Original keyboardist and one of the founding members of Deep Purple, Jon Lord suddenly passed away after a yearlong battle against pancreatic cancer. It was reported that the cause of Lord’s sudden passing was a pulmonary embolism, which was attributed to the pancreatic cancer.
Jon Lord along with guitarist Richie Blackmore, bassist Nick Simper and vocalist Rod Evans were brought together by drummer Chris Curtis to form a new band. Unfortunately after a mental health issue, Curtis was replaced by Ian Paice, and this became the original lineup for the band Deep Purple.
Lord was a classically trained keyboardist who was able to fuse classical forms of music with rock and roll, and he did this not only with Deep Purple, but also with The Atwoods, The Flowerpot Men, and Whitesnake.
Lord was basically Deep Purple’s “leader,” and he along with Ian Paice and other band members wrote much of the band’s material, and interestingly enough Paice and Lord were the only original band members through the bands many incarnations through 1976.
At the end of a show at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in 1976, Deep Purple was no more, and Lord moved on to work with other bands until the band’s official reunion of in 1984.
One of the more famous bands that Lord was a part of after the breakup of Deep Purple was the band Whitesnake. Lord’s role as part of Whitesnake was more about adding color to the band’s sound with his layered keyboards, and his stack of synthesizers provided by Moog.
Unfortunately, Lord was dissatisfied with his role in the band and when interviewed, he wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings. Lord just felt like an underpaid hired hand, and when the band’s front man and lead singer David Coverdale wanted to revamp the band with a totally new lineup.
For Jon Lord, clearly the writing was on the wall as far as he was concerned. So Lord left the band and the rumors started to swell about the possible return of an invigorated Deep Purple.
The reunion of Deep Purple in 1984 featured the classic lineup of the band including Lord, Paice, Blackmore, and Glover. With the band back in full force, Lord was at the height of his career once again, as Deep Purple’s fan base responded to the band’s reunion with a tour in 1985 that was the second largest grossing tour of that year in the US.
The band then did a concert in front of more than 70,000 of their fans in London at Knebworth, where they were the headline act. And after many years with the band that he helped found, John Lord finally parted ways with the band amicably in 2002.
There have been many musicians in the industry who worked with or knew Lord and paid their respects to him, including former band mates Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillian, Neil Murray whitesnake’s former bassist, Glen Hughes who was a member of Deep purple and Black Sabbath, and Whitesnake’s David Coverdale.