Keyboard player, Jon Lord, was crucial to the Deep Purple sound of the late sixties to mid seventies. Born in Leicester, he had studied classical music - a passion he retained all his life - but became inspired by the music that was coming out of America in the fifties by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and jazz organists Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff.
Lord developed his style to incorporate blues and jazz and played with bands such as The Artwoods, led by Art Wood, Ronnie's brother, in the early sixties. He also worked as a session musician, appearing on records such as The Kinks' classic You Really Got me in 1964.
He formed Deep Purple in 1968 with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer Rod Evans, bass player Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice. With this line up, the band had a hit with a cover of Joe South's Hush in 1968 and produced three albums - Shades Of Deep Purple, The Book Of Taliesyn and Deep Purple. Evans and Simper left the band in 1969 and were replaced by vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover.
This was the line up that achieved its international early seventies success with albums such as Deep Purple In Rock, Fireball and Machine Head. Lord's trademark keyboard style was crucial to the band's sound, combining his classical roots with blues and jazz flourishes, giving them an edge in comparison with others of the heavy rock genre. He retained his interest in classical music, composing his Concerto For Group And Orchestra in 1969, which the band performed at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Philharmonic.
Jon Lord sadly passed away today. His influence is considerable. This is Child In Time from 1970.