The Long Play with Al Neff" is a continuing Sunday evening Feature on The
GOAT. This year, Every Sunday Evening, Album Rock WXYG, The GOAT will
feature a full album at 8:00 PM from the halcyon musical days of 1972
1972 was another amazing year in Album Rock history. Another year of tough
choices every week. So many great ones to choose from.
We hope you’ll tune in next Sunday evening, August 21st for “Made in
Japan” a double live album by Deep Purple, recorded during their first
tour of Japan in August 1972. It was originally released in December 1972
and became a commercial and critical success.
The band were well known for their strong stage act, and had privately
recorded several shows, or broadcast them on radio, but were
unenthusiastic about recording a live album until their Japanese record
company decided it would be good for publicity. They insisted on
supervising the live production, including using Martin Birch, who had
previously collaborated with the band, as engineer, and were not
particularly interested in the album's release, even after recording. The
tour was successful, with strong media interest and a positive response
album was an immediate commercial success, particularly in the US, where
it was accompanied by the top five hit "Smoke on the Water", and became a
steady seller throughout the 1970s. A three-CD set of most of the tour's
performances was released in 1993, while a remastered edition of the album
with a CD of extra tracks was released in 1998. In 2014, a deluxe edition
was announced with further bonus material. The album had a strong critical
reception and continues to attract praise. A Rolling Stonereaders' poll in
2012 ranked Made in Japan the sixth best live album of all time.
Deep Purple "Mk II" formed in July 1969 when founding members, guitarist
Ritchie Blackmore, organist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice recruited
singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover to progress from their earlier
pop and psychedelic rock sound towards hard rock. They began touring
extensively, becoming a well received live band, and had recorded several
shows either to broadcast on the radio or listen to privately. However,
they had rejected the idea of releasing a live album commercially as they
believed it would be impossible to reproduce the quality and experience of
their stage act on an LP.
Consequently, there was a demand for bootleg recordings of the band. The
most notorious of these was an LP entitled H Bomb, recorded at Aachen on
July 11,1970, which led to a subsequent court case when Virgin Records'
Richard Branson was prosecuted for selling it. An article in Melody Maker
that examined the bootleg phenomenon claimed that H Bomb was the best
selling one at that time. This success, along with albums from other
artists such as the Who's Live at Leeds and the Rolling Stones' Get Yer
Ya-Ya's Out convinced the band that an official live album would be
commercially successful. At the time, Glover told Sounds magazine that
"there are so many bootlegs of us going around, if we put out our own live
set, it should kill their market."
By 1972, Deep Purple had achieved considerable commercial success in
Japan, including several hit singles, so it made sense to tour there.
Three dates were booked; the Festival Hall, Osaka on 11 and 12 of May, and
the Budokan, Tokyo on August 16th, though these were later changed to 15
and 16 of August, and August 17th respectively due to an earlier US tour
being rescheduled. The dates sold out almost immediately, and consequently
the Japanese arm of the band's label, Warner Bros. Records, wanted to
record the tour for a live album to be released in the country. The band
eventually agreed to the idea, but insisted if it was going to be
released, they wanted it to be done properly. Gillan recalled, "we said we
would have to OK the equipment, we wanted to use our own engineer and we
would have the last say on whether the tapes were released". The band
enlisted producer Martin Birch, who had worked on previous studio albums,
to record the shows onto an 8-track recorder so they could subsequently be
The band's live setlist had been revamped at the start of the year,
immediately after recording the album Machine Head, and that album made up
a substantial proportion of new material. Although the setlist remained
the same for most of the year, opening with "Highway Star" and closing
with "Lazy" and "Space Truckin'", the band's musical skill and structure
meant there was sufficient improvisation within the songs to keep things
fresh. The original intention was the stage act would be used for about a
year before being dropped, but Gillan and Glover both resigned from the
band in June 1973. When this line-up reformed in 1984, the 1972 setlist
made up a significant amount of material performed in concert.
The band arrived in Japan on August 9th, a week before the tour started,
to a strong reception, and were greeted with gifts and flowers. Birch was
not confident that the recording quality would be satisfactory, since the
equipment supplied by Warner Bros. did not have any balance control and
that the recorder's size did not appear big enough on sight to capture a
commercial quality recording. The band were uninterested in the result,
concentrating on simply being able to deliver a good show. Subsequently,
Lord noted that he felt this attitude meant the spontaneity of the
performances and interplay between the band members was captured well.
