History, Hits & Highlights '68-'76 (DVD)

Deep Purple

Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2009


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


It is time for The Deep Purple faithful to gather; the group has raided the vaults once again. History, Hits & Highlights: ’68-’76 traces the group’s history from their beginnings to 1976, which includes the first four incarnations of the band.

Disc one begins with a twenty minute documentary. Interviews with the group members, which were recorded decades ago now, are interspersed with performance clips.

The original group, which their fans call Mark I, is represented by three performances here. “Help” is the first song and shows an impossibly young Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore is almost unrecognizable. Their first hit, “Hush,” is taken from an old Playboy After Dark television show. Rod Evans is the vocalist and his pop approach runs counter to the sound and style Deep Purple would become famous for (and his bright yellow pants don’t help). The band eventually fired him and bassist Nick Simper early in 1969. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The classic Mark II line-up is represented by 14 songs on this release. Singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover are now on board and Deep Purple would rise to the very top echelon of hard rock bands. Songs such as “Speed King,” “Black Night,” “Strange Kind Of Woman,” “Highway Star,” and “Smoke On The Water” are all presented live from 1969-1973. Their sound is instantly recognizable and the songs remain a part of their stage act close to four decades later. These songs are part of one of the best catalogues in hard rock history.

Mark III, which spanned from 1973-1975, finds David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes replacing Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. The highlight of this era is a live rendition of “Burn,” which is representative of their evolving sound.

Mark IV (1975-1976) lasted less than a year as Tommy Bolin took over the lead guitar duties after Ritchie Blackmore’s abrupt departure. Bolin’s style never really fit that of Deep Purple’s and this is shown by the forgettable “Love Child” and “You Keep On Moving,” which are the only two tracks from this time period.

Disc two follows the same format as the first, presenting the chronological development of the group. Rare performances from television shows and concerts see the light of day on this DVD, some for the first time. Highlights include “Wring That Neck” from the Bilzen Jazz Festival Of 1969, “Mandrake Root” from a Paris concert in 1970, and a New Zealand TV documentary recorded in November of 1975.

History, Hits, & Highlights ’68-’76 is sure to please any hardcore aficionado of Deep Purple, but it may be a little too much for the casual fan. It is, however, a well-constructed and presented set. The only handicap is due to the age of some of the performances, since recording and video standards were primitive when compared to today.

Hopefully, this DVD set will be the first of several as it only traces the first eight years of the group’s existence. It manages to walk a fine line between historic and interesting and is definitely worth 287 minutes of you time.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 David Bowling 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 Eagle Rock Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.