Oliver's Memories of Jon Lord


Jon Lord R.I.P

I felt that I should write a few lines abut the sad news of Jon Lords passing on Monday.

With the birth of my new daughter I haven't been paying much attention to much else, but in the middle of the night last night, whilst my wife and I were feeding Lottie, I checked the news on my phone and read about Jon's passing.

I am unable to write an account of how great it was to meet him as I never had that pleasure. My memories of Jon Lord come purely from that as a huge fan.

I first discovered Deep Purple one day after buying a cassette in Woolworths in Bideford, Devon. I picked up 'The best of Deep Purple', the cover showing a purple monolith in a purple sea.

I turned to my mum and said "Are they a bit like Pink Floyd" (who, at the age of 15, I'd recently just discovered). "Yes" she answered in that parental way of hurrying a child out of a shop without really listening to the question...

I got into the car, put the tape in my Walkman and pressed play. Speed King opened with Jon's classic organ chords and I was instantly hooked.

The journey from Devon to Farnham Common passed in a blur, passing through "Woman from Tokyo", "Child in Time", "Black Night", "Hush", "Mandrake Root", "Smoke on the Water" and countless other classics. I became hooked by the band and in particular by Jon Lord's organ playing.

I then started buying every record of theirs I could find. Then one day I bought "Who Do We Think We Are" and thought it was utterly fantastic. I still rate it as one of my all time favourite records - the keyboard work on the album is particularly breathtaking.

I was fortunate enough to see Jon Lord play at the Plymouth Pavilions on the "Purpendicular" tour and watching him was every bit as exciting as I always imagined it would be.

To this day I count him as one of my huge influences in becoming a keyboard player. Obviously having a fantastic keyboard player as a father was a great inspiration, but something about the way Jon Lord created musical excitement with his use of the Hammond Organ really stirred something in me.

I always say my father gave me the inspiration to play piano and keyboards but Jon Lord gave me the need to play the Hammond Organ.

So from a fellow musician and keyboard player, but most of all as a fan, thanks for the music Jon, I'm going to make sure my kids get to hear you when we're next in the car.

Oliver Wakeman
July 2012