Jon Lord

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Jon Lord
For other people named Jon Lord, see Jon Lord (disam- and “Brother” Jack McDuff (“Rock Candy”), as well as
biguation).
the stage showmanship of Jerry Lee Lewis and performers like Buddy Holly, who he saw perform at the De
Montfort
Hall in Leicester in March 1958.[4] The jazzJohn Douglas “Jon” Lord (9 June 1941 – 16
blues organ style of black R&B organ players in the 1950s
July 2012)[1] was an English composer, pianist, and
Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work and 1960s, using the trademark blues-organ sound of
the Hammond organ (B3 and C3 models) and combinin fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially
with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ash- ing it with the Leslie speaker system (the well-known
ton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men. In Hammond-Leslie speaker combination), were seminal in1968 Lord co-founded Deep Purple, a hard rock band fluences on Lord. Lord also stated that he was heavily inof which he was regarded as the leader until 1970. To- fluenced by the organ-based progressive rock played by
gether with the other members, he collaborated on most Vanilla Fudge after seeing that band perform in Great
he
of his band’s most popular songs. He and drummer Ian Britain in 1967, and earlier by the personal direction
[5]
received
from
British
organ
pioneer
Graham
Bond.
Paice were the only continuous presence in the band during the period from 1968 to 1976, and also from when
it was reestablished in 1984 until Lord’s retirement from
Deep Purple in 2002. On 11 November 2010, he was
inducted as an Honorary Fellow of Stevenson College in
Edinburgh, Scotland. On 15 July 2011, he was awarded
an honorary Doctor of Music degree at De Montfort Hall
by the University of Leicester.

1
1.1

1.2 Move to London
Lord moved to London in 1959–60, intent on an acting
career and enrolling at the Central School of Speech and
Drama, in London’s Swiss Cottage. Following a celebrated student rebellion he became a founder of Drama
Centre London, from where he graduated in 1964. Small
acting parts followed, and Lord continued playing the piano and the organ in nightclubs and as a session musician
to earn a living. He started his band career in London
in 1960 with the jazz ensemble The Bill Ashton Combo.
Ashton became a key figure in jazz education in Britain,
creating what later became the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Between 1960 and 1963, Lord and Ashton both
moved on to Red Bludd’s Bluesicians (also known as The
Don Wilson Quartet), the latter of which featured the
singer Arthur “Art” Wood, brother of guitarist Ronnie
Wood. Wood had previously sung with Alexis Korner's
Blues Incorporated and was a junior figure in the British
blues movement. In this period, Lord’s session credits included playing the keyboards in "You Really Got Me",
The Kinks number one hit of 1964 however in a Guitar
World interview Ray Davies of The Kinks stated it was
actually Arthur Greenslade playing piano on that particular track.[6]

Early life
Growing up in Leicester

Lord was born in Leicester on 9 June 1941 to Miriam
(1912–1995; née Hudson) and Reginald Lord, growing
up at 120 Averill Road[2] and retaining a strong bond with
the city throughout his life. His father was an amateur
saxophone musician and encouraged Lord from an early
age. He studied classical piano from the age of five, with
a local teacher, Frederick Alt, and this focus on a classical
grounding to his material was a recurring trademark in his
work, both in composition, arranging and his instrumental solos on piano, organ and electronic keyboards. In
particular his influences ranged from J. S. Bach (a constant connection in his music and his keyboard improvisation) to Medieval popular music and the English tradition of Edward Elgar. He attended Wyggeston Grammar
School for Boys between 1952 and 1958 where he gained
O Level passes in French, music and mathematics, participated in amateur dramatics and the school choir alongside his organ and piano studies and then worked as a
clerk in a solicitor’s office for two years.[3]

Following the break-up of Redd Bludd’s Bluesicians in
late 1963, Wood, Lord, and the drummer Red Dunnage
put together a new band, The Art Wood Combo. This
also included Derek Griffiths (guitar) and Malcolm Pool
(bass guitar). Dunnage left in December 1964 to be
replaced by Keef Hartley, who had previously replaced
Lord absorbed the blues sounds that played a key part in Ringo Starr in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. This band,
his rock career, principally the raw sounds of the great later known as “The Artwoods”, focused on the organ as
American blues organists Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff the bluesy, rhythmic core of their sound, in common with
1

