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RIP Deep Purple's Jon Lord
Sophie Thomsett , July 17th, 2012 09:01

Keyboard player had been suffering from pancreatic cancer

Jon Lord, co-founder and keyboard player of hard rock pioneers Deep Purple passed away yesterday (July 16th) at the age of 71, from a pulmonary embolism. Lord had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer for almost a year. He died at the London Clinic, surrounded by family.

Lord, a co-writer of many of Deep Purple’s songs including ‘Smoke On The Water’, founded the group in 1968. Along with drummer Ian Paice he remained a constant member of Deep Purple despite numerous line-up changes. He remained with the band when they reformed in 1984 up until his retirement in 2002.

Lord’s influences ranged from classical music to blues and jazz but his Hammond organ playing was very much driven by rock & roll, something which stemmed from being inspired by Jerry Lee Lewis at an early age. Lord became renowned for his signature style of rock and classical fusion, most notably with his orchestral work 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra' which was first performed at Royal Albert Hall by Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969. But it was from the heavy rock sound that his band garnered most of their success, with albums including Deep Purple in Rock and Machine Head - the latter reached no. 1 in the UK album chart and stayed in the top 40 for 20 weeks.

During his career Jon Lord also worked with Whitesnake, Paice, The Artwoods and Flower Pot Men, as well as playing piano on The Kinks’ hit ‘You Really Got Me’.

His representatives have made a simple statement, declaring only “Jon passes from Darkness to Light”.