CSX Classic Cuts

ISCHGL, AUSTRIA - APRIL 30: Roger Glover (L) and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple perform at the 'Top Of The Mountain Concert' at Idalp on April 30, 2013 in Ischgl, Austria. (Photo by Daniel Liebl/Getty Images)

WCSX Classic Cuts

Deep Purple: “Speed King”

The Hook: No, guys, it isn’t about drugs!

Album: Deep Purple in Rock

Year: 1970

Writers: Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice

Stats: It was the B-side of Deep Purple’s highest-charting British single, the non-album cut “Black Night,” which reached number-two there and number-66 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Background: The late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord once told us that despite its title, their classic album cut “Speed King” has nothing whatsoever to do with drugs. He said the band were drinkers, not druggies, and that Ian Gillan wasn’t thinking of that at all when he wrote — or borrowed — its lyrics.

The late Jon Lord on “Speed King” not being a drug song. OC:…sorry but. :21

”It was a song about a guy singing a song fast. It was a typical piece of Gillan lunacy. All it does is repeats the titles of famous rock songs and that’s the words, and the chorus is ‘I’m a speed king, hear me sing.’ And that’s what it’s about. But we’ve had people come up to us in the years since then and, ‘Oh yeah, man, I remember, oh wow I was stoned the first time I heard that song, thank you.’ Well, actually, it’s a song about singing fast, guys. I’m sorry, but…”