Archive and Search
« Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Shows Will Happen | Main | The Black Tora EP 'Raise Your Fists' Will Rock »

Farewell Jon Lord

Jon Lord, the keyboardist for Deep Purple, died Monday at age 71. He was battling pancreatic cancer.

Lord also played in Whitesnake and Paice, Ashton and Lord.

Joe Lynn Turner, of Deep Purple and Rainbow, sent this statement regarding his friend Jon Lord.

"I am deeply saddened about the passing of Jon Lord...I am proud and humbled to have known him both personally and professionally ...and blessed to share a special time with him. He was a true and gifted original...a gentleman of the industry ...and he shall be greatly missed! My sincerest sympathies to his family and relations...and to all of us who have lost one of the great musicians of our time!...R.I.P. Jon...may God hold you in his hands."

The Hollywood Reporter has a beautiful write-up on Lord, including a detailed musical history.

Reader Comments (18)

Devastating! This guy wrote the book on making Keyboards sound cool in Heavy Metal!

RIP, Jon Lord! God Bless and Godspeed! Heaven just got one heckuva keyboardist on that great big pipe organ in the sky! Prayers for him, his family and friends and all in his band who are irreparably saddened by his passing tonight.
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Another sad day.. Deep Purple were a big influence.
R.I.P. Jon Lord
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoy
this is incredibly sad. It cannot be overstated how talented this man was. He is truly the measuring stick by which all other heavy keyboard players are judged. His hammond organ sound was every bit as menacing and thick as Blackmoore's guitar, not to mention that he was also a gifted classical player as well. This is a huge loss.
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob
I am especially sad to hear of Jon Lord's passing. One of the very first concerts I attended was Deep Purple on the "Come Taste The Band" tour, (w/ Tommy Bolin on guitar).

Jon was a rare pioneer, one of the few that could really rock out on the Hammond B3 organ. And I believe he was the first to run them thru Marshall amps! He was also an exceptional songwriter, giving the world such classics as "Burn", "My Woman From Tokyo", & of course, "Smoke On the Water".

During the reunion for "Perfect Strangers" in 1984, I was fortunate enough to get to know Jon, thru my friend "Cookie", who was Richie Blackmore's guitar tech. Jon has a friendly, extremely literate musician, with a wicked sense of humor. I'm so happy to have gotten to know him.

"My Woman From Tokyo" - Last Concert In Japan 76 -
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Listen to the man's work on "Highway Star" and tell me that he wasn't the originator of metal keybords. RIP and thanks for the killer tunes Jon.
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Definitely a sad day. I'll never forget hearing Deep Purple for the first time and thinking now this show's how keyboards can rock! Another pioneer gone. He certainly will not be forgotten.
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVelonese
From hearing the strains of "Hush", "Kentucky Woman", "Smoke On the Water", "My Woman From Tokyo", "Highway Star" and "Space Truckin'" for the first time as a kid on AM and FM Radio, it was not only Blackmore who stood out.

And though all the other members of Purple stood out, perhaps it was Lord who did so the must, giving Blackmore a run for his money with every solo.

Lord, arguably more than any other Rock Keyboardist, made the keyboard solo something you actually WANT to listen to, not something you have to sit through until the guitar lead.

I almost think Blackmore set the whole Deep Purple thing that way and, in a way, it backfired on him, letting Lord "go first" in the "jam structure" of most of their songs, but instead, found a more than worthy adversary who rivaled him on more than one occasion -- one of many cases in point: Lord's solo in "Child In Time" from "Live in Europe".

And, of course there's "Lazy" from "Machine Head", which I first heard in my buddy's room just two years before we became punkrockers (think the classic punk/new wave outfit, The Stranglers, would have even existed had Lord not captured our collective Rock & Roll imagination?) and repeatedly on WGTB, Georgetown University's long gone College Radio Station. That intro! That solo! That Genius! That John Lord!

I remember one of my great bosses, who was a true mentor to me, telling me he was dying of cancer. He was a serious stereo buff, at one point, owning a $50,000 stereo (1996 Dollars!!!). He said one of the last things on his bucket list was to go up to Singer Sound (ultra high end by appointment only high fidelity store) in Manhattan.

And what did he want to crank on what we were told was a $100,000 stereo? "Highway Star" (always my favorite), "Lazy" and, of course, "Smoke On The Water". I did everything I could to hold back the tears as this guy was getting one of his last doses of Rock and Roll.

Check out he way he would flip back that Marshalized Hammond in many of the Purple clips on YouTube like a modern day Jerry Lee Lewis might have. Lord simultaneously covered and broke more ground of Rock and Roll History on that keyboard in one solo than most accomplish in a lifetime.

Also read Lord's New York Times Obituary (always the benchmark for thorough, well written obituaries) to really get a proper picture of the man and his passion.

And watch Lord in action at perhaps his craziest during one of Purple's most classic performances of "Highway Star" from Tokyo in 1976 with Coverdale on vocals and Bolin on guitar. It doesn't matter if Bolin half as*ses the guitar solo. This vintage promo video is 110% bada*s and the biggest reason just may be Lord's performance. Absolutely WILD!
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Correction: YouTube -- "Deep Purple - Highway Star Live 1975" -- not 1976 from the live video, "Deep Purple Rises Over Japan". This was Deep Purple MK IV.
July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Metalboy, as always brings up some very important points many would benefit looking in to.

