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Deep Purple – Machine Head (1972)

November 17, 2013

[Album 262/1001]220px-Machine_Head_album_cover

Smoke on the Water‘s not so bad after all.

After seeing this album on another strong episode of Classic Albums, I have a new appreciation for the tune.  For most of my life, I pictured this song up there with Stairway to Heaven on the list of songs guitar stores forbid amateur guitarists from playing.

As it turns out, in the majority of the cases, the aspiring guitarists who insist on playing the riff aren’t playing it correctly.  It’s supposed to be plucked, not strummed!

What those guitarists are inadvertently trying to replicate is actually the sound of Jon Lord’s Hammond organ, which at times sounds like an overdriven guitar.  For many, Deep Purple is part of a Golden Age of music (along with early Zeppelin & Sabbath) with Lord’s often frantic organ work setting Purple apart from its contemporaries.  His moustache was nothing to sneeze at either.

There may be some Classic Albums bias at work, as once I see something dissected, it’s tough not to appreciate its composition.  There are seven tunes on the original Machine Head release, not a miss in the bunch.

My thoughts overall?  To quote Highway Star, “I love it, I need it!”

Though it’s the third line of the chorus that is perhaps most important, “I seed it.”  It may be a convenient rhyme/grammatically incorrect tense of ‘see’ or ‘seen’ to fit with ‘need.’  However, if the intention was ‘seed’ as in planting seeds, mission accomplished.  This album’s influence on future hard rock & heavy metal is likely difficult to quantify.

Deluxe edition collector friends – what reissue(s) of this one would you recommend?


From → 1970s

  1. Great post, I haven’t heard Smoke on the water in ages.

    • Nor had I – it’s one of those songs like Blind Melon’s “No Rain” that I enjoy hearing/playing at singalongs but I haven’t heard the studio version in a while!

  2. This album was in constant rotation throughout my high school years, Just found a vinyl copy and you are totally right there is not a bad song on it however “Lazy” is still my Fav

    • An excellent choice – it was interesting for me to see that Never Before was the first single off the album. 41 years later, most listeners would probably guess the song between it and Lazy would likely have been the lead single!

  3. Do you have a surround sound setup at home? Then I recommend THIS monster release:

    If not the 2 CD edition will suit your needs real fine.

    • I like the looks of that purple record! No surround sound alas but that sounds like a great collection. Funny, I ‘liked’ your post months ago but now have a whole new appreciation for it after reviewing it myself!

      • I know I’m a sucker for coloured vinyl. Actually — SPOILER! — tomorrow I’m featuring ANOTHER purple record…

        That same situation happens to me all the time! I often like to go back and re-read old reviews after listening to the album again. I’m sure I missed plenty of yours though, when did you start this series?

      • I started on December 1, 2011 – which gives me until November 30, 2021 to complete. So I’m ahead of the pace so far but I know it’s going to get tough around album #600 or so!

      • Gives me some back tracking to do, to see what you’ve already covered!

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