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

with

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

Glover

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

quit

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

released

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

Royal

Albert Hall that year.

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

Turbulence

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

recording

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

lasted

until 1984.

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

drummer

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

until

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

the

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,

the

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

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

issued

Abandon.

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.