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© Neal Preston/CORBIS
“In Rock was the first studio album I ever made. I had a band before but we just made singles. My first outing with Deep Purple was [1969 album] Concerto.
I didn’t know what I was in for. I’d listened to the first three albums and was impressed with them. But when we started writing you really didn’t know what was going to happen. We were against the grain.
After Concerto we were seen as an arty band and we’d turn up to gigs and people would want to know where the orchestra was. In Rock was a much harder album than we would have made had we not done the Concerto. The success of it was very surprising. In those days if the BBC didn’t play something you didn’t stand a chance in hell, and they wouldn’t play us. We made it under our own steam, and that’s when you really make it.
“With Machine Head none of us predicted [the success of] Smoke on the Water. That was the last thing on our minds that that would become an iconic song. You never can tell, it’s down to the people.”