Written By Braddon S. Williams
Deep Purple: Made In Japan
Deep Purple didn’t even want to record a live album, but their record label prevailed, and we can thank them for their perseverance in the form of Made In Japan (1973), one of the greatest live albums in history.
At one point the listener can clearly hear lead vocalist Ian Gillan proclaim, “Can we have everything louder than everything else?” This turned out to be the recipe for the outstanding sound contained on the double LP.
In addition to the relative volume levels (Deep Purple were listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the world’s loudest band for a long time), the songs were stretched out from their studio versions to emphasize the musical wizardry of lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboard guru Jon Lord, and the titanium rhythm machine of Roger Glover on bass and Ian Paice on drums.
Seven killer Purple classics featured on Made In Japan, including a monster jam on Space Truckin’ that took up all of side 4, the definitive live version of the immortal Smoke On The Water, and incendiary opening song (Highway Star), the great call and response between Gillan’s voice and Blackmore’s guitar on the bluesy Strange Kind Of Woman, and Gillan’s vocals throughout Child In Time that range from the softest whispers to the throat shredding primal screams that were his trademark. Lord and Blackmore had some fun stretching out the intro to Lazy before the whole band came in and blew the minds of thousands of Japanese fans in person (and countless music fans on vinyl, cassette, CD, and streaming to the end of time). Even Paice got in on the party with a fusillade of drumming techniques on The Mule. Not bad for a band who didn’t really think a live album was that important for their career!