2
the contemporary bands The Spencer Davis Group (Steve
Winwood on organ) and The Animals (with Alan Price).
They made appearances on the BBC’s Saturday Club radio show and on such TV programs as Ready Steady Go!.
It also performed abroad, and it appeared on the first
Ready Steady Goes Live, promoting its first single the
Lead Belly song “Sweet Mary” — but significant commercial success eluded it. Its only charting single was “I
Take What I Want”, which reached number 28 on 8 May
1966.
This band regrouped in 1967 as the “St. Valentine’s Day
Massacre”. This was an attempt to cash in on the 1930s
gangster craze set off by the American film Bonnie and
Clyde. Hartley left the band in 1967 to join John Mayall’s
Bluesbreakers. Lord next founded the "Santa Barbera
Machine Head", featuring Art’s brother, Ronnie Wood,
writing and recording three powerful keyboard-driven instrumental tracks, giving a preview of the future style of
Deep Purple. Soon thereafter, Lord went on to cover for
the keyboard player Billy Day in "The Flower Pot Men",
where he met the bass guitarist Nick Simper along with
drummer Carlo Little and guitarist Ged Peck. Lord and
Simper then toured with this band in 1967 to promote its
hit single "Let’s Go To San Francisco", but the two men
never recorded with this band.

2 DEEP PURPLE

2.1 1968–1970
It was in these three years that Lord’s trademark keyboard sound emerged. Ignoring the emergence of the
Moog synthesizer, as pioneered in rock by such players
as Keith Emerson, Lord began experimenting with a keyboard sound produced by the Hammond organ by driving
it through Marshall speakers in an effort to match the attack and volume of Blackmore’s guitar. Lord’s version
was heavier than a blues sound, and it often featured distortion and a far harder, industrial type sound that became the trademark Jon Lord organ sound, admired by
fans and peers alike but rarely replicated. Both Emerson and Rick Wakeman publicly expressed admiration for
Lord’s mould-breaking work on the organ. This delivered
a rhythmic foundation to complement Blackmore’s speed
and virtuosity on lead guitar. Lord also loved the sound
of an RMI 368 Electra-Piano and Harpsichord, which
he used on such songs as “Demon’s Eye” and “Space
Truckin'".

In 1973 Lord’s original Hammond C3 gave out and he
bought another from Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac.
Also around this time, Lord and his keyboard technician,
Mike Phillips, combined his Hammond C3 Organ with
the RMI. Lord kept this particular Hammond C3 until
his retirement from the band in 2002, when he passed
it to successor Don Airey. That instrument was retired
1.3 Formation of Deep Purple
from stage use a few years later, as it had become “pretty
[7]
In early 1967, through his roommate Chris Curtis of the knackered” according to Airey.
Searchers, Lord met businessman Tony Edwards who was Lord pushed the Hammond-Leslie sound through
looking to invest in the music business alongside partners Marshall amplification, creating a growling, heavy,
Ron Hire and John Coletta (HEC Enterprises). Session mechanical sound which allowed Lord to compete with
guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was called in and he met Lord Blackmore as a soloist, with an organ that sounded as
for the first time, but Chris Curtis’s erratic behaviour led prominent as the lead guitar. Said one reviewer, “many
the trio nowhere. Edwards was impressed enough by Jon have tried to imitate [Lord’s] style, and all failed.”[8] Said
Lord to ask him to form a band after Curtis faded out. Lord himself, “There’s a way of playing a Hammond
Simper was contacted, and Blackmore was recalled from [that’s] different. A lot of people make the mistake of
Hamburg. Although top British player Bobby Wood- thinking that you can play a Hammond with a piano
man was the first choice as drummer, during the audi- technique. Well, you can, but it sounds like you are
tions for a singer, Rod Evans of “The Maze” came in playing a Hammond with a piano technique. Really, you
with his own drummer, Ian Paice. Blackmore, who had have to learn how to play an organ. It’s a legato techbeen impressed by Paice’s drumming when he met him nique; it’s a technique to achieve legato on a non-legato
in 1967, set up an audition for Paice as well. The band instrument.”[9]
was called the “Roundabout” at first and began rehearsals
In early Deep Purple recordings, Lord had appeared to be
at Deeves Hall in Hertfordshire. By March 1968, this
the leader of the band.[10] Despite the cover songs "Hush"
became the “Mark 1” line-up of "Deep Purple": Lord,
and "Kentucky Woman" becoming hits in North AmerSimper, Blackmore, Paice, and Evans. Lord also helped
ica, Deep Purple never made chart success in the UK unform the band “Boz” with some of its recordings being
til the Concerto for Group and Orchestra album (1970).
produced by Derek Lawrence. “Boz” included Boz BurLord’s willingness later to play many of the key rhythm
rell (later of King Crimson and Bad Company), Blackparts gave Blackmore the freedom to let loose both live
more (guitarist), Paice (drummer), Chas Hodges (bass
and on record.
guitarist).
On Deep Purple’s second and third albums, Lord began
indulging his ambition to fuse rock with classical music.
An early example of this is the song “Anthem” from the
2 Deep Purple
album The Book of Taliesyn (1968), but a more prominent example is the song “April” from the band’s self-

