Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1987: Deep Purple- The House of the Blue Light

Reading a little of the back story which went on while Deep Purple was recording the album “The House of the Blue Light,” I am a little surprised. Ian Gillan stated that relations in the band were strained. That the band was like an all star team, a lot of talent but no real spirit. Ritchie Blackmore stated that he felt like he played like shit on the album and Jon Lord added that the album was hard to put together. He went onto add that the band’s mistake was trying to make the album sound too current. While I tend to agree with Jon here, (may he rest in peace), I still think it’s a pretty good album.

In reinforcing Jon’s comments, I do think that Deep Purple tried too hard to make this album sound too much like their previous comeback marking album, “Perfect Strangers.” At least as far as the first three tracks are concerned. While all three tracks are good, tracks one and three were released as singles, they would have also fitted just as well on “Perfect Strangers,” not that there is anything wrong with that. However, when I hear the album, I do get what Ian is trying to say about superstars. On each of those tracks, there is some individual contributions. The album begins with a horror movie like organ intro from Jon and it sounds good and the second track ends with a nice little drum solo from Ian Paice. Roger’s bass playing is solid and Ian Gillan sounds as good as ever and Ritchie’s solos on that second track makes me question how he could have thought he played like shit.

When I posted about “Perfect Strangers,” I stated that the new generation of metalheads were disappointed in that album because none of the songs sounded like “Smoke on the Water.” I think that Deep Purple might have taken that on board when they recorded “The House of the Blue Light.” There are some real rocking tracks, starting with the fourth one, “Mad Dog.” This song goes more up-tempo and even though the keyboards seem to dominate, the song still rocks. Once again, my theory is proven that keyboards can be used in metal if used correctly. Besides, the opening guitar riffs on the song are spectacular.

Hard rocking tracks continue through the next two tracks after that and then Deep Purple take a trip back to their progressive rock days of the 70s with “Spanish Archer.” That’s what I loved about them in that decade. They could be total hard rock or go completely progressive and still produce great songs either way. It’s also the reason why “Woman From Tokyo” remains my favourite DP song. Oh God, I’m digressing again. Getting back to this album, “Spanish Archer” takes the band back to those days. There is some very good keyboard wizardry from Jon and again, I question how Ritchie could have played like shit as his solo is good and I must point out that his solo on “Hard Lovin’ Woman” is possibly the best on the album.

Deh, deh, deh deh! Now for the hidden gem and that comes on the penultimate track, “Mitzi Dupree.” On this one, they throw a total curve ball and go total blues rock. There’s lots of swagger and the talent of this band purely shines through. It’s not what I would expect from Deep Purple but man oh man, do they pull it off and do so fantastically. This is a song where you just want to sit in a chair with a beer in hand and just bob side to side to it. In fact, it’s the best song on the album!

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Attitude
  2. The Unwritten Law
  3. Call of the Wild
  4. Mad Dog
  5. Black & White
  6. Hard Lovin’ Woman
  7. Spanish Archer
  8. Strangeways
  9. Mitzi Dupree
  10. Dead or Alive
Deep Purple

Ian Gillan- vocals

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Ian Paice- drums

Deep Purple said they learned their lesson after making this album. Instead of trying to chase trends, they would simply make the music they wanted and the fact that they’re still around and making records more than thirty years later, shows they’re doing something right. Still, “The House of the Blue Light” is still a good album.

Next post: Bad Nes

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14 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1987: Deep Purple- The House of the Blue Light”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this album. The last one I remember around this time was Perfect Strangers. Anything after that is a complete blur. My listening was so far removed from any 70’s band that they were never a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bad Attitude was a great single and leadoff track. I still have it on CD but it is a sequel to Perfect Strangers. I guess at the time money was rolling in so why change course.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I kinda wrote this one off as a weak sequel to P.S. but nowadays I love it! Listened to it loads in recent years

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a bunch of Purple here (largely thanks to Mike!) but not this one. Doubt I’ve ever heard it. I’ll check into it, though!

    Liked by 1 person

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