Jon Lord co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 and co-wrote many of the group's songs including Smoke On The Water. He also played with bands including Whitesnake.
Jon Lord was born in Leicester on 9 June 1941 to his parents Miriam (1912–1995, née Hudson) and Reg. He studied classical piano from the age of five, and those influences are a recurring trademark in his work. His influences range from Bach (a constant connection in his music and his keyboard improvisation) to Medieval popular music and the English tradition of Edward Elgar. He attended Wyggeston Grammar School for Boyswhere he gained an A-level in music and then worked as a clerk in a solicitor's office for two years.
Simultaneously, Lord absorbed the blues sounds that played a key part in his rock career, principally the raw sounds of the great American blues organists Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and "Brother" Jack McDuff ("Rock Candy"), as well as the stage showmanship of Jerry Lee Lewis. The jazz-blues organ sounds coming from those musicians in the 1950s and 1960s, using the trademark blues-organ sound of the Hammond organ (B3 and C3 models) and combining it with the Leslie speaker system (the well-known Hammond-Leslie speaker combo), were seminal influences. Lord has also stated that he was heavily influenced by the organ-based progressive rock played by Vanilla Fudge after seeing that band perform in the UK in 1967. Keyboard contemporaries in the 1970s Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman generally steered away from the blues or only showcased it as a novelty, but Lord embraced it fully into his style.
Lord moved to London in 1959/60, intent on an acting career and enrolling at the Central School of Speech and Drama, in London's Swiss Cottage. Small parts followed and Lord continued playing piano and organ in clubs and as a session musician to make ends meet.
Like so many of the 70s hard rock aristocracy, Lord had spent much of the 60s kicking around London's beat, blues and sessions scenes, with the result that his signature sound – aggressive, pyrotechnic – was fully formed before Deep Purple were. Santa Barbara Machine Head featured Ronnie Wood on guitar, and the two-and-a-half-minutes here are the heavy blues – often the sludgiest of genres – played with vim and attack, Lord soloing over the riff from start to finish. It's not perfect, but it's not hard to see why Ritchie Blackmore – who attacked his guitar the same way Lord attacked his organ – would see a musical partner in Lord.
In 1959, he moved to London to pursue acting, which he studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He played the piano and Hammond organ in clubs to pay the bills, initially with a jazz band called the Bill Ashton Combo and then with Red Bludd's Bluesicians, featuring the vocalist Art Wood. While recording occasional sessions (he contributed keyboards to the Kinks' 1964 hit You Really Got Me), Lord pursued pop success in the Art Wood Combo, who later renamed themselves the Artwoods and appeared on TV. I Take What I Want was the group's only charting single.
Lord discovered his trademark sound when he formed Santa Barbara Machine Head, which also featured Wood's brother and future Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood. The key to this group's success was its powerful, organ- and guitar-driven formula, which pointed at the future musical recipe of Deep Purple, and also the meeting of Lord and the bassist Nick Simper. The duo were the backbone of Deep Purple, who formed when the businessman and manager Tony Edwards invested in the new group and auditioned the cream of London's young talent – the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, the singer Rod Evans and the drummer Ian Paice among them. This quintet formed Purple's first lineup in 1968.
Deep Purple spent the following eight years on a path that took them around the world on several occasions, playing the world's largest stadiums and issuing a series of classic LPs – In Rock (1970), Fireball (1971), Machine Head (1972) and Burn (1974) among them. Personnel came and went, but Lord and Paice remained constant members until the group's dissolution amid a haze of drug addiction and exhaustion in 1976.
Of the great British rock bands of the 70s, only Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and the Stones were able to operate on as grand a scale: unlike any of those groups, Deep Purple took regular time out to indulge in classical projects initiated and directed by Lord. The most notable of these was the live Concerto for Group and Orchestra
It was this equal passion for rock bombast and classical finesse that made Lord such an unusual musician. During Deep Purple's glory days, he often infused the songs with classical influences, as in the song April from the group's eponymous album in 1969. His organ playing, which often counterpointed Blackmore's virtuoso lead guitar, was unique and often copied.
After the split, Lord formed a group with the rock singer Tony Ashton and Deep Purple's ex-drummer Paice entitled Paice, Ashton & Lord. They released one album, Malice in Wonderland, in 1977. He then joined Whitesnake, the band formed by Deep Purple's last lead singer, David Coverdale. This group, not to be confused with the 1980s reincarnation that played stadium rock and met with huge success, was an earthy, blues-rock band in which Lord's organ playing was an essential element. His stint in Whitesnake ended when he rejoined a reformed lineup of Deep Purple in 1984 alongside Blackmore, Paice, the singer Ian Gillan and the bassist Roger Glover.
Many solo projects and collaborations came during and between Lord's membership of these bands, including Before I Forget (1982), which featured classical piano music; a commission to compose the soundtrack of Central Television's 1984 series The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady; and guest spots on albums by rock luminaries such as Lord's Oxfordshire neighbour George Harrison and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.
Eight more years of recording and tours followed before Lord felt he had had enough of life on the road. In a letter to his bandmates in 2002, he requested that Deep Purple take a year off. When this request was declined, he amicably left the group. Solo projects followed, including a collaboration in 2004 with sometime Abba singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and the formation of a blues band, Hoochie Coochie Men, three years later. In 2010, Lord was made an honorary fellow of Stevenson College, Edinburgh, and the following year he was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by the University of Leicester.
Jon Lord was married to Vickie Lord, the twin sister of Ian Paice's wife, Jackie. The twin girls were the daughters of Frank Gibbs, owner of the Oakley House Country Club, Brewood, Staffs. They both live in the United Kingdom. He had two daughters, Amy, with Vickie, and Sara, with his first wife Judith Feldman, to whom he was married from 1969 to 1981.
He died at the London Clinic on Monday, surrounded by family, a statement said. "Jon passes from Darkness to Light," it added.
BBC, The Guardian, Wkipedia
Source: wikipedia.org, nekropole.info
|Relation name||Relation type||Description|
|9||Sir Malcolm Arnold||Coworker|
|11||Ronnie James Dio||Coworker|