3
titled third album (1969). The song is recorded in three
parts: 1. Lord and Blackmore only, on keyboards and
acoustic guitar, respectively; 2. an orchestral arrangement complete with strings; and 3. the full rock band with
vocals. Lord’s ambition enhanced his reputation among
fellow musicians, but caused tension within the group.
Simper later said, “The reason the music lacked direction was Jon Lord fucked everything up with his classical
ideas.” Blackmore agreed to go along with Lord’s experimentation, provided he was given his head on the next
band album.[8]

sonal favourite among his Deep Purple studio performances.

Deep Purple released another six studio albums between
1971 (Fireball) and 1975 (Come Taste the Band). Gillan
and Glover left in 1973 and Blackmore in 1975, and the
band disintegrated in 1976. The highlights of Lord’s Purple work in the period include the 1972 album Machine
Head (featuring his rhythmic underpinnings on "Smoke
on the Water" and "Space Truckin'", plus the organ solos
on "Highway Star" and “Lazy”), the sonic bombast of the
Made in Japan live album (1972), an extended, effectThe resulting Concerto For Group and Orchestra (in laden solo on “Rat Bat Blue” from the Who Do We Think
1969) was one of rock’s earliest attempts to fuse two dis- We Are album (1973), and his overall playing on the Burn
tinct musical idioms. Performed live at the Royal Albert album from 1974.
Hall on 24 September 1969 (with new band members Ian Roger Glover would later describe Lord as a true “ZenGillan and Roger Glover, Evans and Simper having been archer soloist”, someone whose best keyboard improvifired), it was recorded by the BBC and later released as sation often came at the first attempt. Lord’s strict rean album. The Concerto gave Deep Purple its first highly liance on the Hammond C3 organ sound, as opposed to
publicised taste of mainstream fame and gave Lord the the synthesizer experimentation of his contemporaries,
confidence to believe that his experiment and his compo- places him firmly in the jazz-blues category as a band musitional skill had a future, as well as giving Lord the op- sician and far from the progressive-rock sound of Keith
portunity to work with established classical figures, such Emerson and Rick Wakeman. Lord rarely ventured into
as conductor Sir Malcolm Arnold, who brought his skills the synthesizer territory on Purple albums, often limitto bear by helping Lord realise the work and to protect ing his experimentation to the use of the ring modulator
him from the inevitable disdain of the older members of with the Hammond, to give live performances on tracks
the orchestra.
like Space Truckin' a distinctive 'spacy' sound. Instances

2.2

1970–1976

of his Deep Purple synthesizer use (he became an endorser of the ARP Oyssey) include "'A' 200”, the final
track from Burn, and “Love Child” on the Come Taste the
Band album.
In early 1973 Lord stated: “We're as valid as anything by
Beethoven.”[12]

3 As a composer

Lord with Deep Purple on tour at the Niedersachsenhalle,
Hanover, Germany, 1970

Purple began work on Deep Purple in Rock, released
by their new label Harvest in 1970 and now recognised as one of hard rock's key early works. Lord and
Blackmore competed to out-dazzle each other, often in
classical-style, midsection 'call and answer' improvisation
(on tracks like “Speed King”), something they employed
to great effect live. Ian Gillan said that Lord provided
the idea on the main organ riff for "Child in Time" although the riff was also based on It’s a Beautiful Day's
1969 psychedelic hit song “Bombay Calling”.[11] Lord’s
experimental solo on “Hard Lovin' Man” (complete with
police-siren interpolation) from this album was his per-

