The Reason Ian Gillan Thinks Ritchie Blackmore’s Departure Saved Deep Purple

It is very common for bands to continue their music careers with partially different line-ups as many musicians decide to part ways primarily due to creative differences or other personal issues. As you know, Deep Purple is probably among the groups that felt the impact of these changes the most. The band has had several line-up changes over the years, which also shifted their musical direction. The band was originally formed as a progressive rock band, but the band embraced a hard rock-based sound later on.

As they have had many different band members and many departures, it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that some band members ended up having serious disagreements. The famous feud between Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan and former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore after the latter’s departure is a perfect example of that. As revealed by both of them in later years, the two were already having problems during their time together in the band. However, the dispute between them was further fueled by Blackmore’s departure.

Ritchie Blackmore Parted Ways With Deep Purple In 1993

It has been almost thirty years since legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore shocked the music world with his departure from Deep Purple. It was definitely one of the most dramatic exits in the band’s history as Blackmore was an integral part of Deep Purple. The guitarist actually had two departures from the band, first in 1975 and then 1993.

Ritchie Blackmore quit the band for the first time to form a new group, Rainbow. Although he initially intended to make a solo album, he decided to start a new band later on. He continued his career with Rainbow for a while and then rejoined Deep Purple in 1984 to record new material. However, it wouldn’t be a very long-term reunion.

Blackmore and Ian Gillan were successful partners on the musical level, but many other issues had been going on behind the scenes. The two had different opinions regarding the band’s creative direction, and of course, it was just one of the many other disagreements they had. They never had a good relationship on a personal level, which eventually led to Blackmore’s final departure from the band.

For Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore’s Exit Saved Deep Purple

You may think that the feud between Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore ended with the latter’s departure, but it was never the case. The two legendary names have kept talking about each other over the years. Ian Gillan previously joined an interview with Classic Rock and stated that he wasn’t willing to speak to his former bandmate.

Gillan was asked whether we could consider getting in touch with Blackmore, but he replied that he didn’t intend that. Later on, the singer stressed that he wanted to speak the truth about Blackmore and claimed that it would probably end Deep Purple if he had stayed longer in the band. For Gillan, his departure benefited the band since they had been losing ground.

They were performing shows with fewer people, and Gillan was determined that the reason for that was Ritchie Blackmore. The musician expressed that they did much better without Blackmore on the stage as he negatively affected the band’s performance. Ian Gillan still appreciated Blackmore’s artistic side and said he wants to remember the good days together.

Ian Gillan speaking on Ritchie Blackmore’s departure in 2013:

“If you want to talk about Ritchie, I guess we have to. Not many people do these days. The truth of the matter is: the band was dying. If Ritchie had stayed, it would have been the end of Deep Purple. The shows were getting shorter and shorter. The audiences were getting smaller and smaller.

We were playing in small halls, they were half-empty, and Ritchie was walking off the stage every night. When he left, it stopped raining, and the sun came out. Jon Lord, among others, started walking up straight his personality re-emerged. So did Roger Glover and Ian Paice: they became the people they were originally, instead of cowering in case they upset Ritchie.

The distance of time is so great that we just remember the good times. We remember Ritchie as a great player, a great performer, a great writer. I remember him as my roommate; I used to share rooms with him. But something happened with Ritchie. I have no desire to pick up the phone to Ritchie, or have dinner with him, or meet him. I hope he’s well and I hope he’s happy. And that’s the end of it.”

Although many have considered Ritchie Blackmore an irreplaceable Deep Purple member, considering Ian Gillan’s previous statements, it looks like they won’t get together anytime soon. However, despite their tensions, it is clear that Gillan also has good memories with Ritchie since they even shared a room, and he wants to remember his former bandmate as a good old memory.