Deep Purple's Ian Gillan

Today is the 53rd birthday of hard-rock singer Ian Gillan, who was born in

London. Gillan joined British heavy-metal band Deep

Purple in 1969. Gillan was previously a member of the U.K. band Episode Six


bassist Roger Glover, who joined Deep Purple at the same time. Gillan and


made their record debut with the band on Deep Purple in Rock.

In 1970, Gillan played Jesus in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's

"Jesus Christ Superstar" and sang on the studio cast recording, which went to #1

in the

U.S. In 1971, Deep Purple released Fireball, which topped the U.K.

charts. At the

end of that year, Deep Purple were recording in Montreux Casino in Switzerland

when it

burned down. They immortalized the disaster in their most famous song, "Smoke

on the

Water," from their 1972 album, Machine Head, which topped the U.K. albums

chart and made the top 10 in the U.S.

The band's 1972 live set, Made In Japan, was another huge hit, but Gillan


Deep Purple before its release. Glover, who also left the band at the time,


The Butterfly Ball in 1975, which he and Gillan performed at London's


Albert Hall that year.

In 1976, Gillan issued his solo debut, Child In Time. Clean Air


and Scarabus followed in 1977 but were unsuccessful. He then began


under the band name "Gillan," releasing Mr. Universe and Glory

Road. In

1983, Gillan joined the heavy-metal band Black Sabbath, but this alliance only


until 1984.

In 1984, Gillan, Glover, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord and


Ian Paice re-formed Deep Purple. This version of the band remained together


1989, when Gillan quit again, citing musical differences. That year, he

collaborated with

Queen's Brian May, Bruce Dickinson and Robert Plant (as Rock Aid Armenia) on a

redone "Smoke on the Water." In 1990, Gillan resumed his solo career, issuing


album Naked Thunder.

In 1992, Gillan said: "I look at [Deep] Purple as an ex-wife. We got

married ... then divorced ... then we got married again ... and divorced again.

I made up

my mind I was never gonna marry that [woman] ever again."

But he returned to Deep Purple for The Battle Rages On (1993) and

Purpendicular (1996). In 1994, Gillan reunited with his very first band,


Javelins, for an album of '60s covers. His mostly acoustic solo album,

Dreamcatcher, followed. Gillan also sings lead on Deep Purple's recently



Other birthdays: Ginger Baker (Cream/Blind Faith/Airforce/BBM), 59; Johnny

Nash, 58;

Billy J. Kramer, 55; John Deacon (Queen), 47; and MC Eric (Technotronic), 30.