Lord continued to focus on his classical aspirations alongside his Deep Purple career. The BBC, buoyed by the
success of the Concerto, commissioned him to write another piece and the resulting “Gemini Suite” was performed by Deep Purple and the Light Music Society under Malcolm Arnold at the Royal Festival Hall in September 1970, and then in Munich with the Kammerorchester
conducted by Eberhard Schoener in January 1972. It then
became the basis for Lord’s first solo album, Gemini Suite,
released in November 1972, with vocals by Yvonne Elliman and Tony Ashton and with the London Symphony
Orchestra backing a band that included Albert Lee on
guitar.
Lord’s collaboration with the highly experimental and
supportive Schoener resulted in a second live performance of the Suite in late 1973 and a new Lord album with Schoener, entitled Windows, in 1974. It
proved to be Lord’s most experimental work and was released to mixed reactions. However, the dalliances with
Bach on Windows and the pleasure of collaborating with

4

4 WHITESNAKE, 1978–1984

Schoener resulted in perhaps Lord’s most confident solo
work and perhaps his strongest orchestral album, Sarabande, recorded in Germany in September 1975 with the
Philharmonia Hungarica conducted by Schoener.

at the forefront of readers’ polls as heavy rock’s foremost
keyboard maestro. His dissatisfaction (and Coverdale’s
eagerness to revamp the band’s line-up and lower the average age to help crack the US market) smoothed the way
Composed of eight pieces (from the opening sweep of for the reformation of Deep Purple Mk II in 1984.
Fantasia to the Finale), at least five pieces form the typi- Jon Lord’s last Whitesnake concert took place in the
cal construction of a baroque dance suite. The key pieces Swedish TV programme Måndagsbörsen in 16 April
(Sarabande, Gigue, Bouree, Pavane and Caprice) feature 1984.
rich orchestration complemented sometimes by the inter- During his tenure in Whitesnake, Lord had the opportupolation of rock themes, played by a session band com- nity to record two distinctly different solo albums. 1982s
prising Pete York, Mark Nauseef and Andy Summers, Before I Forget featured a largely conventional eight-song
with organ and synthesizers played by Lord.
line-up, no orchestra and with the bulk of the songs being
In March 1974, Lord and Paice had collaborated with
friend Tony Ashton on First of the Big Bands, credited to
'Ashton & Lord' and featuring a rich array of session talent, including Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, Peter Frampton and Pink Floyd saxophonist/sessioner, Dick Parry.
They performed much of the set live at the London Palladium in September 1974.
This formed the basis of Lord’s first post-Deep Purple project Paice Ashton Lord, which lasted only a year
and spawned a single album, Malice in Wonderland in
1977, recorded at Musicland Studios Musicland Studios
at the Arabella Hotel in Munich. He created an informal group of friends and collaborators including Ashton,
Paice, Bernie Marsden, Boz Burrell and later, Bad Company’s Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke and others. Over the
same period, Lord guested on albums by Maggie Bell,
Nazareth and even folk artist Richard Digance. Eager to
pay off a huge tax bill upon his return the UK in the late1970s (Purple’s excesses included their own tour jet and
a home Lord rented in Malibu from actress Ann-Margret
and where he wrote the Sarabande album), Lord joined
former Deep Purple band member David Coverdale's
new band, Whitesnake in August 1978 (Ian Paice joined
them in 1980 and stayed till 1982).

4

Whitesnake, 1978–1984

Lord’s job in Whitesnake was largely limited to adding
colour (or, in his own words, a 'halo') to round out a
blues-rock sound that already accommodated two lead
guitarists, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody. He added
a Yamaha CP-70 electric piano to his set-up and finally
a huge bank of synthesizers onstage courtesy of Moog
(MiniMoog, Opus, Polymoog) so he could play the 12bar blues the band often required and recreate string section and other effects. Such varied work is evident on
tracks like "Here I Go Again", “Wine, Women and Song”,
“She’s a Woman” and “Till the Day I Die”. A number of singles entered the UK chart, taking the now 40something Lord onto Top of the Pops with regularity between 1980 and 1983. He later expressed frustration that
he was a poorly paid hired-hand, but fans saw little of this
discord and Whitesnake’s commercial success kept him

