Jon Lord dies aged 71

The Deep Purple founder, who co-wrote "Smoke On The Water", has died.

His website simply carried the statement “Jon passes from Darkness to Light”, adding that the musician was “surrounded by his loving family” when he died, following an extended battle with pancreatic cancer.

Lord announced last year that he was “fighting cancer and will therefore be taking a break from performing while getting the treatment and cure”, but would continue writing music.

The Leicester-born keyboardist first took classical music lessons before turning towards movements in rock and roll. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London on a scholarship prior to joining cult blues band the Artwoods in 1964 and touring with The Flowerpot Men.
Lord founded Deep Purple in 1968, and over the following years started to draw a path towards the harsher sound of heavy metal. The 70s hard rock pioneers featured singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover. The British rockers achieved mass success in the early 1970s with classic albums including In Rock and Machine Head. The band went on to sell over 100 million albums, often featuring Lord’s propulsive, classically influenced Hammond B-3 organ, distorted via Marshall amplification. Lord co-wrote the legendary "Smoke On The Water" - a seminal moment in Deep Purple history.
Lord’s signature propensity for classical fusion manifested in Concerto for Group and Orchestra, performed by the band and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969.  Lord’s vision was ostensibly driven by a desire to dissolve the barriers of superior “academic” music. “We’re as valid as anything by Beethoven,” he told the NME in 1973. 
Deep Purple split in 1976. Lord then played with hard rock act Whitesnake before joining a reformed Deep Purple in 1984.
Jon Lord (Photo: Getty)

En Liang Khong is an arts writer and cellist.

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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood