Why Ritchie Blackmore Chose David Coverdale Over Glenn Hughes For Deep Purple

David Coverdale has stuck in many rock fans’ minds with his impressive baritone voice and his distinctive tone. It is effortless to see the influence of bluesy sounds in his vocal style. His deep, blues voice blended with a balanced amount of distortion has become his trademark. Born into a family of music fans, he developed an interest in music at an early age.

He first started by playing guitar and later improved his vocal style. The singer tried to find ways and techniques to make his voice better. He soon began performing with some local bands, including Fabulosa Brothers, the Government, Denver Mule, and Vintage 67. His life-changing career moment came around this period when he answered an ad for a band looking for a singer, Deep Purple.

How Did David Coverdale Join Deep Purple?

In 1973, David Coverdale was looking for a new band to join and gain more experience on stage. Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan had left the band due to his exhaustion and the creative tensions with Ritchie Blackmore. Deep Purple issued an ad saying that they were looking for a vocalist. They started to have auditions for the possible lead vocal replacements.

David Coverdale saw the ad and sent them a tape. He was immediately invited for an audition and then joined the band. The band’s bassist Glenn Hughes would also accompany him with back vocals. It was, in fact, a risky decision for the band as Coverdale was an unknown singer who didn’t have much experience on stage. However, there is a reason Ritchie Blackmore specifically chose him as the lead singer.

Why Did Ritchie Blackmore Prefer David Coverdale Over Glenn Hughes?

Glenn Hughes had also just joined Deep Purple along with David Coverdale. He was recruited as the bassist to replace Roger Glover, but he was more interested in the vocals. He accepted their offer when some of the band members said that Paul Rodgers would join as the co-lead vocalist, which didn’t happen later. Thus, their search for a new singer continued until they settled on Coverdale.

In 2020, David Coverdale appeared as a guest on The Cassius Morris Show and looked back on his days with Deep Purple. The singer stated that he was very young and inexperienced when joining the band, but they always supported him. Especially Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore significantly contributed to his development as a singer during his short-term tenure in the group.

He also revealed why Blackmore chose him over Glenn Hughes in the first place. Coverdale appreciated Hughes’ vocal skills, but according to him, Ritchie Blackmore wanted a ‘man’s voice,’ and that’s why he preferred Coverdale to take over the vocals. Hughes had a more funk and soul background than Coverdale’s distorted baritone voice. For Coverdale, Blackmore thought that he would be a better match with the band’s heavy rock sound with his more bluesy and masculine voice.

David Coverdale speaking on why Blackmore preferred him over Hughes:

“And we wrote pretty much very easily. He had a lot of stuff prepared downtown prior to that. They’ve been looking for a lead singer for quite a while. I can totally understand why Glenn thought he was the lead singer; the guy’s a giant of a vocalist! Ritchie wanted more, and it’s like probably one of my favorite compliments; he wanted a man’s voice. So, presumably, my genitalia and my voice were enough! Prior to the hernia, for god’s sake.”

You can watch the full interview below.