By: AnnMarie Scaramuzzino
Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord was widely celebrated by musicians and music fans alike after his passing in the summer of 2012. And though many were affected by his death, Lord’s bandmates are among those who undoubtedly miss him the most.
In a touching video eulogy released on Friday (December 28th), Whitesnake frontman and former Deep Purple band member, David Coverdale, explained how Lord affected his life and career on three separate occasions.
He begins by describing the first time he ever met Lord, while he and his band were opening for MkII at Sheffield University.
Coverdale explains, “Jon came up to me after our show and discretely asked for my phone number, whispering: ‘In case it doesn’t work out with the new guy!’ Of course in those days I was living at home with my parents and we never had a phone, so I hastily gave him my address.”
“Of course it worked out beautifully and successfully for the ‘new guy’ as we all know, but it didn’t stop me rushing down to the front door every morning for months to see if he’d written to me. As you can imagine, it was an indescribable boost for my morale at that time in my life.”
The next scenario that Coverdale describes is his audition for Deep Purple in ’73, when Jon Lord helped calm his nerves enough to give the audition that ultimately lead to him joining the band.
Coverdale’s final tribute to the character of Lord was through the story of DP’s first recording session with Coverdale on vocals, which would ultimately become the “Burn” album. He explains that Lord was running late, and when he called to see how Coverdale was getting along with the rest of the band, Ritchie Blackmore reported that he had yet to sing a single note.
Again, Lord helped to calm his nerves, bringing him down for an impromptu jam session in the rehearsal room, to which Blackmore, Ian Paice and Glenn Hughes joined in.
He remembers, “Slowly but surely the guys all came in and started playing along – and suddenly I was a member of the best band in the world.”
In closing, David Coverdale gives these words to his late Deep Purple and Whitesnake bandmate:
“I thank you Jon with all my heart. I will never forget you and what you brought to me and countless others’ lives. The many precious memories I will treasure forever more. Bon vivant, raconteur, premier musician and gentleman extraordinaire; Jon Douglas Lord, I salute you."
Jon Lord passed in July after battling cancer; he was 71 years old.