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Deep Purple’s – Ritchie Blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore may be known as one of the bad boys of rock and roll, but he and the band he founded, Deep Purple, sure know how to rock. Blackmore was born on April 14, 1945 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England. When he was 11 years old, he wanted a guitar, and his father obliged – under a certain condition. The condition was that he had to have proper training. This lead to the young man taking classical guitar lessons for a year. He was inspired by a variety of guitarists, both in and outside of rock and roll – Tommy Steele, Elvis Presley, Duane Eddy, then Hank B Marvin, then Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, James Burton, and Les Paul. He listened to Buddy Holly, but got away from listening to rock and roll after that, disliking the vocal-based repertoire of acts like The Beatles and The Hollies. The blues was not his favorite genre either, although he did listen to B.B. King and had tremendous respect for the vocals of Albert King. Blackmore worked in the backing band for Screaming Lord Sutch and then in the session band The Outlaws. Deep Purple formed in 1968, and the band lived together in a large mansionin England, which was seemingly haunted. At that point, the band lacked direction, though they did score a top 5 hit with a cover of Joe South’s “Hush”. Things began to shift in 1970 when they recruited Ian Gillan as their new lead singer. This lead to several #1 albums in the UK, including the electrifying mega-classic Machine Head, featuring iconic tracks like the unchained “Highway Star” and the legendary “Smoke On the Water” which has been cited by some as maybe the greatest guitar riff ever written – courtesy, of course, of Ritchie Blackmore, a riff-machine.

Born This Week in Rock History

4/8/1944 – Keef Hartley (Drums, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Keef Hartley Band)
4/8/1947 – Steve Howe (Guitar, Yes)
4/8/1962 – Izzy Stradlin (Guitar, Guns N’ Roses)
4/8/1963 – Julian Lennon (Rock Singer-Songwriter)
4/9/1932 – Carl Perkins (Rock and Roll Singer-Songwriter)
4/10/1947 – Bunny Livingston (Percussion, Bob Marley & The Wailers)
4/12/1940 – Herbie Hancock (Jazz Pianist)
4/12/1944 – John Kay (Lead Vocals & Guitar, Steppenwolf)
4/13/1944 – Jack Casady (Bass, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)
4/13/1946 – Al Green (Soul Singer-Songwriter)
4/14/1945 – Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar, Deep Purple)


Died This Week in Roc History

4/9/1988 – Dave Prater (Vocals, Sam and Dave)
4/10/1958 – Chuck Willis (Blues Singer-Songwriter)
4/13/2005 – Johnnie Johnson (Blues and Rock and Roll Pianist)


Music Releases and Top of the Charts:

4/8/1977 – The Clash by The Clash is released
4/9/1983 – David Bowie hits #1 with “Let’s Dance” featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan
4/10/1973 – Led Zeppelin’s LP Houses Of The Holy is certified gold
4/10/1976 – Peter Frampton hits #1 with Frampton Comes Alive
4/11/1970 – The Beatles’ “Let It Be” hits #1
4/12/1954 – Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle, And Roll” was released
4/13/1963 – The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ USA” was released
4/13/1974 – Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets” hits #1
4/13/1974 – Paul McCartney and Wings’ LP Band On The Run hits #1

This Week in Rock History: 

4/8/1994 – The RIAA proclaims that Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” is now the fourth best-selling album in US history, passing the 13 million copies sold mark in that country. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen, it’s pretty good.

4/8/2006 – The Rolling Stones make their mainland China debut in Shanghai! Setlist opens with “Start Me Up” and the encore was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Bringin’ all the hits! However, three songs were banned from being played: Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, and Rough Justice. Boo!

4/9/1966 –  During a Yardbirds show in Marseilles, France, guitarist Jeff Beck collapses from exhaustion; eleven years later to the day, his former bandmate Jimmy Page causes the end of a Led Zeppelin gig in Chicago when he’s struck down by stomach cramps. No record of former Yardbird Eric Clapton’s having a show-ending medical problem on April 9th.

4/9/1967 –  The Doors play before their first large crowd when they appear (along with Jefferson Airplane) in front of 3,000 at a show in Venice, CA. No known complete setlist exists, although reports that the band played “When the Music’s Over” and “Back Door Man” during the show.

4/9/1973 –  Queen play their first show since being signed, a “showcase” gig at London’s Marquee Club.

4/10/1959- Leo Fender patents the successor to his popular “Telecaster” model of electric guitar, this time called the “Stratocaster.”And isn’t she beeeeyouuuutiful?

4/10/1970 – The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek drags Jim Morrison off the stage after the Diyonisian frontman asks the audience, “Would you like to see my genitals?” The theater management then quickly cut power. No word on the audience’s response.

4/10/1970 – Paul McCartney announces the end of The Beatles. In his statement he said, “I have no future plans to record or appear with The Beatles again, or to write any music with John.”

4 / 11 / 1961- New York City gets its first introduction to a young folksinger named Bob Dylan when he makes his live Gotham debut at Gerde’s Folk City, opening for John Lee Hooker and performing a new song entitled “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Mr. Dylan would go on to have a nice career.

4/11/1968 – Janis Joplin makes her television debut when Big Brother and the Holding Company perform on ABC-TV’s variety show Hollywood Palace.

4/12/1961 – At tonight’s Grammy ceremonies, Ray Charles takes home four awards, including a Best Male Vocal for “Georgia On My Mind.”

4/12/1973 – Stevie Wonder becomes one of the first rock stars to appear on PBS-TV’s Sesame Street.

4/14/1970 – Creedence Clearwater Revival makes their live UK debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

 Which of these events do you think was most important for rock culture? Did we miss anything? Leave us a note in the comments, or leave us a message on Facebook at or on Twitter at @tributapparel!