DEEP PURPLE – ” Made In Japan ” Classic Live Albums Released 21st April 1973

Posted: April 21, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Made In Japan Deep Purple

One of the most celebrated live rock albums in history made its big entrance on 6th January 1973. “Made In Japan”, the double live album recorded in the summer of 1972 during the first tour of Japan by Deep Purple, debuted on the UK chart. Its US debut followed on 21st April. The band were well known for their strong stage act, and had privately recorded several shows, or broadcast them on radio, but were unenthusiastic about recording a live album until their Japanese record company decided it would be good for publicity. They insisted on supervising the live production, including using Martin Birch, who had previously collaborated with the band, as engineer, and were not particularly interested in the album’s release, even after recording, the band’s musical skill and structure meant there was sufficient improvisation within the songs to keep things fresh. The tour was successful, with strong media interest and a positive response from fans. there was a demand for bootleg recordings of the band. The most notorious of these was an LP entitled H Bomb, recorded at Achen on 11th July 1970. This success, along with albums from other artists such as the Who’s Live at Leeds and the Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out convinced the band that an official live album would be commercially successful. At the time, Glover told Sounds magazine that “there are so many bootlegs of us going around, if we put out our own live set, it should kill their market.

The album featured only seven tracks across the four sides of the original vinyl release, four of them taped at their show at the Festival Hall in Osaka on 16th August; one at the same venue the night before; and the other two at probably the best-known venue in those early days of Western bands exploring that market, Tokyo’s Budokan.

In just the seven cuts, Deep Purple deliver four sides of excitement and indulgence. From Ian Paice’s dizzying drum solo during “The Mule” to Jon Lord’s winking organ vamp at the start of “Lazy,” from the trick ending of the 20-minute “Space Truckin'” to Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore’s voice-and-guitar duel during “Strange Kind of Women,” the metal progenitors plunder (and arguably establish) a near-complete arsenal of onstage tricks and tropes. Cheaply made, wildly popular and frequently reissued, Made in Japan was captured during the three nights in Osaka and Tokyo. The set feels ever casual, as if the band is performing less for the crowd or the tape machine and more for the sheer enjoyment of stretching these tunes out like playdates. “We were all so unconcerned about the whole thing that nobody was actually aware of being recorded,” Lord later confirmed in Dave Thompson’s book Smoke on the Water. “There was no diminution of the interplay, spontaneity and feeling that we usually got onstage.

This was already Purple’s second live album, but a very different animal to their first, the 1969 recording of Jon Lord’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra. This time, chiefly at the request of their Japanese label, the idea was to create a record of the band’s powerful live show. It was also a chance to present an in concert version of the band’s anthem-in-the-making from the Machine Head album of only a few months earlier, ‘Smoke On The Water.’

Included on Made in Japan in live form are three more songs from Machine Head, which had been on the UK charts for 24 weeks after its April 1972 debut. The live set’s opening ‘Highway Star’ was another new Purple favourite, while ‘Lazy,’ a seven-minute track on Machine Head, extended to nearly 11 tracks on the live record. The closer, taking up the whole of side four of the vinyl release, was ‘Space Truckin,’’ which expanded from a four-minute original to an epic of nearly 20 minutes on Made In Japan.

The band considered the gig at Tokyo on 17th August to be the best of the tour. Glover remembered “twelve or thirteen thousand Japanese kids were singing along to ‘Child in Time'” and considered it a career highlight, as did Gillan. Lord listed it as his favourite Deep Purple album, saying, “The band was at the height of its powers. That album was the epitome of what we stood for in those days. At the venue, a row of bodyguards manned the front of the stage. When Blackmore smashed his guitar during the end of “Space Truckin'” and threw it into the audience, several of them clambered past fans to try and retrieve it. Blackmore was annoyed, but the rest of the band found the incident amusing. The gig was not as well recorded as the Osaka shows, though “The Mule” and “Lazy” were considered of sufficient quality to make the final release.

Deep Purple were on a hot streak in which both Machine Head and its predecessor Fireball had topped the British chart, but as often with live albums, there was less chart glory to be had this time. The album debuted in the UK that first week of 1973. “Made in Japan is Deep Purple’s definitive metal monster, a spark-filled execution,” wrote Rolling Stone. Deep Purple can still cut the mustard in concert.

The 8-track tapes of the three shows were carefully put in storage by Warner Bros. Japan for future use. For the album’s 21st anniversary in 1993, Deep Purple author and archivist Simon Robinson decided to enquire via the band’s management if the tapes could be located. He discovered the entire show had been recorded well, including all the encores. In July, Robinson and Darron Goodwin remixed the tapes at Abbey Road Studios for an expanded edition, that was then mastered by Peter Mew in September. To compromise between including as much of the shows as possible and setting a realistic price that most fans would accept, they decided to release a 3-CD box set, titled “Live in Japan”. This included all of the three main shows except for two tracks already available on the original album. In their place were two previously unreleased encores.

Robinson subsequently oversaw a new reissue of the original album in 1998 on CD, The colour scheme of the cover was reversed to show gold text on a black background. The remastered Made in Japan has further edits to make a contiguous performance, making it shorter than the original release. At the same time, a limited edition of 4,000 double LPs was released on purple vinyl, while in Spain,

In 2014,Universal Music announced that the album would be reissued in a number of formats in May. The deluxe option is a set of four CDs or 9 LPs containing a new remix of the three concerts in full, a DVD containing previously unseen video footage, a hardback book and other memorabilia. The original LP was reissued in 180g vinyl as per the original release with the original 1972.

Deep Purple
  • Ritchie Blackmore – lead guitar
  • Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica (uncredited), percussion (uncredited)
  • Roger Glover – bass
  • Jon Lord – organ, piano
  • Ian Paice – drums

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