Ian Gillan

Ian Gillan was one of the foremost vocalists of the heavy metal style of rock that emerged in the 1970s, earning his greatest renown as a member of Deep Purple, though he also led bands named after himself. He began singing in bands while still in his teens, the most notable of which were the Javelins (1962-1964) and Episode Six (1965-1969). Another member of the latter band was bass player Roger Glover, and the two were invited to join Deep Purple in 1969, debuting with the band at the Speakeasy club in London on July 10. At this point, the group entered its most popular period, and Gillan was featured on a series of successful Deep Purple recordings -- Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1970), Deep Purple in Rock (1970), Fireball (1971; number one U.K.), Machine Head (1972; number one U.K.; Top Ten, multi-platinum U.S.), Made in Japan (1973; Top Ten, platinum U.S.), and Who Do We Think We Are (1973; Top Five U.K.; Top 20, gold U.S.). In the meantime, he was also featured on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's concept album Jesus Christ Superstar singing the title role; the gold-selling double LP topped the U.S. charts in 1971.