It was somehow appropriate that I first heard about the July 16 passing of legendary Deep Purple and Whitesnake keyboard master Jon Lord on NPR while I was driving home that evening. After all, Lord was always a rock and roll original whose influence and wide-ranging talent on the Hammond organ and other keyboard instruments reached disparate and eclectic audiences. Many classic rock fans certainly became familiar with Lord through his long-running tenure with Deep Purple, one of Britain's most famous and accomplished blues-based hard rock bands. Nevertheless, the man was remarkably busy and successful during his non-Purple years playing both orchestral music and arena rock with the early lineup of David Coverdale's eventually hair metal '80s band.
I was less aware, however, that Lord had also released some straight-ahead rock as a solo artist, namely on 1982's Before I Forget. The moderately heavy but highly melodic "Chance on a Feeling" features Whitesnake bandmate Bernie Marsden on lead vocals, and while it may not qualify as a masterpiece of '80s rock, it certainly should be regarded as a criminally underrated example of the era's heavier sounds. Lord's talents on a sometimes forgotten instrument in hard rock will be sorely missed, even if he had retired from the band that brought him lasting fame nearly a decade ago. The pulsating, powerful sound Lord contributed to the hard rock pantheon will likely never fade from the fond memories of rock music fans.
- Listen to "Chance on a Feeling" in its entirety here.
- Compare prices on Jon Lord CDs here.
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- Top Hard Rock Songs of the '80s
Album Cover Image Courtesy of EMI