How David Bowie kept Deep Purple from crumbling into dust


“(David Bowie) lived with me when he was making Station to Station. He was always telling me, ‘Keep f***ing changing. Never stay the same. Never. Stay. The same.’

“Throw those leather pants away! Throw those boots away. Let me cut your f***ing hair! He was all about forever changing, and I’ve always done that, really. Some people don’t get it, and some people do.”

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That’s Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes on Bowie in an interview with Planet Rock. It turns out Bowie kept Hughes and keyboardist Jon Lord from hanging up their hats when Ritchie Blackmore quit the group in 1975.

Blackmore had just left the band after growing increasingly upset with their sound. He especially didn’t like their 1974 release “Stormbringer.” He dubbed the funky sound “shoeshine music,” and went off to explore a fusion of baroque music and hard rock.

Without Blackmore, Hughes wanted to go back to Trapeze and re-start the old group, but Bowie wouldn’t hear of it.

“Bowie was in my house, and he said, ‘You should go get a new guitar player who sounds way different to Ritchie, and maybe looks different.’ He kind of convinced me.

“I think Jon and I were going to throw the towel in, you know? But then David Bowie drove me down in his Mercedes to audition Tommy (Bolin). So Bowie had a lot to do with me going down there that day.

“And I fell in love with Tommy the moment I saw him, you know? I knew before he switched his f***ing amp on that he was going to kick my ass.”

Deep Purple’s new lineup without Blackmore saw the group produce “Come Taste the Band,” which was released in October of 1975. Though the group did eventually break up in 1976, “Come Taste the Band” wouldn’t have happened without Bowie’s influence. Bowie’s mandate to Hughes seemed to filter into the rest of his musical career, too. He constantly tried new things: new bands, new musical styles, old bands with new sounds and more.

“Am I the man who killed Deep Purple?” Hughes would say later. “I don’t think so. I think every band from that era, even if you look at Led Zeppelin, if you look at their first four albums, they’re extremely different from one another, and I’ve never made the same album twice.”

Indeed, throughout the rest of the ’70s and ’80s, Hughes was all over the map: playing in Black Sabbath, reuniting Trapeze, reunited Deep Purple, forming Hughes and Thrall and fighting a chronic drug problem.

Deep Purple will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. Bolin (who passed away of a drug overdose at age 25 in 1976) and Blackmore (who was banned by Deep Purple’s management) will be at the induction in spirit.

Photo Credit: By MrPanyGoff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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2 comments to “How David Bowie kept Deep Purple from crumbling into dust”
  1. Pingback: Appointment Viewing: A Brilliant Bowie Unplugged Performance | Rocknuts

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