Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord dies in London

Keyboard player Jon Lord, who fused classical and heavy metal to make Deep Purple one of the biggest rock bands in the world, died Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

The musician suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism in London on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He announced last year that he was being treated for cancer.

Lord, who was born in Leicester, England, on June 9, 1941, co-wrote some of Deep Purple’s most famous tunes, including “Smoke on the Water,” and later had a successful solo career following his retirement from the band in 2002.

The statement posted on Lord’s website said he died “surrounded by his loving family.”

At its heyday in the 1970s, Deep Purple was as big as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, selling more than 100 million albums.

He retired from the band in 2002, and spent the following years working on solo material and collaborating with others, including work last year on a single by the supergroup WhoCares, featuring Purple singer Ian Gillan, Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. Comments: Deep Purple was one of my favorite rock bands growing up and one of the early ‘heavy metal’ bands. They were also one of the first rock bands to prominently feature a Hammond B-3 organ (played by Lord) in their songs and jams.  And they really could jam with Lord on B-3 and Richie Blackmore on guitar. Check out the live album ‘Made in Japan’ to hear them at full throttle. All of the songs have awesome playing and singing and they play all their hits, smoke on the water, highway star, space truckin, child in time, etc.  I saw them once in Atlanta in 2007, long after Lord and Blackmore were out of the band, but they still sounded GREAT.

And AMAZINGLY, Deep Purple is NOT in the Rock n Roll Hall of fame, not even nominated. And Darlene Love (never even heard of her?) and Patti Smith are ???

Rest well Jon, you will be missed.

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