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Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers Turns 30.
1984 saw the return of the classic or “Mark II” lineup of one of the most popular bands in the world: Deep Purple. The waters of forgiveness were set to be tested in 1982 with plans for a comeback album and tour to follow but vocalist Ian Gillan was sidelined by his doctors and ordered not to sing for at least six months or risk permanent damage to his vocal chords, thus canceling the remaining dates of touring with his solo band Gillan. The remaining Mark II alumni carried on a while longer with the bands they were in at that point: Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover in Rainbow, keyboardist Jon Lord in Whitesnake, and drummer Ian Paice with Gary Moore. In the spring of 1984 the members got together once again and began planning a triumphant return with a new album and tour. It’s rumored that Ritchie Blackmore wanted Whitesnake vocalist and former Mark III member David Coverdale on the mic but apparently that was not to be.
In my opinion, DP returned in fine form with their signature blend of classical and blues influenced yet slightly progressive hard rock solidifying why some have called the band 1/3 of the Unholy Trinity of British Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The album Perfect Strangers was recorded in the state of Vermont in the summer of 84 and released that fall. It reached #17 on the Billboard Top 200 and went to #5 in the UK. Roger Glover is named 1st in production credit and would explain the bass guitar being in the forefront of the album mix. The album produced three singles. The title track Perfect Strangers reached #12 on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks and the opener Knocking at Your Back Door reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both of these songs, for me, are very underwhelming. A third single, Nobody’s Home, reached #20 on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks. It’s this track, along with the two other songs sandwiched between the album opener and the title track that is the hot spot for me. Under The Gun is a tight organ/guitar driven rocker with solid bass and drums creating firm foundation. Nobody’s Home begins with a bit of tell tale early 80’s synthesizer before busting in with a fat guitar lick and great bass groove. Mean Streak is pure vintage Mark II Deep Purple; blues-kissed hard rock.
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