After some 40 years of making music, you'd think Deep Purple would get a little more respect. This was the band that crafted one of the most indelible riffs in the entire rock 'n' roll idiom in the form of "Smoke on the Water." It is required learning for any budding guitarist. It's the band whose string of '70s albums -- In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are, and Burn in particular -- placed them on a tier alongside Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, and Uriah Heep as the foremost champions of the emerging form that would come to be called heavy metal.
Still, Purple's trajectory was erratic at best. In the midst of their '70s heyday, personnel problems began plaguing the band, resulting in an ongoing series of shifts in membership that continued well into the new millennium. Following the first incarnation of the band in the late '60s, a core group -- guitarist Richie Blackmore, vocalist Ian Gillian, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Jon Lord, and bassist Roger Glover -- established themselves as Purple's most indelible lineup.