either mainstream rock tracks (“Hollywood Rock And
Roll”, “Chance on a Feeling”), or – specifically on side
two – a series of very English classical piano ballads
sung by mother and daughter duo, Vicki Brown and Sam
Brown (wife and daughter of entertainer Joe Brown) and
vocalist Elmer Gantry as well as piano and synthesiser
instrumentals such as Burntwood, named after Lord’s
home. The album also boasted the cream of British rock
talent, including session drummer (and National Youth
Jazz Orchestra alumnus) Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell,
Neil Murray, Simon Kirke, Boz Burrell and Mick Ralphs.
Additionally, Lord was commissioned by producer
Patrick Gamble for Central Television to write the soundtrack for their 1984 TV series, Country Diary of an
Edwardian Lady, based on the book by Edith Holden,
with an orchestra conducted by Alfred Ralston and with
a distinctly gentle, pastoral series of themes composed
by Lord. Lord became firmly established as a member
of UK rock’s "Oxfordshire mansion aristocracy” – with
a home, Burntwood Hall, set in 23.5 acres (9.5 ha) at
Goring-on-Thames, complete with its own cricket pitch
and a hand-painted Challen baby grand piano, previously
owned by Shirley Bassey. He was asked to guest on albums by friends George Harrison (Gone Troppo from
1982) and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (1984’s About
Face), Cozy Powell (Octopus in 1983) and to play on
an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic, Wind in the
Willows. He composed and produced the score for White
Fire (1984), which consisted largely of two songs performed by Limelight. In 1985 he made a brief appearance as a member of The Singing Rebel’s band (which
also featured Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Ringo
Starr) in the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais-scripted
film Water (1985) (Handmade Films).
In the 1980s he was also a member of an all-star
band called Olympic Rock & Blues Circus fronted by
Pete York and featuring a rotating line-up of the likes
of Miller Anderson, Tony Ashton, Brian Auger, Zoot
Money, Colin Hodgkinson, Chris Farlowe and many others. Olympic Rock & Blues Circus toured primarily in
Germany between 1981 and 1989. Some musicians, including Lord, took part in York’s TV musical extravaganza Superdrumming between 1987 and 1989.

5

5

Later work, 1984–2006

Lord’s re-emergence with Deep Purple in 1984 resulted
in huge audiences for the reformed Mk II line-up, including 1985s second largest grossing tour in the US and
an appearance in front of 80,000 rain-soaked fans headlining Knebworth on 22 June 1985, all to support the
Perfect Strangers album. Playing with a rejuvenated Mk.
II Purple line-up (including spells at a health farm to
get the band including Lord into shape) and being onstage and in the studio with Blackmore, gave Lord the
chance to push himself once again. His 'rubato' classical opening sequence to the album’s opener, “Knocking at Your Back Door” (complete with F-Minor to G
polychordal harmony sequence), gave Lord the chance
to do his most powerful work for years, including the
song “Perfect Strangers”. Further Deep Purple albums
followed, often of varying quality, and by the late-1990s,
Lord was clearly keen to explore new avenues for his musical career.

tured Within, entitled “Wait A While” was later covered
by Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø on her 2003/2004
album My Heart. Lord finally retired from Deep Purple
amicably in 2002, preceded by a knee injury that eventually resolved itself without surgery. He said subsequently,
“Leaving Deep Purple was just as traumatic as I had always suspected it would be and more so – if you see what
I mean”. He even dedicated a song to it on 2004’s solo effort, Beyond the Notes, called “De Profundis”. The album
was recorded in Bonn with producer Mario Argandoña
between June and July 2004.

Tony Ashton (right) with Lord at a gig at the Hotel Post, March
1990

Lord performing for The Sunflower Jam, London, 2007

Pictured Within and Beyond the Notes provide the most
personal work by Lord, and together, have what his earlier solo work perhaps lacks, a very clear musical voice
that is quintessentially his. Together, both albums are
uniquely crafted, mature pieces from a man in touch with
himself and his spirituality. Lord slowly built a small,
but distinct position and fan base for himself in Europe.
He collaborated with former ABBA superstar and family
friend, Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad,) on the 2004 track,
“The Sun Will Shine Again” (with lyrics by Sam Brown)
and performed with her across Europe. He subsequently
also performed European concerts to première the 2007scheduled Boom of the Tingling Strings orchestral piece.

