One of the most recognizable riffs in rock history will blast from the Belly Up Aspen stage Monday, when English band Deep Purple plays the club. A performance of the band’s world-famous anthem, “Smoke on the Water,” is virtually assured.
Born in 1968, Deep Purple has gone through various lineup changes, as well as an eight-year hiatus and at least two reunions since the original iteration scored its first U.S. hit with a cover of Joe South’s “Hush” in ’68, off the debut album “Shades of Deep Purple.”
Fast forward to 1972 and the band’s sixth album, “Machine Head,” released by the band’s second and most commercially successful lineup: Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (lead guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass guitar) and Ian Paice (drums). Track 5 on the original vinyl release of “Machine Head” was the 5-minute, 40-second FM rock masterpiece, “Smoke on the Water,” with the opening, four-note melody that any kid with a guitar has quickly mastered ever since.
These days, Deep Purple’s lineup includes frontman Gillan, Glover on bass and Paice on drums (Paice is the only original member from the group’s 1968 formation), along with keyboardist Don Airey replacing Lord and lead guitarist Steve Morse, who first stepped into that role in 1994, according to the band’s website. The group is winding down a two-year tour in support of “Rapture of the Deep,” released in November 2005 on Eagle Records. The tour commenced in January 2006.