Despite outselling every other act in the US in 1973 ( at nearly 15 million albums), tour-weary Deep Purple could not stay together. It's the typical story of a clash of personalities that came down to either bassist Roger Glover and vocalist Ian Gilliam ( and their prog pop sensibilities) leave Deep Purple or founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would go. The band chose Blackmore.
|Glenn Hughes, 1974|
Glover was replaced by Glenn Hughes of Trapeze ( despite rumors that Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott had the job). Hughes had one condition: that he become the lead vocalist of the band. It was an interesting idea but not one the other members of the band liked. They reached a compromise. Hughes would sing lead on some songs.
Finding the lead vocalist was a tougher task. Blackmore tried to convince Paul Rodgers of Free to join the band but Rodgers was already recording demos with ex-Mott guitarist Mick Ralphs. Together, with Simon Kirke of Free and drummer Boz Burrell, they'd form Bad Company and hit the top of the charts with both their debut album and the single "Can't Get Enough".
|David Coverdale, 1974|
On the verge of splitting up, Deep Purple ran an ad in the music trades. Cassettes began pouring in. Among them was one from future Whitesnake David Coverdale, whose band, The Government, had once opened for Deep Purple. He had the right feeling for Purple but when he walked into the studio to meet the band, he was an overweight, garishly dressed bundle of nerves. Still, the glass slipper fit and Coverdale went to Montreaux to work on the new album as a member of Deep Purple Mark III .
The result is Burn, only their second album aside from Machine Head to crack the US Top 10. Featuring the riff-heavy title track, Burn ventures into the hard rocking funky sounds of Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Underfoot", especially on Coverdale's "Sail Away". There are several moments on the album when Coverdale sounds just like Paul Rodgers. And many more moments when Deep Purple sounds like a boogie band.
Of Burn, compared to previous Deep Purple albums, keyboardist Jon Lord is quoted in Smoke On the Water: The Deep Purple Story as saying
The basic difference is the use of the vocals. There is a different vocal approach. It's much freer and looser, a progression that's noticeable to us, though I don't know if it is for the audience. Also, no casino burned down during the recording.