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
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
burned down. They immortalized the disaster in their most famous song, "Smoke
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
1983, Gillan joined the heavy-metal band Black Sabbath, but this alliance only
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
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
Billy J. Kramer, 55; John Deacon (Queen), 47; and MC Eric (Technotronic), 30.