David Coverdale’s Desperate Expectation From Deep Purple

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David Coverdale has been working with Whitesnake for over four decades, but his brief music career with Deep Purple had a lasting imprint on him. Before joining the band, Coverdale was fronting a local group named The Government. The band had played with Purple on the same stage in 1969, so Coverdale and Deep Purple were no strangers to each other. In 1973, the singer sent a tape to the band and auditioned after seeing they were looking for a singer to replace Ian Gillan.

In February 1974, Coverdale released his first album with Deep Purple, titled ‘Burn.’ Two months later, the musician performed with the band to over 200,000 fans at the California Jam. At the end of the year, the band released their ‘Stormbringer’ album. After its release, Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave in June 1975 because he wasn’t pleased with the album’s sound. Following Blackmore’s departure, Coverdale insisted on continuing together with a new guitarist. Sadly, in July 1976, Deep Purple bid farewell to the music scene after their albums were commercial failures.

Deep Purple had a deep meaning for Coverdale. Although his tenure with the band was rather brief, the musician loved working with the band. During his final show with them, Coverdale even shed some tears before deciding to leave. Besides, he also incorporated some elements from Deep Purple with him while creating Whitesnake’s sound. As it turns out, he had tremendous but desperate expectations from the band long before joining them as a member.

David Coverdale Desperately Waited For A Move From Deep Purple

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Deep Purple released their album ‘Who Do We Think We Are‘ in 1973. However, the band had internal conflicts and was exhausted from working relentlessly. Due to the heavy workload and increasing tensions with Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan decided to leave in the summer of 1973. Roger Glover was also dismissed after him.

After the departures of Gillan and Glover, Deep Purple hired Glenn Hughes as bassist and lead vocalist. Hughes joined the band because he thought they would bring Paul Rodgers as a co-lead vocalist. However, Rodgers had other commitments then, and Deep Purple had to search for other vocal replacements. In the end, they settled on David Coverdale.

Years before that, Coverdale opened for Deep Purple in 1969 with his band The Government. According to what the singer told Rock & Roll High School in an interview, he came across Jon Lord, and Lord asked him his number because he was impressed with Coverdale’s voice. However, the musician didn’t have a phone, so he gave Lord his postal address.

After that, Coverdale waited and waited for a mail from Jon Lord. He woke up every day and checked his mail before doing anything else. Besides, Coverdale expected that the band would approach him if things didn’t work out with Gillan. However, no such thing happened back then, and Deep Purple continued to work with their singer.

Speaking to Rock & Roll High School, David Coverdale recalled the following:

“I’d opened for Deep Purple at Bradford University in 1969, just literally after Ian Gillan and Roger Glover had joined. And Jon Lord, bless his heart, said, ‘I enjoyed your set immensely. Have you got a phone number?’ My mom and dad never had a phone. It was ‘pigeon post,’ you know, ‘Meet me at so and so.’

I gave him my address, and every day I woke up and ran downstairs, even before my cup of tea, to see if there was any mail from Jon Lord. His expression was, ‘In case this other guy doesn’t work out.’ Which, of course, sadly, he did.”

Years passed, and in 1973, Gillan left Deep Purple. Coverdale, who was 20 years old then, came across an ad by Deep Purple in Melody Maker and saw they were looking for a singer. The musician then posted the band a photo of himself along with a tape he recorded. In the same year, Coverdale became a member of Deep Purple, and his expectations turned out to be true after a few years.