Deep Purple

I have a retro cassette of pre-Beatles music from the 1959-1963 era. I have had it for years, and it is full of really boring tunes that I hardly ever play. It was an era of sappy sentimentalism, when torch songs reigned supreme, and everyone tried to outdo each other with the ultimate love tune. If you are the kind of person who expects more than McCarthyist, sappy sentimentalism from music, then it wasn’t a good time to grow up. I wasn’t born then, but came accross this cassette in a delete bin at a record store. I guess no one else wanted it either.

There is one song among the collection whose title stood out because I was a Deep Purple fan (you know, those ’70s musicians with the loud guitars — that Deep purple). The song, sung by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, was actually called Deep Purple. Of all the music I heard on the cassette, it was the most mellow among this collection of already mellow tunes. I had largely forgotten about this tune, until this week when I was listening to an all-Jazz radio station, and they began playing a 1940s version of Deep Purple by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (by WWII — the time of the recording — it became a specially-commissioned orchestra to play for the troops of the Allied Command (British and US)).

In listening to Glenn Miller, I learned something about the Tempo/Stevens version of the song — it was played very fast! Miller’s rendition was at half of the tempo, with no words (I don’t know if Mitchell Parish had written the words yet at that point). I look this song up on Wikipedia, and find it was written in 1929 by Peter de Rose. It was already over 30 years old when Tempo/Stevens sung it, and over 40 years old by the time Donny and Marie Osmond sung it (a version I haven’t heard about).

Sampling versions that they have of this song on EMusic, (there are over 80 different versions listed), most versions I sampled are super-slow Jazz tunes, usually played with piano in the lead, or as the only instrument other than voice. After some sampling, I have to say that I am partial to the Tempo/Stevens version of the tune. I was able to search out the chords to play it on guitar.

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