"It's almost like a template of how a hard rock band playing a rock'n'roll tune should be": Ian Paice's eight favourite Deep Purple songs

Ian Paice studio portrait
(Image credit: Ben Wolf)

Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice is the only member of the band who's been with them since they formed in 1968, but, having seen more than a dozen musicians come and go in front of him, he still approaches the band's catalogue with the enthusiasm of old.

"Go and listen to 1972 live album Made In Japan and glory in the fact that there were a bunch of kids who could back then capture all that craziness and still have a measure of control," he once told us. “Now listen to what we’re doing all these years later, and inside we’re still a bunch of kids. You don’t have to lose your love for making music."

After more than 50 years of making music, these are Ian Paice's favourite Deep Purple songs. 


Highway Star (Machine Head, 1972)

“Not how it started in the studio, Highway Star became a monster on stage. And it’s still a monster. It’s almost like a template of how a hard rock band playing a rock’n’roll tune should be. It was really well-performed on the Machine Head record and the solos from Jon and Ritchie are incredibly interesting. The feel of the whole thing is so right.” 

Space Trucking (Machine Head, 1972)

“It came about when we tried to get Ritchie to play a Chuck Berry tune. He just wouldn’t do it. Finally, under much duress, compromised by playing four to the bar, which made a sound that was really hard – really good. So we tried something a bit different for us. I went in and over the backing track I overdubbed my little dream feature in the middle. That worked out really well. There was no reason for it to be there, except that it was a nice idea and it sounded really good. I’m still proud of that drumming to this day.”

Smoke On The Water (Machine Head, 1972)

“Obviously I had to include this one, due to its phenomenal success. It’s a little harder to play [on stage] than people might think. If you get it wrong it’s very trudge-y, but play it right and it has a has a buzz and a bounce. I tell drummers: ‘It should have a little bounce, but it’s not quite a shuffle. There should be a pulse to move it along. If you do that, it works.”

Rat Bat Blue (Who Do We Think We Are!, 1973)

“That’s a great one. Don Airey told me that if you listen to it, even within the movement of the song, it ends just the way it began. It stays where it should be. Listen to the incredibly fast, double-speed [keyboard solo] played by Jon, and there’s no real need for it to be there, just that we loved it.”

Silver Tongue (Bananas, 2005)

“Rhythmically, Silver Tongue is a great piece of music with an outstanding melody. I mean, it just rips. We’ve got a few of those songs in a similar vein on different records, where the star is the feel. That’s when I’m coming from anyway.”

Ted The Mechanic (Purpendicular, 1996)

“A really good and an important song. [It was the opening track of the band’s first album with Steve Morse on guitar.] It’s got a very rhythmic feel, that double-tempo shuffle that I find quite easy to play but a lot of drummers struggle with. Then again, there are things that I find difficult that others can do with ease. It was a nice track to play on stage, too.”

Any Fule Kno That (Abandon, 1998)

“That was slightly unusual for us, with one of Gillan’s weird titles [Ian also brought a spoken-word vibe to the verses, which some people saw as an attempt at rapping]. It sounded right. When I heard it back for the first time – what he’d done over the music – I thought it was wonderfully creative.

No Need To Shout (Whoosh!, 2020)

“That song was very good, and as an album Whoosh! sticks together very well as an entity. For me as a drummer, there wasn’t much to do, just to hold things tight and underpinning what the others did. Very simple, but hopefully it was effective.”

The 50th anniversary deluxe edition of Deep Purple's Machine Head is out now.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.