Deep Purple fans likely did a double take when Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to the Doors arrived with Ian Gillan singing the title track. But there’s a back story to Gillan’s involvement in this Billy Sherwood-produced project that goes beyond the chance to work with Yes standouts Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe, who also appear on Gillan’s fleet update of “Light My Fire.”
“I never do these things, normally, because I don’t see what the point is,” Gillan tells Lone Star 92.5. “But it was kind of nostalgic, really, because I used to sing Doors stuff — and “Light My Fire,” in particular — with a band called Episode Six before I joined Purple with Roger Glover. That was just a nostalgic trip for me.”
Initially formed in 1964, the decidedly pop-leaning Episode Six was co-founded by Glover before Gillan joined the following year. Their first single, released on Pye in 1966, was also a cover — of the Hollies’ “Put Yourself In My Place.” It would be June 1969, after a series of subsequent chart failures, before Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord caught an Episode Six performance in London. By July, Gillan and Glover were the newest members of Deep Purple.
Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to the Doors also features Lou Gramm (“Love Me Two Times”), Edgar Winter (“The Crystal Ship”), Todd Rundgren (“Alabama Song”) and Mark Farner (“Break On Through”), among many others. Gillan’s current U.S. tour with Deep Purple continues through Sunday.
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