Deep Purple MK IV :

Jon Lord:Hammond B3 Organ
Ian Paice: Drums
Tommy Bolin: Lead Guitar
Glenn Hughes: Bass & occasional lead vocals
David Coverdale: Lead Vocals

Could there be a lineup that contains more of the cornerstones of important rock & glam influences than this?

While Lord & Paice were the bedrock of ever Deep Purple lineup, it was Bolin, Hughes, & Coverdale, who as replacements for Richie Blackmore, Roger Glover, & Ian Gillan, more than just equalled, & in many ways, surpassed their predecessors in the band.
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Yeah, Ace! In some ways, Purple IV rivaled the Blackmore line-ups. Though Bolin was unfortunately trashed most of the time, there were occasions where he gave Blackmore a run for his money.

The Mark IV line-up was shaggier and a little bit edgier than the earlier line-ups. Just check out that live clip from Japan. This is, pardon the expression, C*ck Rock at it's finest! And their's Lord right in the thick of it, mid seventies winged shag haircut and all, goin' frickin' off!
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
While it's true that Tommy Bolin's substance abuse issues did plague him, he was every bit the guitarist Richie Blackmore was.
I'll be one of the first to admit to being a huge Tommy Bolin fan, not only with Purple, but his solo works as well.

And for the latter day glam fans, Motley Crue covered Tommy Bolin's "Teaser" from his first solo LP. If that's not a glam stamp of approval, I don't know what is! (too bad they didn't really do it justice...) Check out Tommy's version,
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Agree with Ace and MB. Bolin was an underrated guitarist.I saw Rainbow 3 times back in the day, (as I based a lot of my playing style back then on Ritchie and his use of the various modes ). And Tommy stepped right into Purple for Blackmore,and they never missed a beat.

And MB is correct in that Jon's playing actually outshined Ritchie's a lot of times in Purple,and that's saying something about the man's musical chops.
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Cool, Gary. I was just watchin' my Deep Purple Live "Import DVDs in honor of Lord and what you point out about Blackmore is so true. Fact is, I didn't see one missed note in Blackmore's leads.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page is still my fave, but as incredible as he was in his performances captured in "The Song Remains The Same" movie or the stuff on "DVD", he would miss notes left and right, even at his amazing best.

Not so, Blackmore, who's permanent dead pan scowl may have been an indication he just simply wouldn't allow himself to make any such slip during a guitar lead for fear of self-flagellation with a guitar string if he did!

And for that, it is one of The Biggest Rock & Roll Crimes of the Century that Blackmore just simply wasn't willing to juggle his acoustic Renaissance Fair appearances with the occasional Deep Purple performance.

Now with Lord gone, any hopes for a perfect reunion have been dashed forever, as Lord could have given Blackmore one more last run for his money.
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Oh, and Ace, regarding Bolin, another Rock Soldier fallen to needle bayonettes, I've got a solo record or two of his on vinyl, if you can believe it, that I bought back in the day. He was incredible. I guess he's up there jammin' with Lord now!

And as far as Religion AND Rock & Roll is concerned, now there are TWO Lords that can be worshipped up there!
July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
MB! 2 GREAT metaphors there! Bolin was definitely a Rock Soldier felled by a needle bayonette. (Kids, DON'T do drugs!)

Tommy got around, studio-wise, as he was a very "in demand" session cat, along with his time in Energy & the James Gang.

One of his more interesting (although jazzier) guest appearances was on Alphonse Mouszon's '74 "Mind Transplant".

I got the opportunity to work with Alphonse on his "Survivor" album ( I did some of the engineering on it ) and all we did was talk about how great a player Bolin was. He was totally respected by everyone he ever played with.

Aside from his own 2 solo works while he was alive, "Teaser" & "Private Eyes" , there is the essential "The Ultimate" box that Geffen put out, & just recently, "Great Gypsy Soul" was released with amazing new mixes & some incredible bits of Tommy's work. Well worth finding.
July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I agree with 'Ace' & 'MetalBoy' on Tommy Bolin. I have "Teaser", "Private Eyes" & "The Ultimate" all on albums. I also have sereral bootlegs and demos {solo and Purple} GREAT MATERIAL!!! I love the live version of 'WILD DOGS' Deep Purple with Tommy Bolin - Wild Dogs - Last Concert In Japan
July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoy
Let's not forget bolin's amazing work on the billy Cobham album, Spectrum. Listen to the tune Quadrant Four -- phenomenal playing from Bolin, plus you get to hear where Van Halen got the idea for the beginning of Hot for Teacher.
July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Bob, Good call! "Spectrum" is a great album, & "Quadrant Four" is constantly sighted as one of Tommy's best works.

I'm with Roy, "Wild Dogs" is one of my favorite songs of all time!

I can't stress enough, how worth it is, for anyone to check out Tommy's solo LP's . And "Great Gypsy Soul" that was just released is also search worthy!
July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.