RIP Jon Lord
Keyboard player for Deep Purple and Whitesnake, 1941–2012
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: July 16th, 2012
“We’re as valid as anything by Beethoven.” —Jon Lord, speaking about Deep Purple
onathan Douglas Lord, founding member of the seminal British rock band Deep Purple, succumbed to pancreatic cancer today at the age of 71. Aside from his work with Deep Purple, which included co-writing the band’s biggest hit, “Smoke On the Water,” Lord was also a member of the ‘80s heavy metal band Whitesnake. Lord also composed and performed classical music, including collaboration with noted composer Eberhard Schoener.
Lord was born in Leicester on June 9, 1941 and began studying classical piano at age five. His first band was a jazz ensemble, the Bill Ashton Combo, and went on to play with a series of rock bands throughout the ‘60s. In 1967 Lord formed the band Santa Barbara Machine Head, which featured a young Ronnie Wood on guitar. Later that year he was introduced to Ritchie Blackmore and the two joined forces with Ian Paice and created a band called Roundabout, which was later renamed Deep Purple, after a song sung by Bing Crosby that was favored by Blackmore’s grandmother.
Lord played with Deep Purple from 1968 to 1976 and his Hammond organ playing was a crucial part of the band’s sound. He eventually began to add elements of classical music into Deep Purple’s blues-based rock, and in 1973 made the rather outlandish claim, “We’re as valid as anything by Beethoven.”
In 1978 Lord joined Whitesnake, with former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale. He remained with that band until 1984, and also released two solo albums during that period.
He joined the re-formed Deep Purple in 1984 and continued to record and tour with them until 2002. For the next 10 years he continued to record and perform music with a variety of artists.
Lord was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year and died at the London Clinic. A statement released by his representatives simply stated, “Jon passes from Darkness to Light.”