Guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH has released the following statement regarding the passing of former DEEP PURPLE keyboardist Jon Lord:
“We’re very saddened to hear about the passing of the great Jon Lord. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. He’s obviously partly responsible for OPETH ever being formed, so we’re in massive debt to him.
“Martin Mendez [OPETH bassist] and Martin Axenrot [OPETH drummer] obviously had the pleasure of working with [see video below], and playing with Lord, and both said it was such an amazing experience. He was a sheer musical genius. Axenrot even said that when he’d asked what bpm (beats per minute) a song was supposed to be in. Lord had said, ‘Around 140 bpm,’ and started clapping his hands in the desired beat. Axenrot checked with his metronome and sure enough, Lord was clapping in exactly 140 bpm!
“Jon Lord. We love you. Your music lives on and your memory will never fade.”
Jon Lord died on Monday (July 16) at age 71 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lord, who was known for his keyboard virtuosity and his reinvention of the Hammond B-3 organ sound, co-wrote such PURPLE classics as “Smoke On The Water” and “Child In Time”, among others. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only original members to last through the band’s initial run from 1968 to 1976. He was on board for their 1984 reunion and stayed on through to his 2002 retirement from the band, after which he’s worked primarily in the classical field.
Over the course of his career, Lord also worked with the ARTWOODS, FLOWER POT MEN, PAICE, ASHTON AND LORD, WHITESNAKE and good friend and neighbor, George Harrison.