Today is Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan's 66th birthday. One of the most influential, and possibly under-revered members of British rock royalty, Gillan shares a similar story with a great many of his countrymen. Gillan was born to a working class family perpetually on the move between different forms of public housing in a suburb of London, the very year World War II came to a close. Gillan's golden pipes were, in our not entirely unbiased opinion, the coup de gras or cherry atop the rock and roll sundae that the band was lacking with founding singer Rod Evans.
Regardless of what a classic album Purple's debut record is, for most fans the 1969-1973 line-up is the quintessential Deep Purple. Ian's mixture of operatic and aggressive pipes were the perfect mate to Ritchie Blackmore's similar mix of neo-classical and bombastic rock guitar playing, especially in context with Ian Paice's über-controlled drumming, Roger Glover's thumping bass and Jon Lord's imaginative and ground breaking organ work. This particular era was to spawn the archetypical over the top rock band sound that's become the format for the caricature of classic rock, right down to being the first band to utilize the moniker "Mark II" in a serious manner for their new lineup. I'm looking at you Jack Black and Spinal Tap.
In honor of the man who realistically made it OK to scream at the top of your lungs and range, and may be the real daddy of hair metal, here are some of our favorite and otherwise notable Gillan moments.
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