Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rock of Ages: Deep Purple - "Highway Star" (1972)

Deep Purple has some of the most memorable riffs in hard rock history. The first riff many learn to play on the guitar is "Smoke on the Water." The howling wolf before "Hush" into the bombastic chugging guitars is easily one of the most recognizable rock songs ever. For me, the most kick ass Deep Purple track lies in 1972's lead-off track from Machine Head, "Highway Star." Thanks to Rock Band, new generations are learning of the monumental awesomeness of this song. The song is pretty straightforward. A testosterokk anthem about cars and girls and euphemisms for sex left and right. Ian Gillan, vocalist and underrated rock front man, blasts into the song with one of the most impressive salvos of rock screaming I've ever heard and his bravado does not let up throughout the song. Ritchie Blackmore's guitar work is furious and steady until the massive solo in the last bridge that just takes you to a new level of awesomeness. This is 1972, before the bombast of 70s metal and 80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal that would have these solos. This is the stuff that metal heads emulated and still do to this day.

Deep Purple is one of those bands that I just love. Everything they have recorded for the most part just plain rocks. I also love them because I feel like their back catalog, which you never hear on popular rock radio, is like a treasure trove of amazing rock anthems that don't get ruined by overexposure. Only a few of their songs get airplay anymore, and while that is a sin, it's a blessing. "Highway Star" doesn't get overplayed like many other classic rock anthems like it. This keeps it fresh and awesome every time I hear it. An epic rock anthem that is timeless and bold never gets old and "Highway Star" is just that.

Up Next: Stevie Wonder's anthem about inner city pressure

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