Over the course of four different decades, Richie Blackmore was the driving force behind one of England’s first heavy metal bands, Deep Purple. As a founding member, Blackmore heralded the shift from psychedelic infused blues rock to something heavier, with more grit and propulsive drive. Blackmore’s guitar became the centrepiece, and, obviously, it took a while to get there.
The Mark I version of the Deep Purple lineup featured stylings that more accurately evoked the then-modern trends of psychedelic, baroque, and folk. It was Blackmore who pushed the band in a heavier direction, imploring Jon Lord to soup up his organ for maximum impact, moving away from the classical-inspired runs that Lord had previously explored.
Blackmore’s fingerprints are all over the band’s most celebrated work, but even Blackmore could admit that the band’s legacy largely rides on two albums, Deep Purple in Rock and Machine Head. The album in between, Fireball, was not among Blackmore’s favourites.
In an interview with writer Neil Jeffries in 1995, Blackmore groused about Fireball, calling the album “a complete flop, disastrous.” Blackmore went on to say that, “There was just nothing on it worthwhile talking about. I can’t even remember any of the songs”.
When goaded by Jeffries, Blackmore acknowledges a few tracks, but only reluctantly. “‘Demon’s Eye’ was like a riff; ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ was a spoof on country and western; ‘No No No’, to me, was bordering on banal. People liked the track ‘Fireball’, but that was just fast with a double bass drum. And an air-conditioning unit.”
Blackmore follows that up by calling Machine Head his favourite album by Deep Purple. Perhaps because it was fresh in his mind, or maybe just because he felt the need to promote his most recent material, Blackmore also called Stranger in Us All the best Rainbow album. Agree to disagree, Mr. Blackmore. Some of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the killer guitar solo from Rising cut ‘Stargazer’, thank you very much.
Check out Richie Blackmore’s least favourite Deep Purple album down below.