Ian Gillan - The Voice Of Deep Purple: The Gillan Years album review

Three-CD set of singer’s often ingenious solo work

Cover art for Ian Gillan - The Voice Of Deep Purple: The Gillan Years album

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It’s very easy to forget how inventive and eclectic Ian Gillan was outside of Deep Purple. Listen to his solo work now and it’s easy to imagine why he might have felt frustrated before he quit the band for the first time in June 1973. Though it wasn’t just musical differences that drove him from Blackmore’s side, as he’d admit later: “To understand what was going on in the band you’d need to be a trained psychologist. Everyone in the line-up behaved like an asshole – and I am including myself here.”

Ian Gillan’s departure from the band clearly let him off the creative leash, these three reissues (all with extraneous live Purple classics tagged on to the end) all shine in their own way. There’s the Ian Gillan Band’s Scarabus (1977); then 11 years later, Gillan & Glover’s excellent Accidentally On Purpose; and, finally, 1990’s Naked Thunder, credited to the singer alone, a year after leaving Deep Purple and probably surmising he was free of them at last.

Jazz-rock and fusion, power ballads, a handful of positive screamers – over three decades, the singer tested his mettle on seemingly everything that was thrown at him.

The dense swing of songs like the daring Twin Exhausted from Scarabus or the chiming Telephone Box from his sessions with his old Deep Purple bass-playing partner from Accidentally On Purpose to the charming Loving On Borrowed Time from Naked Thunder, Gillan would prove that not only was he a man of his times, but he also knew how to move with them.

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.