Remembering Ritchie Blackmore’s Departure from Deep Purple

Monday, April 7, 2014
Remembering Ritchie Blackmore’s Departure from Deep Purple

If you’ve ever heard Deep Purple’s live album Mk III: The Final Concerts, then you’ve heard the band during their very last performance with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore before he decided he’d had quite enough of the band he’d helped to help to found. That performance took place 39 years ago today, at the Palais des Sports, in Paris.

While there seems to be little argument that Blackmore’s enthusiasm was muted at best during the gig, apparently none of the other members of Deep Purple were aware that the reason for his general indifference was that he’d already made plans to leave the band by the end of that particular tour. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, it becomes pretty obvious that he’d already checked out mentally: you can hear him toss the riffs for the songs "Still I'm Sad" and "Man On The Silver Mountain" – both of which would appear on Rainbow’s debut album – into the opening jam of “You Fool No One.”

In Blackmore’s defense, though, he did manage to ride the Deep Purple experience through three different line-ups of the band (that’s where the live album’s title comes from, if you’d been wondering), and we’ve put together a playlist to spotlight some of the highlights from all three of those eras. It’s also worth noting that the second of those lineups reunited in the mid-1980s to release a pair of albums – 1984’s Perfect Strangers and 1987’s The House of Blue Light – and then got back together again to record 1993’s The Battle Rages On… Just because they’re worth noting, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re worth listening to…which is our way of saying that, for newbies, the best starting point for Blackmore’s time with Deep Purple is probably always going to be the stuff from the ‘70s.