The second gig in Osaka was considered to be the stronger of the two, and
indeed this show made up the bulk of the released LP. Only one song,
"Smoke on the Water" from the August 15th show was used, and this may
simply have been because it was the only gig that Blackmore played the
song's opening riff as per the studio album.
The band considered the gig at Tokyo on August 17th to be the best of the
tour. Glover remembered "twelve or thirteen thousand Japanese kids were
singing along to 'Child in Time'" and considered it a career highlight, as
did Gillan. At the venue, a row of bodyguards manned the front of the
stage. When Blackmore smashed his guitar during the end of "Space Truckin'"
and threw it into the audience, several of them clambered past fans to try
and retrieve it. Blackmore was annoyed, but the rest of the band found the
incident amusing. The gig was not as well recorded as the Osaka shows,
although "The Mule" and "Lazy" were considered of sufficient quality to
make the final release.
There were no overdubs on the album. Lord claimed once in a magazine
interview that a line from "Strange Kind of Woman" had to be redubbed from
a different show after Gillan had tripped over his microphone cable, but
no direct evidence of this was found when the multitrack tapes were
examined. According to Lord, the total budget for the recording was only
$3,000 (equivalent to £42,109 in 2021).
The band did not consider the album to be important and only Glover and
Paice showed up to mix it. According to Birch, Gillan and Blackmore have
never heard the finished album. The band did not want the album to be
released outside Japan and wanted full rights to the tapes, but it was
released worldwide anyway.
The album was released in the UK in December 1972, with a special offer
price of £3.25, the same as a typical single LP from that period. It
reached number 16 in the charts. The cover was designed by Glover and
featured a color photo of the band on the front and rear covers, and black
and white photos in the inside gatefold. The release in the US was delayed
until April 1973, because Warner Bros. wanted to release Who Do We Think
We Are first. They were motivated into releasing it due to a steady flow
of UK imports being purchased, and it was an immediate commercial success,
reaching number 6 in the charts. Warner Brothers also released "Smoke on
the Water" as a single, coupling the live recording on Made in Japan with
the studio version on Machine Head, and it reached number 4 in the
Billboard charts. A recording of "Black Night" from the Tokyo gig, one of
the encores that was not on the album, was released as the B-side to the
single "Woman from Tokyo" in Europe, and as a single in its own right in
The Japanese release was titled Live in Japan and featured a unique sleeve
design, with an overhead stage shot of the band, a selection of
photographs from a gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London, and an insert
with lyrics and a hand-written message from each band member. The first
pressing came with a 35mm film negative with photos of the band which
buyers could develop into their own prints. The sleeve notes claimed that
the recording only contained the Tokyo gig, though in fact it was
musically identical to the version released in the rest of the world. Phil
Collen, later to play in Def Leppard, was in the audience for the Rainbow
gig as captured on the sleeve.
The band had mixed feelings about the album. Gillan was critical of his
own performance, yet impressed with the quality of the recording, while
Lord listed it as his favorite Deep Purple album, saying, "The band was at
the height of its powers. That album was the epitome of what we stood for
in those days." "It's still probably the best live rock 'n' roll album
ever made," declared Paice, who suggested that the shows were some of the
group's best. "And that's putting everything Led Zeppelin have done,
anything Black Sabbath may have done, Bad Company, Free... As a tour de
force of innovation and living on the edge and great playing with a
fantastic sound, nothing comes close."
The response from critics was favorable. Rolling Stone's Jon Tiven wrote
that "Made in Japan is Purple's definitive metal monster, a spark-filled
execution ... Deep Purple can still cut the mustard in concert".
Subsequently, a 2012 readers' poll in the magazine declared the album to
be the sixth best live album of all time, adding the band have performed
"countless shows since in countless permutations, but they've never
sounded quite this perfect."
Recent reviews have been equally positive. Allmusic's William Ruhlmann
considered the album to be "a definitive treatment of the band's catalog
and its most impressive album". Rock author Daniel Bukszpan claimed the
album is "widely acknowledged as one of the greatest live albums of all
time". Goldmine magazine said the album "defined Deep Purple even as it
redefined the concept of the live album." Deep Purple author Dave Thompson
wrote "the standing of Deep Purple's first (and finest) live album had
scarcely diminished in the quarter-century since its release".
Tune In and Turn On for “Made In Japan” from Deep Purple next Sunday
Evening, August 21st and every Sunday evening at 8:00 PM for The GOAT'S
"The Long Play with Al Neff.”
Don’t forget, right after the “Long Play”, we do a “Replay” of this week’s
GOAT GUEST DJ SHOW.