CSX Classic Cuts

WCSX Classic Cuts

Deep Purple: “Highway Star”

The Hook: Written in the bus on the way to a gig and played for the first time that night.

Album: Machine Head

Year: 1972

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

Stats: Although an edit was released as a single, it didn’t chart.

Background: To date, Deep Purple have opened one studio album and three live albums with “Highway Star.” In an old interview, the band’s late keyboardist Jon Lord explained how it was written on the way to a gig in Portsmouth, England.

In a 1990s interview, the late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord on how “Highway Star” was written on the way to a gig and performed later that night. OC:…rock song. :26

“We needed a fast number to open the set, we’d got tired of the one that we were using – we always used to start with ‘Speed King.’ We just sat in the back of the bus and Ritchie came up with [sings opening riff] and Ian scribbled some words on the back of an envelope or something and we went on stage and did it that night. It was called something like ‘Frankie and Billy Make a Tank’ – whatever stream of consciousness words Ian Gillen came up with that night. It later became ‘Highway Star.’ Lester Bangs, one of the great rock writers, called it, ‘The classic girl/car hard rock song.’”