“Highway Star” It is the opening track of Deep Purple’s 1972 album Machine Head and is the fastest song in tempo on the album. It is characterized by long, classically-inspired guitar and organ solos. Organist Jon Lord claimed that the organ and guitar solos were based on Bach-like chord sequences.
This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single “G” repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that same night.
The song first appears on the 1972 LP Machine Head. The track remains one of the band’s staples in live concerts, and was the set opener even before it was released on any album.
The very first live version released, recorded live for German TV program Beat-Club in September 1971, is featured on the History, Hits & Highlights ’68–’76 DVD. It’s the opening track on the live albums Nobody’s Perfect (1988), Come Hell or High Water (1994), and From The Setting Sun… (In Waken) (2015).
The most famous live version is featured on the 1972 live album Made in Japan. The Guardian said, “Blackmore’s playing is like a force of nature on the Made in Japan version; those slashing chords in the intro, and that amazing solo featuring the distinctive neo-classical descending runs, combining the spirits of Bach and Jimi Hendrix”
Ian Anderson Paice (born 29 June 1948) has been Deep Purple’s only constant member since its foundation. And you need to hear his amazing drum track in one of the band’s biggest classic, “Highway Star”.
Check it out: