Deep Purple’s First Pick To Replace Ian Gillan

Bands might start with classic lineups but change later in their career as band members depart and new ones are welcomed. Whatever the reason, there aren’t many acts in the rock scene that keep their original lineup. After all, if the music can carry on, then bands will live on along with different members.

Deep Purple, for instance, has had various lineup changes, and these weren’t just minor ones. The band has changed its frontman several times, and as one might recall, the departure of essential members, such as Ritchie Blackmore, made fans think that the band wouldn’t be able to endure. Still, the band managed to rebrand itself without the guitarist’s sound.

So, when Ian Gillan parted ways with the band, Deep Purple quickly moved on to hiring Joe Lynn Turner, who only recorded one album with the band. However, Turner wasn’t Deep Purple’s first choice to recruit. The cult act had another singer in mind that they wanted to work with, but things wouldn’t go the way the rockers wanted.

Complicated dynamics shaped the early days of Deep Purple. Since most bands have creative disputes and personal differences, complex relationships are common, but Ian Gillan’s problems would result in his departure. The frontman quit after direct orders from Ritchie Blackmore.

So, Deep Purple’s second lineup, Mark II, was no more with Gillan’s departure. The band knew they had to hire someone quickly to carry on, so a few names were presented. Among these names was Survivor‘s Jimi Jamison and the rocker was initially the act’s first pick to recruit.

Keyboardist Jon Lord disclosed the band’s reluctance to work with Turner during an interview in 1994, as he stated that he had always been against working with Joe. The band’s first choice was Jimi Jamison, and Lord claimed that the rocker would have gladly worked with them if it weren’t for unfortunate circumstances.

“I myself was against Joe Lynn Turner from the beginning on,” stated Lord, explaining why Deep Purple didn’t want to collaborate with Turner. “He just wasn’t the singer I imagined. It’s funny because, in fact, none of us wanted him, but he was the only one that was left.”

Jon then added that Jamison was their initial choice. “The guy we actually wanted, if we had to work with a replacement for Gillan, was the singer of Survivor [Jimi Jamison]. [He was] a very nice, very quiet, and very pleasant guy. He was an enormous Deep Purple fan, and he would happily have taken over the job. But at the time, he was afraid of his managers. They were Italo-Americans; that says enough.”

After Turner’s short run with Deep Purple, the band eventually hired David Coverdale, who also became a cult figure. Deep Purple has always managed to carry on even against all the odds, and the band has never been afraid of change when they saw anything contrary to their style and soul.