David Coverdale Recalls Ritchie Blackmore’s Compliment About His Voice

In a recent interview on Live From Nerdville With Joe Bonamassa, David Coverdale remembered the time when he went to an audition to be the lead vocalist of Deep Purple during which Ritchie Blackmore praised his talent.

David Coverdale’s career with Deep Purple started when he saw an article on Melody Maker about Deep Purple looking for a new lead singer to replace their former frontman, Ian Gillan. Coverdale previously met with the members of the band while he was the lead singer of a local band named The Government in 1969.

Then, Coverdale sent his tape and joined the auditions of Deep Purple to be able to be their new frontman. During the auditions, he was asked to sing a ballad along with rock songs. His vocal talent was appreciated a lot especially by the band’s lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who told him ‘you have a man’s voice.’ David was accepted to the band immediately.

During a recent interview, David Coverdale recalled the time when he went to the audition to be the new lead vocalist of Deep Purple. He stated that he can’t still forget the compliment he heard from Ritchie Blackmore. Apparently, Blackmore praised David’s voice saying that he was singing like a man. Ritchie later stated that he wrote the songs to be performed as Coverdale did.

Coverdale recalled his audition saying:

“Glenn and I just got on great, like righteous brothers. But I was unaware of how extraordinary he was, much more intimidating when I was playing the Purple stuff. It was really interesting that at my audition, we were just jamming stuff, which is something I really enjoy – I love making shit up as you go, I got a lot of song ideas that way.

Ritchie Blackmore said to me, ‘You can sing rock, let’s see what you can do with a ballad.’ So we did ‘Yesterday’ and Jon Lord said it brought him to tears. And I already found the bottle of the whiskey, a guy with me hid it from me, but the Coverdale’s nose knows, and I found it immediately. So we were just drinking out of the bottle. Jon Lord drank it. ‘This is going quick…’ They took a break to talk, and I was just sitting at the piano nervous, but the edge was a little bit smoothed with the booze.”

He went on:

“And Glenn came over, and we were singing all these major sevens – Stevie Wonder and Aretha style, and he just started harmonizing. It was extraordinary. And all of the band wandered in. And Ritchie said, ‘Do you want to do anything of ours? Do you know any?’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman’

So I did it the way I would do, this small soul-y, bluesy style, and Ritchie said to me, ‘That’s exactly how I was hearing it when I wrote it.’ And Ritchie actually gave me my favorite compliment with, ‘You have a man’s voice.’ ‘I have a fucking man’s voice!'”

You can watch the interview below.