Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Deep Purple, Hush Album: Shades Of Deep Purple (1968)
- This was written by Joe South and first recorded by the country singer Billy Joe Royal in 1967. Joe South was a prominent session musician and songwriter; some of his other compositions include “Games People Play” and “Rose Garden.” South also wrote “Down in the Boondocks” for Royal, which was a #9 US hit in 1965.
- After Royal released his version, “Hush” was quickly recorded by many artists in a variety of styles. The song is about a guy who is so crazy in love that he’ll drop everything if he thinks she might be calling his name. Royal’s recording has a definite country feel, while Deep Purple used a heavy rock sound.
Other artists to record the song include Jimmy Frey, The Rubes, Killdozer, Dan Baird, Gotthard and Thin Lizzy. Kula Shaker had the biggest UK hit with their cover going to #2 in 1997.
- Joe South adapted the song from an old African American spiritual, which included the line: “Hush I thought I heard Jesus calling my name.”
- It was a cohort of producer Joe Meek, Rod Freeman, who taught Deep Purple this song. Keyboardist Jon Lord recalled to Mojo magazine January 2009: “Initially we thought it’s a bit too disco, or whatever the word was then. But Ritchie (Blackmore) said it would work if we toughened it up a bit.”
- This song has been in the following films: Apollo 11(1996), Isn’t She Great (2000), Beyond the Sea (2004), Children of Men (2006).
- e UK Charlatans lifted the organ riff on their 1990 UK hit “The Only One I Know” from this song.
- This was not a hit in Deep Purple’s native UK, though a re-recording made to celebrate their 20th anniversary reached a measly #62 in 1988.
- In 1997 British band Kula Shaker’s cover of this song peaked at #2 in the UK, bettering Deep Purple’s chart position by 60 places. Kula Shaker’s version featured in the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer.
- Jon Lord (from Mojo magazine): “The whacka thing on the organ was something I started doing in (his previous band) The Artwoods. I played it almost like a set of conga drums. The rhythm of Hush is like a samba.”
- The Deep Purple version was included on their first album and recorded with the band’s original lineup, which didn’t include lead singer Ian Gillan, who joined in 1969, replacing Rod Evans. The song is a fan favorite, but Gillan kept it off the setlists when he was in the band, since he wasn’t the original singer.
When Steve Morse joined Deep Purple on guitar in 1994, he pushed to bring the song back to their live shows, which they did. “We have a big improv section in there and it’s just a great feel from beginning to end for me,” Morse said in our 2014 interview. “And the lyrics are not even lyrics. It’s just ‘Na nana na na na nananana.’ It’s the most basic tune in the world, but to me Deep Purple got on the map as a hard rock band from doing that version of ‘Hush.’ So I love that. And we stretch that out pretty far live.”
- In the US, this was released on Tetragrammaton Records, which was co-owned by Bill Cosby.