Sadly the great Jon Lord passed away earlier this year, he was a fantastic musician and will be sadly missed by those who knew him either personally or through his prolific career as a musician.
Jon Lord was best known for his ground breaking work infusing classical orchestral music with pure Rock. He has worked with some of the best from Deep Purple to Whitesnake and beyond. It was back in 1968 when he helped to co-found the legendary Deep Purple and, along with drummer Ian Paice, was one of the few permanent band members from 1968 until 1976 where he took a break until he reunited with them in 1984. He retired permanently from the band in 2002. Born in Leicester in 1941 he was classically trained on the piano from the tender age of 5 and followed the influences of J.S. Bach to Edward Elgar.
As he grew up he discovered a love of the blues and this would shape his musical career where he specialised in the blues sound of the Hammond organ. He moved to London in 1959 and after a brief flirtation with acting he returned to what he truly loved, music. In 1960 he hooked up with Bill Ashton and the pair formed The Bill Ashton Combo where they played in many of the capitals nightclubs to earn a living. During the period of 1963 to 1967Jon Lord played in various blues based bands including The Don Wilson Quartet and The Art Wood Combo.
During his time with Deep Purple Jon Lord continued his love of classical music and in 1970 he appeared with the band and Light Music Society to perform ‘Gemini Suite’ at The Royal Festival Hall. He released a concerto album in 1975 entitled ‘Sarabande’ and was performed with the Philharmonica Hungarcia and conducted by Eberhard Schoener whom he had worked with before. His first post Deep Purple project in a band only produced one album in 1977 ‘Malice In Wonderland’ but made him many friends which he formed into a loose group of active performers including Tony Ashton, Boz Burrell,Mick Ralphs, and Simon Kirke to mention but a few.
During the period of 1978 to 1984 he worked with Whitesnake on many of their albums and his influences can clearly be heard on songs such as ‘Here I Go Again’, She’s A Woman’, ‘Till The Day I Die’, and ‘Wine Women And Song’. During this time he also produced two pieces of solo work ‘Before I Forget’ and the soundtrack to the 1984 TV series ‘Country diary of an Edwardian Lady’.
After once again leaving Deep Purple he released two compositions ‘Boom Of The Triangle Strings’ in 2008 and ‘Disguises’ also in that year. They were recorded in 2006 in Denmark and released by EMI Classics and featured Odense Symfoniorkester conducted by Paul Mann.
Sadly Jon Lord passed away earlier this year and his family along with earMusic have decided to release his last work in tribute to the great man. The album ‘Concerto For Group and Orchestra’ will be on general release on 1st October and will feature the talents of The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann, Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa, Bruce Dickensen, and many more.
It is difficult to find anyone who has added to the great wealth of music in such a significant was as Jon Lord did and he will be sadly missed by any and all who ever heard his music no matter what form it took. He was one of the greatest musicians of his era and it will be a long time before we see anyone of his calibre. His influences are heard in the vast majority of modern blues rock bands currently and I can think of no greater tribute to him.
Jon Lord 1941 – 2012