greatest. Then again, for recordings as early as 1972, it's not bad at all, and it doesn't detract from the ultimate enjoyment of the album, so why complain about it?

Deepest Purple is one of those albums I'd call the "ultimate driving album". Dusting this one off for the umpteenth time to review here, I found myself tooling to work well over the speed limit as Ian Gillan, Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover and Ian Paice hammered out "Highway Star". (To this day, the speedy guitar lick near the end of the song mesmerizes me; I've seen Steve Morse play it in concert, and I still can't figure out how it's done.) The other overplayed classic from the Machine Head era, "Smoke On The Water," closes the collection, and is still fun to listen to.

But what Deepest Purple does is help to introduce other songs that might not be as well-known to the casual fan. "Fireball" is a showcase for Paice's drumming (he, quite possibly, was one of the earliest double-bass drummers), and is also a song that should be getting more attention on the radio than it does. Likewise, "Black Night" and "Demon's Eye" are killer tracks that should inspire new fans to rush out and pick up the older albums like In Rock and Who Do We Think We Are.

But Gillan is not the only vocal star on Deepest Purple. Besides the "Mark II" version of the band, the "Mark III" edition (featuring David Coverdale as lead throat) gets its due time, with "Burn" and "Stormbringer" (from the albums of the same name). While Coverdale does a good job filling the shoes that some people didn't think could be filled back in 1973, Gillan still is the more natural voice to be fronting Deep Purple.

Deepest Purple does the job that all good "greatest hits" packages are supposed to do: they highlight the best work of a band and make the listener want to hear more. For the better part of 63 minutes, Deep Purple continues to shine on this album, and is time well worth spending... even if you already own every recording they've put out.

Rating: A-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Purple / Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.