In 1997, he created perhaps his most personal work
to date, Pictured Within, released in 1998 with a European tour to support it. Lord’s mother Miriam had
died in August 1995 and the album is a deeply affecting piece, inflected at all stages by Lord’s sense of grief.
Recorded largely in Lord’s home-away-from-home, the
city of Cologne, the album’s themes are Elgarian and
alpine in equal measure. Lord signed to Virgin Classics to
release it, and perhaps saw it as the first stage in his eventual departure from Purple to embark on a low-key and
altogether more gentle solo career. One song from Pic-

In 2003 he also returned to his beloved R-n-B/blues heritage to record an album of standards in Sydney, with
Australia’s Jimmy Barnes, entitled Live in the Basement,
by Jon Lord and the Hoochie Coochie Men, showing himself to be one of British rock music’s most eclectic and
talented instrumentalists. Lord was also happy to support the Sam Buxton Sunflower Jam Healing Trust and
in September 2006, performed at a star-studded event to
support the charity led by Ian Paice’s wife, Jacky (twin
sister of Lord’s wife Vicky). Featured artists on stage
with Lord included Paul Weller, Robert Plant, Phil Manzanera, Ian Paice and Bernie Marsden.

6

6

8

Final work, after 2006

Two Lord compositions, Boom of the Tingling Strings and
“Disguises (Suite for String Orchestra)", were recorded
in Denmark in 2006 and released in April 2008 on EMI
Classics. Both featured the Odense Symfoniorkester,
conducted by Paul Mann. Additionally, a second Hoochie
Coochie Men album was recorded in July 2006 in London. This album, Danger – White Men Dancing, was released in October 2007. His Durham Concerto, commissioned by Durham University for its 175th anniversary
celebrations, received its world premiere on 20 October
2007 in Durham Cathedral by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and featured soloists Lord on Hammond Organ, Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes,
Matthew Barley on cello and Ruth Palmer on violin.[13]
It became a hit in Classic FM's “Hall of Fame”, alongside his piano concerto Boom of the Tingling Strings.[14]

INFLUENCE AND LEGACY

Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, guitarist Tony Iommi from
Black Sabbath, second guitarist Mikko Lindström from
HIM, bassist Jason Newsted formerly from Metallica and
drummer Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden, specifically
the composition “Out of My Mind”, in addition to new
compositions with Steve Balsamo and a Hammond Organ
Concerto.[20][21] Lord subsequently cancelled a performance of his Durham Concerto in Hagen, Germany,[22]
for what his website said was a continuation of his medical treatment (the concert, scheduled for 6 July 2012,
would have been his return to live performance after
treatment).[23]

Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra was effectively recommissioned by him, recorded in Liverpool
and at Abbey Road Studios across 2011 and under postproduction in 2012 with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing, conducted by long-time collaborator,
conductor Paul Mann. The recording was at completion
at the time of Lord’s death, with Lord having been able to
Lord played piano on George Harrison's posthumously review the final master recordings. The album and DVD
released Brainwashed album (2002) and became an im- were subsequently released in 2012.
portant member of Harrison’s social circle in Oxfordshire
(Lord by now living at Hill House, in Fawley, HenleyOn-Thames), the two having first met at Abbey Road
studios in the late 1960s.[15] He was also a close friend 7 Personal life
of John Mortimer, whom he had accompanied on many
occasions during Mortimer’s performances of “Mortimer Lord’s first marriage, from 1969 to 1981, was to Judith
Miscellany”. In 2007, Lord joined Derek Griffiths, Colin Feldman, with whom he had one daughter, Sara. Lord’s
Martin and Malcolm Pool at an Artwoods reunion at the second wife, Vickie Gibbs was a former girlfriend of PurART Tribute night, at York House in Twickenham. Ali ple band-mate Glenn Hughes and twin sister of Ian Paice’s
Mackenzie took over Art Wood’s role on vocals, and wife, Jacky Paice (founder of the charity Sunflower Jam).
Chris Hunt played drums. They were joined on stage The sisters’ father was Frank Gibbs, owner of the Oakby guitarist Ronnie Wood and vocalist Geno Washington. ley House Country Club in Brewood, South Staffordshire.
Lord released his solo album To Notice Such Things on 29 Jon and Vickie also had one daughter, Amy.[24]
March 2010.[16] Titled after the main work—a six moveIn July 2011, Lord was found to be suffering from
ment suite for solo flute, piano and string orchestra—the
pancreatic cancer. After treatment in both England and
album was inspired by, and was dedicated to, the memory
in Israel,[25] he died on 16 July 2012 at the London Clinic
of Jon’s dear friend Sir John Mortimer, the English barrisafter suffering from a pulmonary embolism.[26][27][28][29]
ter, dramatist, screenwriter, author and creator of British
His interment was at Saint Mary the Virgin Church in
television series Rumpole of the Bailey, who died in JanHambleden.
uary 2009. On its first day of release, the album entered
Amazon's Movers And Shakers index, nestling at No. 12
at the end of the day.[17] Six days later it entered the UK’s
official classical chart at No. 4.[18] Lord had been com- 8 Influence and legacy
missioned to compose a concerto for Hammond organ
and orchestra with special parts for tympani. The piece Lars Ulrich, founding member and drummer in Metallica
was to be premiered with the Oslo Philharmonic Orches- commented, “Ever since my father took me to see them
tra with Tom Vissgren on tympani in Oslo, Norway in in 1973 in Copenhagen, at the impressionable age of 9,
the Spring of 2012. With Vladimir Ashkenazy and Josef Deep Purple has been the most constant, continuous and
Suk, Lord was one of three artistic sponsors of Toccata inspiring musical presence in my life. They have meant
Classics.
more to me than any other band in existence, and have
In July 2011, Lord performed his final live concert appearance, the Sunflower Jam at the Royal Albert Hall,
where he premiered his joint composition with Rick
Wakeman.[19] At that point, they had begun informal discussion on recording an album together. Up until 2011,
Lord had also been working on material with recently
formed rock supergroup WhoCares, also featuring singer

