When Deep Purple’s limited-release double live album Made in Japan snuck out in that country alone fifty years ago, the title was a disparaging phrase made to imply that something was cheaply made and of low quality. Soldiers, sailors, and Marines returning home from the Viet Nam War had just begun introducing to America the innovative, superior sounding electronics from Japanese manufacturers Akai, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer, Panasonic, Yamaha, and SONY, and similar strides into the coveted US world dominance in automaking were still fifteen years in the future.
So it is ironic that the state-of-the-art live hard rock recording, never bettered in the half century since, “…is absolutely live. There are no overdubs” on Made in Japan, assures Deep Purple bass player/producer Roger Glover in my classic rock interview with him and Deep Purple singer/lyricist Ian Gillan.
As far as Deep Purple’s considerable influence on what would become Heavy Metal, one need listen no further than Made in Japan‘s blazing opener,”Highway Star”. Both Judas Priest‘s singer Rob Halford and Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson later copped Ian Gillan’s incredibly high vibrato wail (with Dickinson, to a fault IMHO).
Initially reticent to even allow their 1972 Tokyo Budokan performance to be recorded at all, Roger Glover said the band initially insisted that any subsequent release be restricted to Japan only. “It was recorded on really rotten-looking equipment,” admits Deep Purple bass player Roger Glover regarding the double live album Made in Japan.”And we really didn’t have much faith in it until we got back to England and listened to it. But then we were blown away by the quality. That’s when we said,’We want to put this out worldwide.’ In fact, it was quite a fight to get it out worldwide then.”
When it finally came out in the U.S., Made in Japan quickly shot to #6 on the Billboard sales chart. A 2012 Rolling Stone magazine reader’s poll ranked it as the #6 live album of all time. Glover and Deep Purple lead singer/lyricist Ian Gillan are my guests In the Studio to mark the golden anniversary of the golden-covered gold standard for hard rock live recordings, Made in Japan. This edition dedicated to the late Deep Purple co-founder/organist Jon Lord. –Redbeard