Deep Purple's Jon Lord Dead at 71

Classically trained keyboardist left his mark on heavy rock
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2012 12:58 AM CDT

The rock world is mourning Jon Lord, the former keyboard player with British heavy rock pioneers Deep Purple. Lord, who has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 71, co-founded the group in 1968 and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, including "Smoke On the Water." Lord's Hammond B-3 organ was a key part of the band's style, which laid much of the groundwork for the metal bands that followed, notes the New York Times. Lord joined Whitesnake after Deep Purple split in 1976. The band reformed in 1984 and Lord stayed through many line-up changes before leaving in 2002.

Lord learned classical piano at a young age and won a scholarship to drama school, but chose rock and roll instead. He kept an interest in classical music and composed several large-scale pieces in Deep Purple's early days. Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman is among the many rockers paying tribute to Lord, saying he was a friend and a big fan. "We were going to write and record an album before he become ill," Wakeman says. "His contribution to music and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him terribly." (Read more Deep Purple stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.