In a new BBC special called Jon Lord: It's All Music
set to air July 14th at 23:25 UK time, keyboard wizard and former YES man Rick Wakeman pays tribute to his friend, late DEEP PURPLE legend JON LORD, the man who put the rock into the Hammond organ. Lord, who died last year, was always proud of his Leicester roots and went on to become not just a rock star but also a classical composer in his own right.
Wakeman wrote the following tribute to Jon Lord the day after he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71 (Monday, July 16th):
"I first became aware of Jon Lord in the mid-Sixties when 'Hush' was released and I bought the album Shades Of Deep Purple, which was an album way ahead of its time. For obvious reasons, I paid special attention to the organ style and sound as it was quite different from how other Hammond players were using the instrument. I became a genuine admirer and fan of Jon that day and remained so with everything he did.
We became real friends just a few years ago, although we had met on numerous occasions prior to that. We did talks together at music conservatories, we met for lunch and most importantly made music together. We wrote a piece 12 months ago for the Sunflower Jam at the Royal Albert Hall. We wrote this piece together at John Henry's rehearsal studios in London and it was so easy because we had such different styles and because Jon was concentrating heavily on the Hammond and I on synthesizers, the blend was quite magical. The piece was performed just the once and I am told was filmed, although I have never seen the footage.
We sat in the dressing room which we shared at the Royal Albert Hall and made plans to do an album together. We were both utterly convinced that we could come up with something very special as our styles blended so well together. Our love of classical music and also working that style within that of rock music also completed the bond. We arranged to meet up later that month.
One week before we were due to meet, Jon called me with the news he was ill. He was very positive and actually said he'd never felt better in his life and so he would beat it however long it took and so to bear with our project which went on hold.
We spoke a couple of times after that and the last message I got was that he was responding well to his treatment. The news has hurt me like no other loss of a musician I have known. I can only thank him for the legacy he has left us all with his great music, great vision and for his kindness as he was one of the most gentle and kind persons I have ever had the pleasure of being able to call my friend.
My heart goes out to Vickie, his wife, and all his family."