Jon Lord, the man who was ejected from the conservatory to become the most important keyboardist in hard rock

Like a gaseous murmur, rocks of expanding air, the Hammond organ lets itself be heard crushed, wresting a percussive role from its cavernous structure: pure groove. That is all that is heard aboard an MG convertible driven by Roman Polanski accompanied by Sharon Tate on the California night ride that takes the couple from their Hollywood mansion to a party at the Playboy house. It is that minute and thirty-eight seconds of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) that Quentin Tarantino chose to bring back to the forefront the unique sound of deep purple. And more: when choosing the intro of “Hush” (1969) what reverberates in detail in this film made of layers of cinephilia is Jon Lord and his organ, absent from the material world since July 16, 2012 when one of the founders of the hard rock group died of pancreatic cancer. It is no coincidence that the first photo of him that appears in the Google image gallery shows him at the age of 30 wearing a vest, a silk scarf around his neck and mustaches just like those characters that Tarantino makes Rick Dalton (Leo Di Caprio) represent. drifting through the spaghetti western. Yes, under his retrospective magnifying glass, not only Jon Lord’s sound is resignified but also his vibe, suitable for imaginary films within a 21st century film. Born Jonathan Douglas Lord in Leicester on June 9, 1941, the older brother of The Purple Order was initiated into the European classical tradition from the age of five until the appearance of Jerry Lee Lewis and (bluesman) Jimmy McGriff tore him out of the conservatory and into the same rhythm and blues environment that Rolling Stones came out of. Stones, The Yardbirds and The Animals. In The Artwoods, the young Jon is still heard in the background, contributing the sound of the Hammond as an accompaniment in one of the cult bands of the mods. The bangs had already advanced over the forehead but the characteristic mustaches and the ray bans that ended up making it almost an isotype of Deep Purple along with his arsenal were still missing: the combination of Hammond B3 and C3 electric organs with Leslie speakers. The military metaphor seeks to specify that bombastic sound with which it was possible to hear it on lake excursions guided by technique but also by artifice. Lord was able to give Deep Purple, and the hard rock fan in general, the experience of the abstract. In that sense he was the Hendrix of the organ: someone capable of causing a mass of explicit daze and taking Bach on a nightly round with the Hells Angels (back to the intro and solo of “Estrella del camino”, 1972). It was written about him that he was the session player who insistently plays a single piano note in “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks (the most influential ostinato of the pop era), but no. There was no such Lord of The Kinks but a musician named Arthur Greenslade who worked on soundtracks for the BBC in London. But the legend can weigh more than the recording files and just as Lord himself let the version run without ever denying it, the obituary published by The Guardian that same Monday, July 16, 2012 dragged the error. That same note reproduces a symbolic high-octane statement by Lord to the New Musical Express in 1971 (the same year Finn Costello portrayed him as an imaginary future Tarantino villain): “We are as valid as anything Beethoven made.” In that tradition, Lord chose to measure himself following Lennon’s model with the passage from the sacred to the famous (“The Beatles are more famous than Jesus Christ”). They were? Time will tell. The truth is that few bands of the pop era managed to find a universal sound meme (the introduction to the Fifth Symphony) like Deep Purple did with the riff of “Smoke on the water” played in unison by the guitar hero Ritchie Blackmore and Lord tightening the Hammond in the abyss of saturation. Jon Lord in November 1974, at a Deep Purple concert Fin Costello – Redferns It was Jon Lord who tried to make Deep Purple a serious thing with the Concert for Group and Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London, but what made them something Out of series was Machine Head, the group’s sixth LP released on March 25, 1972, half a century ago. It was a better strategy then to put Bach in the rocker ear than to legitimize himself on the red carpet of the concert hall. And the key to Bachplotation in Deep Purple, a subgenre that Procol Harum had already tested with great success with “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, was speed. Taking sacred motifs out on the highway, Lord exploited the symbolism of the organ’s sound by inverting Bach’s sublime into profane frenzy. If the electric guitar, as Lou Reed once said, took music out of churches, Jon Lord’s electric organ brought Notre Dame into the bacchanals of early 1970s heavy rock (return to the concentrated intro of “Lazy” ). By 1972 Deep Purple had broken the Guinness World Record for loudness on stage with 117 decibels at London’s Rainbow Theatre.. Although Lord’s face can be seen on the cover of that album as out of focus as that of the rest of Deep Purple’s best line-up, the Machine Head thing was already clear to me before. Just a few months in 1967, Santa Barbara Machine Head lasted, a blues quartet that only recorded three instrumental songs with the particularity of crossing an imminent purple with a future stone: Ron, the younger brother of Art Wood. Five years later, Santa Barbara (what a horrible name!) was completely forgotten and the three songs evolved in the thirty-seven minutes and forty seconds of the iconic Machine Head. Between 1968 and 2002, then, Lord took part in all the formations of the group as well as drummer Ian Paice: the path that went from Shades of Deep Purple to Abandon (1998), sixteen albums in total. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, Luis Alberto Spinetta decided to add the sound of Carlos Cutaia’s Hammond to the Pescado Rabioso trio. First in “The early gardener woke up” from Destormentandonos and then throughout the double Pescado 2. With an academic background but more related to the avant-garde of the 20th century than to the canon, Cutaia does not believe that Spinetta was impressed by the sound of Deep Purple. “Pescado wasn’t looking for that technical precision that they had because we played with the logic of a trio in the style of Hendrix or Led Zeppelin. Lord achieved a unique, distorted sound, but my style and contribution with Pescado were more influenced by Mark Stein, the organist of Vanilla Fudge”, he points out in perspective. We had to wait for an uchrony in which Tarantino saves the young, beautiful and pregnant Sharon Tate of the murder perpetrated by the band of the horrible Charles Manson so that Deep Purple, of lesser critical prestige than Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, regain centrality. In that scene in which Polanski drives an MG and the sound expands from the car like a gaseous rumor, expanding air rocks, pure groove. The organ torn from the cathedral for the militant enjoyment of rock and roll. What here, with Los Redondos, began to be called “mass” comes from there: from the translation of the oratorios into heavy rock that resonates in the solos, arrangements and spatial effects that Jon Lord designed for Deep Purple.

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