Child in Time picture sleeve. The single was released in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
In 1967, former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis started putting together a new band called Roundabout (called such because the members would get on and off the band). He contacted businessman Tony Edwards in a bid to obtain financing for the venture; he agreed to back the project with the aid of two partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire (together they formed HEC Enterprises, the acronym “HEC” coming from the initials of their surnames). Their first recruit was classically-trained organist Jon Lord; he was followed by session guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Curtis soon dropped out, but HEC Enterprises, as well as Lord and Blackmore, wanted to carry on. For bass guitar, Lord suggested Nick Simper; the lineup was completed by vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice. Blackmore suggested a new name: Deep Purple, which was his grandmother’s favorite song. The band signed with Parlophone Records (with Tetragrammaton as their U.S. distributor), and released “Shades of Deep Purple” (1968). The first single from the album, “Hush”, was a major hit in North America (#4 U.S., #2 Canada), contributing to the album’s success in the U.S. (peaking at #24), even though it did not sell well in the U.K. Their second album, “The Book of Taliesyn” (1968), released on Harvest Records, was another U.S. success (#38), yet it was not released in the U.K. until the following year. The following year saw the release of “Deep Purple” (1969), in which the band’s classical influences were on full display. Evans and Simper were soon fired, and were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass). Tetragrammaton folded, and Warner Bros. became the band’s U.S. distributor as they released their fourth album, “Deep Purple In Rock” (1970), the first album with the “classic” Deep Purple lineup. This album contained a track, “Child in Time”, which was released as a single in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. This is today’s featured single.
Running 10 minutes and 17 seconds on the album, “Child in Time” was split into two parts for the single. The song begins with a minor key melody played on an organ, accompanied by Paice’s restrained drumming. Then Gillan’s vocals begin 50 seconds into the track: “Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line/The line that’s drawn between, good and the bad/See the blind man, he’s shooting at the world/The bullets flying and they’re taking toll.” Soon Gillan’s vocals becomes higher-pitched, as he begins to wail, but in spite of Gillan displaying more of his vocal range than he normally would, “Child in Time” is a relatively simple composition, anchored by three main chords. Gillan’s banshee-like wailing finally gives way to a Richie Blackmore guitar solo 3 minutes and 33 seconds into the song. At first the solo has a slow, bluesy feel to it, but soon the pace of Blackmore’s playing increases (punctuated by Paice’s drums), with Blackmore using a Gibson ES-335 instead of his usual Fender Stratocaster for this track. The solo lasts about 2 and a half minutes before it comes to an abrupt halt, and the song cycle begins anew, with Ian Lord’s organ returning to the musical mix as the track goes quiet again. The lyrics are repeated, and layers are added to the wall of sound, gradually getting louder, the tempo of the music getting faster and faster (mirroring the Blackmore guitar solo in the first half), sounding almost like a runaway calliope, with Gillan really caterwauling away before the song comes to a climax and ends. This song has been covered many times, including by Yngwie Malmsteen on his album “Inspiration”.
The single (catalog #: 5C 006-93557) was released by Harvest Records. There was a picture sleeve (shown here). By the time this single was released, Deep Purple was well on their way to achieving mainstream success, having released two more studio albums, “Fireball” (1971) and “Machine Head” (1972), the latter containing both “Smoke on the Water” and “Highway Star”. Both albums reached #1 in the U.K. A live album, “Made in Japan”, followed in December 1972. One more studio album was released with the Glover/Gillan/Blackmore/Lord/Paice lineup, “Who Do You Think We Are” (1973), containing the hit single “Woman from Tokyo”. Tensions grew within the band, and both Glover and Gillan were fired. They were replaced by Glenn Hughes on bass (formerly of Trapeze), and David Coverdale, a 21 year old then-unknown singer. This lineup recorded “Burn” (1974), which contained a more funky element than previous albums. “Stormbringer” followed later that year. Blackmore did not like the new direction of the band, and left Deep Purple in the spring of 1975 to form Rainbow. He was replaced by American gutiarist Tommy Bolin, who was the lead guitarist on “Come Taste the Band” (1975). The result was a revitalized sound, but Bolin’s drug problems soon resulted in cancelled shows and sub par performances. Lord and Paice, the last remaining original members, made the decision to disband Deep Purple in March 1976. Later that year, while Bolin was touring in support of his second solo album, “Private Eyes” (1976), he died of a drug overdose. It would take another 8 years before the original lineup reunited to record “Perfect Strangers” (1984).