REVIEW: Deep Purple – “Knocking at Your Back Door” / “Perfect Strangers” (single)

Welcome back to the Week of Singles 3! Each day this week we’ll be looking at rare singles and EPs.

MONDAY: OZZY OSBOURNE – Ultimate Live Ozzy (1986 CBS picture 12″ record)
TUESDAY: BON JOVI – Livin’ On A Prayer (double 12″ EP)
WEDNESDAY: ANTHRAX – Live from Sonisphere Festival 2010 (picture disc EP)

DEEP PURPLE – “Knocking at Your Back Door” / “Perfect Strangers” (1984 Polydor 12″ single)

What a find this was.  While Simon Robinson has kept Deep Purple’s catalogue largely available on CD in lavish packages, here’s an oddity that has slipped through the cracks.  Granted, interviews are fairly low on my collecting priority list.  When something like this falls in your lap, you still gotta bite.

I got this limited edition (#9240/????) at an old used music store in Uptown Waterloo.  I cannot remember the name; perhaps a kind reader will remind me.  They were technically a “Christian” store but still carried music of all varieties.  This 12″ was sitting on their shelves (price long lost) and I snagged it.  The A-side contains not one but two hits, and the B-side, in depth interviews with all five Deep Purple members.  All was harmonious in Deep Purple, coming off the high of making the album Perfect Strangers and embarking on a successful tour.  The dischord did not return until The House of Blue Light.  Therefore these interviews reflected a rare time of excitement and positivity for the short-lived Deep Purple MkIIb.

First, the music:  To get both awesome singles from Perfect Strangers on one 12″ is handy!  These are two of MkIIb’s best tracks, if not the two best tracks, period.  By the end of the A-side, my mind is already blown by the grandiose, intelligent, classic sound of Deep Purple.  Of note, these are the full length tracks, not single edits.

IMG_20140518_065140The interview side is helmed by Tommy Vance for the Friday Rock Show.  Each member is interviewed separately, which is how it should be for Deep Purple.  The amiable Jon speaks for 10 minutes, recalling Deep Purple history, particularly the very early years.  They also discuss Jon’s few writing credits on the new album, a potential pot-stirring question.  Ritchie Blackmore then reveals he doesn’t mind giving up being “the” leader of a band (Rainbow).  Ritchie claims the hardest part of being the leader of a band was “trying to find the perfect member”.  He sounds excited when discussing Deep Purple’s on-stage chemistry.  Meanwhile, Roger Glover sounds like he’s eating a bag of crisps.  He also sheds light on the early stages of the reunion, and the things they discussed to make it work.  I enjoyed Ian Paice’s interview most; he dismisses what was going on in 80’s pop music as “a fashion show”.  He proclaims that his goal for the reunited Deep Purple was to bring back a little bit of class to rock and roll.  In my mind there is no question that they succeeded.  Finally, the singer:  Ian Gillian is soft-spoken and optimistic.  He too is glad to have shed the responsibilities of being the leader of a solo band.

If you’re a Deep Purple collector and you find this record sitting on a shelf for a reasonable price, do not hesitate.  Tommy Vance asks probing, intelligent questions and the result is an interview disc that will enjoy listening to more than once.

5/5 stars

More Deep Purple:

21 comments

  1. Never seen that video before Mike. A telling moment early on where there seems to be some “confusion” about handshakes between Gillan and Blackmore…..

    Great tune. Always thought this was one of the heavier Purple songs. Sounds great live too.

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    1. John, that’s a great moment, isn’t it? I’m surprised you’ve never seen this video! Much Music used to play it fairly often on the Power Hour.

      Bruce Dickinson said about this video: Deep Purple are not as good at football as they appear. The VJ asked him why not? He answered: because they’re not!

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      1. Sad to say that the Purps never featured very highly on MTV UK. Even during the Mk 2 3rd reunion, not much coverage.

        Not surprised about Brucie’s comment. Maiden were a fearless (and fearsome!) football team back in the day. Harris treated it almost like war according to what I’ve read!

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        1. What I read regarding Deep Purple and football is this:

          When recording, or touring, Blackmore regularly organized games with the band, crew, and whoever else was available. But he would continuously swap members until he had the best team, and always won.

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        2. Exactly! This comes from Gillan’s book, so take it with a grain of salt. Turner on the other hand never speaks ill of Blackmore, though he does have plenty to say about Gillan.

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  2. This is cool Mike….like I said before this is my fav DP album and it’s lodged somewhere in my all time top 10!
    Neat to know this stuff exists ….30 yrs later!

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  3. If I were a betting man, I would have won a bet that Purple would be in this week of singles!

    This looks awesome! Great find! I remember a christian music shop on King Street, didn’t they sell musical instruments too? Was it Cravers, something like that?

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    1. I know I did Purple in one of the past Week of Singles. I’m running out of Purple singles though. This could be the last time they appear during the WOS. Maybe. It all depends. Sometimes I use singles to supplement an album review instead.

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