Jon Lord: God Of The Hammond Organ, June 9, 1941 – July 16, 2012
More and more of the people I grew up admiring are leaving us. In the last couple of weeks actor Ernest Borgnine, Encyclopedia Brown author Donald Sobol and director William Asher died and on Monday, July 16, 2012 the announcement of Jon Lord’s sudden death really hit home.
Lord who had been battling pancreatic cancer, died unexpectedly at the London Clinic of a pulmonary embolism. He leaves behind his second wife Vickie, their daughter, Amy, and Sara, his daughter with his first wife Judith Feldman whom he married in 1969 and divorced in 1981.
I grew up admiring Deep Purple and they have always been one of my favorite bands. I had seen them perform live which was a very festive and loud experience. After seeing them live I came away with the first hand knowledge that Jon Lord was without a doubt one of the most exciting and greatest rock keyboard players ever.
Being an extremely amateur musician myself, there are two things I wish I had the ability to do. One is to play stride style piano like James Johnson or Fats Waller and the other is to flawlessly play the guitar solo or keyboard solo to Deep Purple’s driving locomotive of a song, Highway Star.
Jon Lord was a classically trained musician and that training always came through in Deep Purple’s music. The structure of many of the bands songs are clearly classically influenced and this is due to the fact that both Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore drew a lot of their inspiration from the classical realm.
In rock n’ roll there are many talented composers that are not great performers. There are great live bands, without good original songs. Then, there are phenomenal studio bands who can’t cut it live. During the height of their fame in the 1970’s, I don’t think there was a more talented group of individuals playing together as a band than Deep Purple. What I mean is each individual was a virtuoso in his own right, a master at their instrument. Together they were able to write great songs, record them in the studio and play them effortlessly with an edge in front of a live audience as few rock bands could. To do any one of these three things well is an accomplishment. Deep Purple was in a rare class as they did all three. Continue reading