Jon Lord will be remembered as a charter member of Deep Purple. Singers, guitarists, and bassists came and went. Jon Lord was there at the beginning and stayed until his retirement in 2002.
Deep Purple’s legacy will probably begin with the word smoke and end with the word water. “Smoke On The Water” is probably the most recognizable riff on the planet earth. But, Jon Lord was more than just a cog in the heavy metal machinery. Prog enthusiasts should be aware that Jon Lord was fusing classical and rock forms as early as 1969. The landmark Deep Purple live album, “Concerto For Group And Orchestra” was one of the first high profile attempts at a live classical rock fusion. Blazing the trail for groups like Yes and ELP.
Jon Lord’s signature sound was a cranked-up, overdriven Hammond Organ sound that functioned as a rhythm guitar; allowing guitarist Ritchie Blackmore the room to solo without losing the crunch and gravitas necessary to Purple’s metallic sound. Lord’s more nuanced classical training can be heard on the instrumental passage in the Deep Purple hit, “Highway Star”.
Lord had been suffering from Pancreatic Cancer. An official statement from Lord’s people simply reads, “Jon passes from Darkness to Light”.