Deep Purple's Jon Lord dies at 71

 
Jon Lord Jon Lord co-wrote many Deep Purple hits including Smoke On The Water

Jon Lord, the former keyboard player with heavy rock band Deep Purple, has died aged 71.

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.

He had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer since last August.

He died at the London Clinic on Monday, surrounded by family, a statement said. "Jon passes from Darkness to Light," it added.

Lord was influenced by classical, blues and jazz but played his Hammond organ with a rock attitude and helped Deep Purple become pioneers of progressive and heavy rock.

Tributes have been paid by musicians including one-time Deep Purple bandmate Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden and Anthrax.

Ex-Rage Against the Machine star Tom Morello wrote on Twitter: "RIP the great Jon Lord, Deep Purple's cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thankyou."

Former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman was a friend and said he was "a great fan".

Jon Lord Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969

"We were going to write and record an album before he become ill," he said. "His contribution to music and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him terribly."

Born in Leicester, Lord learned classical piano at an early age before being seduced by watching early rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis and jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

He could have chosen a career as an actor after receiving a drama school scholarship, but started playing in pub bands including short-lived outfits with future Rolling Stones star Ronnie Wood and his brother Art.

He also worked as a session musician and played piano on The Kinks' hit You Really Got Me.

After meeting guitarist Ritchie Blackmore through another project, the first incarnation of Deep Purple was born.

Lord's classical influence surfaced when Lord composed Concerto for Group and Orchestra, which the band performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969.

But the group refined their heavy rock sound and found mass success at the start of the 1970s with albums including Deep Purple in Rock and Machine Head.

In their classic years, the band also included Blackmore, singer Ian Gillan, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover.

Lord continued to compose classical works alongside the group's output and, when they split in 1976, he joined other groups Whitesnake and Paice, Ashton and Lord.

Jon Lord Lord continued to compose classical works after leaving the group in 2002

Deep Purple reformed in 1984 and resumed at the height of their commercial prowess, playing to tens of thousands of fans around the world.

They sold a total of 150 million albums and Lord remained an ever-present amid numerous line-up changes until he left in 2002.

Still composing, he had signed to a classical music label and performed a concert to mark the 30th anniversary of Concerto for Group and Orchestra.

"Thirty years later the piece came back and changed my life again... It gave me the courage to step outside and carve a career for myself outside the band," he told an interviewer.

He broke the news of his cancer diagnosis on his website last year, telling fans he would continue to write music as part of his therapy.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 286.

    Another GREAT musician gone to that ever expanding Rock Band up there, his tallent will be greatly missed.
    RIP Jon and thank you for all the great music and memories you leave us.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 285.

    Like so many people adding their thoughts today, Jon Lord was a great influence musically during my teenage years, the first albums I bought with my paper round money and the background to many a party. Thanks for the music, he brought joy to millions, a fitting ephitaph

    He will be be sorely missed, my thoughts are with his family and friends.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 284.

    I have been a huge Deep Purple since the early '70s and Jon's death was a great shock. His epic Hammond sound on Made In Japan still sends a tingle down my spine. He was, and will remain, the greatest keyboard player in rock history. RIP Jon Lord.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 283.

    I believe he was one of a kind musician in all rock history. When i was a young student, i was fool with tons of dreams. I was buying original albums for them to know that they have fans here also… It was 1999 when they had chance to visit Istanbul – Turkey and i will never forget that night. I feel like i have lost one of my friend who is living far far away me. Rest in Peace Jon Lord.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 282.

    Yet another sad day for me.... great musician, nice man so sad for Jon's family. Bon voyage mate.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 281.

    #32 "Very sad news, but comments on a keyboard player from a half forgotten band of over a third of a century back, but none on weightier news stories like Theresa May's performance in the commons today, not to mention many other comment-worthy items?"

    Which half-forgotten band are you talking about? Deep Purple are still going strong!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 280.

    Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were my heroes in the 70's. Made in Japan along with Physical Graffiti got me through O' and A'Levels. Very sad day...RIP the great Jon Lord!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 279.

    Jon Lord's keyboard solo in the studio version of Highway Star is one of the greatest moments in recorded music. It is the definition of what rock music is.Very annoyed by his passing.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 278.

    I met Jon at a hotel in Bristol before a Whitesnake gig in the late seventies and discussed his classical music with him, duly getting Sarabande, Windows and Gemini Suite LP covers signed. A member of the road crew interrupted saying 'Come on Jon we gotta go'. To which Jon said 'Oy! I'm talking to this guy, do you mind?'
    A wonderful musician and a gentlemen. He was a great influence on my life...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 277.

    Thank you Jon for all the great music, it made being a teenager in the 70's
    very special. In the light now, and you will be much missed.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 276.

    I didn't know that he had collaborated with Tony Iommi, Jason Newsted, Ian Gillan and Nicko McBrain on an album recently. Tony Iommi is currently getting treatment for Lymphoma. Hope he pulls through ok. I couldn't bare another one this year.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 275.

    Jon was LORD of keyboard, the opening bars of "Child in time", " Perfect Strangers" or the adrenaline pushing "Highway Star" and many others will be well remembered. Both classical & rock fraternity will miss him.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 274.

    Sweet child in time.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 273.

    It's incredible. It must have been what you may call a premonition. Yesterday I listened to a lot of Deep Purple music. He was a master in his job. Amazing musician. Thanks for the great music over the years. RIP Jon.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 272.

    This is getting all too much. My heroes of music and comedy passing on from this world. As a teenager, I got my own bedroom (and...you know) because of Deep Purple. Thanks for bringing pure magic to the world. Rock In Peace.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 271.

    RIP Jon a very sad day, my thoughts are with your family.

    your music will live on .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 270.

    What sad news .As a youngster gowing up in the early 70's and listening to very average pop music the impact of one live album Made In Japan was dramatic. The massive sound achieved by Jon with his Hammond organ was uplifting !
    Just find a copy or download a copy of Lazy to get a feeling for the music but rember to turn the volume up and enjoy!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 269.

    Made in Japan was the first album I ever owned and remains, in my opinion, one of the the greatest albums ever committed to vinyl. The outrageous intro to Lazy, and the haunting melody of Child in Time almost never fail to make me laugh and cry respectively, even now. I saw them live on the Slaves and Masters tour and he and the band blew me away. Another legend passes on. Goodbye Jon.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 268.

    My Sweet Lord. You will be missed by all your fans who loved your fantastic keyboard playing. You were the captain of the ship in my eyes. Your music will live on for ever. RIP John

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 267.

    I remember the album Machinehead when I was at school. My mates Dad had just bought the latest Bang and Olufson stereo which we completely abused for 6 long weeks of Summer holidays.Pure heaven listening to the track Lazy over and over again. The music world has lost a true genius in Jon Lord. R.I.P.

 

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