Born: June 9, 1941 Died: July 16, 2012.
Jon Lord, who has died aged 71 of a pulmonary embolism after suffering from pancreatic cancer, was a keyboardist and co-founder of the British rock group Deep Purple.
He co-wrote many of Deep Purple's legendary songs, including Smoke On The Water, and went on to play with many other bands and musicians during his career, including rock bands Whitesnake and Paice, Ashton and Lord.
He pioneered the fusing of rock and orchestral music, with his Concerto for Group and Orchestra being first performed by Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1969.
In 2009 he joined students from Edinburgh's Stevsonson College on stage at the city's Usher Hall to stage the concerto for an event which The Herald's Michael Tumelty hailed as "elemental and exhilarating and barnstorming". Playing Hammond organ, Lord encouraged the college band members as they "played out of their skins".
Lord was born in Leicester, where he took up classical piano from an early age. By his late teens he was playing in jazz and rhythm and blues groups in pub gigs, before acquiring his first electric organ.
In 1959, he moved to London to pursue acting, which he studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He played the piano and Hammond organ in clubs to pay the bills, initially with a jazz band called the Bill Ashton Combo and then with Red Bludd's Bluesicians, featuring the vocalist Art Wood. While recording occasional sessions (he contributed keyboards to the Kinks' 1964 hit You Really Got Me), Lord pursued pop success in the Art Wood Combo, who later renamed themselves the Artwoods and appeared on TV. I Take What I Want was the group's only charting single. He also played on the 1968 pastiche hit Let's Go to San Francisco by The Flower Pot Men. From 1968, Deep Purple were part of the British heavy metal and rock scene alongside bands including Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath that stormed the charts worldwide in the late sixties and 1970s.
Deep Purple was once listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's loudest band and went through many line-ups and a split between 1976 and 1984.
Lord was a fixture of the group until he retired from it in 2002, playing alongside musicians including drummer Ian Paice, singer David Coverdale and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
His solo pieces included his 1976 orchestral work Sarabande, and last year he said he was working on a definitive studio recording of his Concerto for Group and Orchestra.
In 2009 Lord's premiere of the piece in Scortland, with conductor Paul Mann, marked not just its 40th anniversary but the culmination of a education project initiated by Stevenson College.
The symphony orchestra for the concert was provided by the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, augmented by players from the Edinburgh Schools Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh Music School at Broughton.
The rock group was from from Stevenson College. Lord had visited the college throughout the year coaching the band, was invited to be at the heart of the concert.
In 2010 he was made an honorary fellow of Stevenson College, and the following year he was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by the University of Leicester.
He is survived by his wife, Vicky, and their daughter, Amy; and a daughter, Sara, by his first wife, Judith, from whom he was divorced.
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