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It all started in 1968 when Chris Curtis, an ex-Searcher, formed a group with Dave Curtiss (no relation, note different spelling) on bass, Bobby Woodman-Clarke on drums and brought in ex-Artwoods organist Jon Lord (born 9 June 1941, Leicester, England) and ex-Johnny Kidd and The Pirates bassist, Nick Simper (born 3 November 1946, Southall, Middlesex). Nick had survived the car crash that had killed Johnny Kidd in 1966. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (born 14 April 1945, Weston-super-Mare, England) joined in rehearsals for this new act initially dubbed Roundabout. Curtis dropped out within days, and when Dave and Bobby also proved incompatible, two members of Maze, Rod Evans (born 19 January 1945, Edinburgh, Scotland; vocals) and Ian Paice (born 29 June 1948, Nottinghamshire; drums), replaced them.

Having adopted the Deep Purple name (apparently inspired by Ritchie's grandmother's favorite song) following a brief Scandinavian tour in April 1968 (where they played as Roundabout, "in case they flopped"), the quintet began recording their debut album, which they patterned on USA group Vanilla Fudge. "Shades of Deep Purple" thus included dramatic rearrangements of well-known songs, including a faithful cover of Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe" and the Joe South-penned, Billy Joe Royal hit "Hush", the latter hitting US #4 in 1968 but not troubling the UK chart-compilers one bit.

Lengthy tours ensued as the group, all but ignored at ...

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