had an enormous part in shaping who I am. We can all be
guilty of lightly throwing adjectives like 'unique,' 'one-ofa-kind' and 'pioneering' around when we want to describe
our heroes and the people who've moved us, but there are
no more fitting words than those right now and there simply was no musician like Jon Lord in the history of hard
rock. Nobody. Period.There was nobody that played like

7
him. There was nobody that sounded like him. There
was nobody that wrote like him. There was nobody that
looked like him. There was nobody more articulate, gentlemanly, warm, or fucking cooler that ever played keyboards or got anywhere near a keyboard. What he did
was all his own”.[30]
Former keyboard player of rock band Yes, Rick Wakeman, who was a friend of Lord’s, said he was “a great
fan” and added “We were going to write and record an
album before he became ill. His contribution to music
and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him
terribly.” In mid-2013, Wakeman presented a BBC One
East Midlands-produced TV programme about Lord and
his connection to the town of his birth.[31]
Singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad (ABBA), who described Jon
Lord as her “dearest friend”, paid him tribute at the 2013
edition of Zermatt Unplugged, the annual music festival
which both he and she served as patrons. “He was graceful, intelligent, polite, with a strong integrity,” she said.
"(He) had a strong empathy and a great deal of humour
for his own and other people’s weaknesses.”[32]
Keyboardist Keith Emerson said of Lord’s death, “Jon left
us now but his music and inspiration will live forever. I
am deeply saddend by his departure”.[33] In a later interview in November 2013, he added, “In the early years I
remember being quite jealous of Jon Lord – may he rest
in peace. In September 1969 I heard he was debuting his
“Concerto For Group & Orchestra” at the Royal Albert
Hall, with none other than Malcolm Arnold conducting.
Wow! I had to go along and see that. Jon and I ribbed
each other, we were pretty much pals, but I walked away
and thought: 'Shit, in a couple of weeks’ time I'm going
to be recording The Nice's Five Bridges Suite ... not at the
Albert Hall but at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon!' A much
more prosaic venue. Later, Jon wanted me to play on his
solo album, Gemini Suite, but that was around the time
ELP were breaking big and we were touring. He was a
lovely guy, a real gentleman.” [34]

10 References
[1] “FreeBMD Entry Info”. 2.freebmd.org.uk. Retrieved
2014-06-04.
[2] “Celebrating Jon’s childhood home | Jon Lord - The Official Website”. Jon Lord. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
[3] “Jon Lord profile”. Deep-purple.net. Retrieved 16 July
2012.
[4] “Buddy Holly — Leicester — De Montfort Hall — 16
March 1958”. Songkick. 1958-03-16. Retrieved 201406-04.
[5] Welch, Chris. “The Story of Deep Purple.” In Deep Purple: HM Photo Book, copyright 1983, Omnibus Press.
[6] Alan de Perna (January 1997). Guitar World Magazine.
Missing or empty |title= (help)
[7] “CRR Interview - Don Airey: It’s Deep Purple & There’s
a Hammond”. Classicrockrevisited.com. Retrieved 201407-28.
[8] Van der Lee, Matthijs. "In Rock review”. Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
[9]
[10] “A Highway Star: Deep Purple’s Roger Glover Interviewed”. The Quietus. 20 January 2011.
[11] Kusnur, Narendra (3 May 2002). “Deep Purple. Ian
Gillan interview, Mumbai 2002”. Mid-Day Newspaper.
Retrieved 20 July 2012.
[12] Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.).
London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 248. CN
5585.
[13] “International rock star pens classical concerto for
Durham”. Dur.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
[14] “Deep Purple founder who co-wrote classics including
Smoke On The Water dies at 71”. Daily Mail. Retrieved
2014-09-13.

