Jon Lord, founding keyboardist for the legendary band Deep Purple, died Monday (July 16) in London. According to his website, the British rocker suffered a pulmonary embolism after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71 years old.
Born in Leicester, England, on June 9, 1941, Lord co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 with Ian Paice (who still tours with the band), Rod Evans, Nick Simpler and Ritchie Blackmore and co-wrote many of the group’s most famous songs, including “Smoke on the Water.” The band is considered one of the most influential hard-rock bands in history, having heavily influenced the sounds of Metallica, Queen, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Alice in Chains.
Released his first solo album, Sarabande, in 1975.
On early Deep Purple albums (the ones with Rod Evans, and the live Concerto), Jon Lord was essentially in creative control of the band. As such, these early releases feature songs that are more on an artsy, experimental side than the later releases, on which Blackmore became the creationist.
Deep Purple largely dissolved in 1976, and Lord went on to pursue his interest in classical music. His classical compositions have played the esteemed Royal Albert Hall in London. He returned to rock just two years later as a member of Whitesnake with whom he worked until 1984, when Deep Purple re-formed.
He retired from Deep Purple in 2002 but continued to make music as a solo act and composer.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August of last year, Lord continued working. Earlier this month, he was forced to cancel a performance of his “Durham Concerto” in Germany, telling fans the cancellation was “not a matter for concern, but it is a continuation of his regular treatment that has just taken longer than anticipated.”
He was, according to his website, “surrounded by his loving family” when he died. He is survived by two daughters, Amy and Sara.
Jon Lord was responsible for composing numerous film and TV scores. Music he wrote either with Deep Purple, Whitesnake or individually can be heard in the following:
2006 Brick by Brick: The Building of Gillan’s Inn (video documentary short)
2004 Beyond the Notes: Live (video)
2003 Jon Lord & the Hoochie Coochie Men: Live at the Basement (video documentary)
2003 Jon Lord: With Pictures (video documentary)
2000 Bombay Calling: Bombay Live ’95 (video documentary)
2000 Calling the Wild (TV short)
1994 Deep Purple: Come Hell or High Water (video documentary)
1993 Metallmagasinet: Deep Purple (TV documentary short)
1992 Scandinavian Nights (video)
1991 Doing Their Thing (video short)
1988 Deep Purple: Bad Attitude (video)
1988 Deep Purple: The Videosingles (video short)
1984 The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (TV series)
1983 Whitesnake Commandos: Donington 1983 (video documentary)
1977 Lifespan (documentary)
1971 The Last Rebel
1970 Best of Both Worlds: Concerto for Group and Orchestra (TV documentary)
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