Ian Gillan

Ian Gillan's most successful years may have been the heady days of the 1970s when he fronted the hugely successful British hard rock band Deep Purple, but his career has encompassed many other bands and styles, including a brief spell with Black Sabbath and two powerful groups of his own, Gillan and Ian Gillan Band. Initially inspired to sing by Elvis Presley, he fronted various bands in the '60s, most notably Episode Six, but it was with Deep Purple - with whom he spent three spells - that he made his name. Gillan started off singing in various covers bands but Episode Six launched his longstanding songwriting partnership with Roger Glover. They both left Episode Six to join Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple in 1969 which renounced its previous interest in psychedelia to become progressive rock and heavy metal pioneers. They broke the mould performing Jon Lord's 'Concerto for Group and Orchestra' at London's Royal Albert Hall after which Gillan was recruited by Tim Rice to sing the part of Jesus in the original studio recording of 'Jesus Christ Superstar', but declined the chance to star in the subsequent movie in order to stay with Deep Purple. Arguments with Blackmore caused Gillan's departure from the band for the first time in 1973, dropping out of music for a while to concentrate on business ventures. He returned two years later to form Ian Gillan Band, but its jazz-rock flavour had limited appeal and he reverted to a more traditional hard rock sound with next band, Gillan. As his raucous vocals took their toll he dissolved the band in 1982, but then spent an unsatisfactory year with Black Sabbath before returning to Deep Purple for the rest of the decade. He then quit again, only to return for a second time in 1992. He continued to work on other projects after that however, notably his 2009 solo album 'One Eye to Morocco'. He's subsequently involved himself on various ad hoc charity projects with Tony Iommi under the name Who Cares.

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