Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers

Destiny brought them back together again. At least that was the big advertising plug for the “Perfect Strangers” album from the newly reformed Deep Purple. Back in the day, this album split opinion among many metalheads. Older ones like me, (I was 23 then), embraced this album immediately. However, there was some dissent from many teen metalheads at the time. Some even said that Deep Purple never should have reformed. To them, “Perfect Strangers” was a disappointment.

Let me add my theory to why teen metalheads might have been disappointed with the album. See, all these youngsters ever heard about in regards to Deep Purple was the classic “Smoke on the Water.” For many, this was their only experience with the legends. Therefore, they expected the entire album to be like that classic and when Deep Purple showed their more progressive rock side, which they do on the album, these youngsters were put off.

My experience with Deep Purple, although late, was full on. Of course, I knew of “Smoke on the Water” but I also enjoyed their more progressive songs like, “Wring That Neck” and there’s my favourite, “Woman From Tokyo” which incorporates both the prog and hard rock they were famous for. While none of the songs on “Perfect Strangers” quite match up to my fave, they do a rather good job of fusing their progressive and hard rock sounds. I think what these young people didn’t understand was that the band couldn’t help but add a little prog rock into their music when they had one of the best keyboard players of all time.

Deep Purple try to explain to their listeners that they had progressed from the days of “Smoke on the Water.” The closing track and my pick for hidden gem, “Hungry Daze,” states this clearly with the lyrics:

“We all came out to Montreax, but that’s another song.” 

The opening track, “Knocking At Your Back Door” pretty much shapes the entire album. You have some killer guitar work from Blackmore, great keyboard wizardry from Lord, Ian Gillan’s vocals were as sharp as they had been ten years earlier and the bombarding rhythm section of Glover and Paice holding all together. It’ s a great song to begin the album with. Things just go on from there with the slightly harder “Under the Gun,” then the more progressive “Nobody’s Home”  which shows off Jon Lord’s best keyboard work and the more bluesy sounding “Mean Streak.

One of my biggest regrets after writing “Rock and Roll Children” comes with the title track. When I saw Deep Purple live in early 1985, there was a phenomenal light show accompanying the song. I loved how the lasers shot across the length of the Philadelphia Spectrum making different patters with the notes. I don’t think I did it justice in the story. It was the first single and an okay song. “A Gypsy’s Kiss” remind me of the old DP classic, “Burn” with Ritchie belting out a blinder of a solo as well as the trade-off with Jon Lord where guitar and keyboards go back and forth. Okay, there are two hidden gems on this album.

In regards to the other gem, I don’t think “Hungry Daze” should have been the closer on the album. It’s a good track but everything about the penultimate track, “Wasted Sunsets” screams closer! Just listen to the opening guitar solo and the way Gillan’s voice just takes over before relinquishing again to another blazing Blackmore solo. The slower blues beat with it bears even more witness that it should be a closer. Hell, even the title suggests it! Other than this track misappropriation, “Perfect Strangers” was a good album for them to come back on.

Track Listing:

  1. Knocking At Your Back Door
  2. Under the Gun
  3. Nobody’s Home
  4. Mean Streak
  5. Perfect Strangers
  6. A Gypsy’s Kiss
  7. Wasted Sunsets
  8. Hungry Daze

Deep Purple

Ian Gillan- lead vocals

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Ian Paice- drums

Was 1984 the right time for Deep Purple to return? I’ve always thought so. I admit, “Perfect Strangers” isn’t exactly “Machine Head” but it’s a good album. The musicianship of the five members is outstanding, proving that there’s more to them than “Smoke on the Water.”

Next post: Venom- At War With Satan

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18 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers”

  1. I was 16 going on 17 when this was released and quickly gravitated toward it. Back than I thought it was brilliant. Today its still one of all time Top Fav’s…
    This period of Purple is my favourite more so is when I really discovered them due to there reformation…
    This Metalhead dug em…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Must admit I missed the Deep Purple boat, well except for the obvious Smoke… might have to look into them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Source: Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Right on. I have a bunch of Purple, but not this one. Now I wanna!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed this and hated ‘House of Blue Light’, I can’t remember which way round they were released. ‘Knocking at Your Back Door’ was one of the very first rock/metal tracks I heard that just left me totally thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I bought this album in 1991 and it quickly became one of the most important albums to my soul, much like Gillan did years earlier with Born Again. It’s the Ian Gillan magic, I guess. Both albums share a similar spot in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I knew the song “Perfect Strangers” long before I knew it was from Deep Purple. I had Dream Theater’s version of the song off their A Change of Seasons album for near a decade before I finally brought this one home. 1984 was a year I spent as a missionary in South America and, as a result, I was generally oblivious to goings-on in the rock world then. Thankfully, the error is overcome and I now know and dig this winner.

    (I saw today’s version of Deep Purple live last August and they offered up a killer take on “Perfect Strangers.”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • They say better late than never but you got me intrigued with Dream Theater’s version. I’m going to have to listen to it. I think “Perfect Strangers” is one of those songs which sound and look awesome when played live.


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