A concert tribute to Lord took place on 4 April 2014
at the Royal Albert Hall. Performers and presenters in- [15] “YouTube”. M.youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
cluded Deep Purple, Bruce Dickinson, Alfie Boe, Jeremy [16] “Former DEEP PURPLE Keyboardist JON LORD To
Irons, Joe Brown, Glenn Hughes, Miller Anderson and
Release New Album in March”. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
Steve Balsamo.
In December 2012 the Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter [17] “Jon Lord’s new album attracts great sales”. JonLord.org.
Soulsby, joined the campaign to honour Lord with a blue
Retrieved 30 March 2010.
plaque at his childhood home at 120 Averill Road, where
he lived until he was twenty, saying it would be “an im- [18] “To Notice Such Things charts at no. 4”. JonLord.org.
Retrieved 5 April 2010.
portant reminder of the city’s contribution to the world of
contemporary music”.[35]
[19] “It’s Not As Big As It Was” on YouTube

9

Discography

Main articles: Deep Purple discography, Paice, Ashton
& Lord, Whitesnake discography and The Artwoods

[20] “New Supergroup? WhoCares | News @". Ultimateguitar.com. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
[21] “Video: Paul Mann’s Concerto interview | Jon Lord - The
Official Website”. Jon Lord. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
[22] “Durham Concerto takes Jon to Germany | Jon Lord - The
Official Website”. Jon Lord. Retrieved 2014-06-04.

8

12

[23] “Jon Lord Dead: Deep Purple Keyboardist Dies At Age
71”. Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
[24] “Obituary”. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
[25] “Lord undergoing pancreatic cancer treatment in Israel |
Showbiz | News | Daily Express”. Express.co.uk. 201202-29. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
[26] “Jon Lord has sadly passed away”. Jonlord.org. Retrieved
2014-09-13.
[27] “Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord Dead at 71”. www.
rollingstone.com. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
[28] “Deep Purple’s Jon Lord dies at 71”. BBC News. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
[29] “Obituary: Jon Lord, composer and Deep Purple
founder”. Gramophone. Haymarket. Retrieved 19 July
2012.
[30] “News | A Master Passes: R.I.P. Jon Lord”. Metallica.com. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
[31] Video on YouTube
[32] “ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s Tribute To Jon Lord (
Zermatt Unplugged 2013 )". Youtube.com. Retrieved
2014-09-13.
[33] “Emerson, Lake & Palmer website”.
lakepalmer.com. Retrieved 2014-09-13.

Emerson-

[34]
[35] “Jon Lord to be honoured with blue plaque? | Rock News
| News”. Planet Rock. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2014-0604.

11

Further reading

• Deep Purple: Charlesworth, Chris (Omnibus Press,
1983)
• Deep Purple, Heavy Metal Photo Book: Welch,
Chris with Hasebe, Koh (Omnibus Press, 1984)
• Deep Purple: Tomasz Szmajter, Roland Bury (In
Rock, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2013)
• Deep Purple: Sailor, Michael (Hannibal Verlag,
2005)
• Smoke on the Water, The Deep Purple Story:
Thompson, Dave (ECW Press, 2004)
• The Complete Deep Purple:
(Reynolds & Hearn, 2005)

Heatley, Michael

• The Gemini Man: an Introduction to the Orchestral
Works of Jon Lord, Vincent Budd (Gnosis Press,
2003)

EXTERNAL LINKS

12 External links
• Jon Lord’s Official Website
• Jon Lord at the Internet Movie Database
• Jon Lord interview in the Leicester Mercury
• http://jonlord.org/2014/12/04/
jon-lord-monument-revealed/

9

13
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