July 1971: Colin Hart, a Geordie lad from South Shields was on his first tour of America as roadie for MATTHEW’S SOUTHERN COMFORT. The group was part of a three-band bill with THE FACES and DEEP PURPLE. Following the tour, he joined DEEP PURPLE‘s road crew. Ian Gillan just knew Colin had to join the PURPLE entourage after seeing him pour a pint of beer over Rod Stewart! Forty years on, and Wymer Publishing is pleased to announce “A Hart Life”, Colin Hart‘s life story as both DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW‘s tour manager.
Hart devoted over thirty years of his life to these great rock musicians. This is his story and indeed theirs. A tale of excess in terms of greed, petulance, anger and devotion. It is counter-balanced by extremes of pure talent, showmanship and, of course, musicianship. He was the constant “man in the middle” through all of the breakups, makeups and revolving door lineup changes. Joining them at twenty-four years old and leaving thirty years later, he was there every step of their rock ‘n’ roll way. A story of two of the most innovative, often copied, rock bands; seen through the eyes, ears and emotions of their “mother hen” (as Jon Lord described him). He was their minder, chauffeur, carer, provider, protector, father confessor and confidant. In truth, he is the only one who can tell this tale of both bands as he was the only one there on the road throughout the life of, not one, but both gigantic bands.
Hart endured a roller coaster ride, working for PURPLE, during the band’s most successful period. He was there when the casino burnt down in Montreux, and witnessed “Smoke On The Water” being born; the legendary concerts in Japan; the breakup of the Gillan / Glover lineup; the auditions that saw David Coverdale join the band, and the huge CalJam concert in front of 400,000.
When Ritchie Blackmore left DEEP PURPLE in early 1975 and formed RAINBOW, Colin went with him and continued as RAINBOW‘s tour manager through the ever-revolving lineups. He was invariably the man who had to break the news to many of the hopefuls that auditioned for the band: “We’ll get back to you” being the stock reply!
Once again, Colin was in the thick of it during RAINBOW‘s nine-year tenure; The classic “Rainbow Rising” period, “the best lineup” in his eyes; the dramas during the making of “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”; the departure of kingpin Ronnie James Dio; the Graham Bonnet era, culminating in the first Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington; and the successful commercial period with frontman Joe Lynn Turner.
In 1984, when Blackmore disbanded RAINBOW for the DEEP PURPLE reunion, Colin naturally resumed his role with these rock giants as they embarked on a world tour that included the hugely successful 1985 U.S leg — the second-biggest-grossing U.S tour that year after Bruce Springsteen. A déjà vu situation occurred as Colin was in the middle of yet more band breakups as first, Gillan departed, Turner joined, Gillan returned and Blackmore departed while Steve Morse emerged to take the band into the new millennium, although for Colin his thirty years on the road with two of the biggest bands in rock history came to an end in 2001.
“A Hart Life” is written with life-long friend Dick Allix, former drummer with Sixties band VANITY FARE. Hart tells the story of his life from humble beginnings in South Shields, to setting up home in California with RAINBOW, and eventually settling in Florida, where he still lives today; of touring the world several times over with two of Britain’s greatest bands, DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW; a story that also crosses paths with Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, LED ZEPPELIN, AC/DC, DEF LEPPARD, SCORPIONS and IRON MAIDEN, to mention just a few! A truly fascinating insight into the world of rock ‘n’ roll from the other side of the stage. It includes forewords by DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW bassist Roger Glover and Hart‘s nephew Paul Mann, who conducted the London Symphony Orchestra alongside DEEP PURPLE at the 1999 “Concerto For Group Orchestra” shows.
“A Hart Life” was originally published in Japan in 2008 under the title “Between A Rock A Hard Place”.
To purchase a copy, go to this location.