When Glenn Hughes Was Nearly in Deep Purple With Paul Rodgers
Jon Lord asked Rodgers to join the band in 1973, around the time Hughes was recruited, after the departures of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover and before the recording of Burn. But Rodgers had already committed to forming a new band, Bad Company.
“They were asking me for a year, kind of flirting with me,” Hughes told Midlands Metalheads in a recent interview. “They were playing in those days at Madison Square Garden. … I saw them play, and it was incredible. They were on fire. The next day, I'm sitting with Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Ritchie Blackmore. There's no Ian Gillan; there's no Roger Glover. I didn't know what was going on, and their lawyer and two managers, after about half an hour, said, 'We'd like you to join the band.' I said, 'Me?' I said, 'Great.’”
You can watch the full interview below.
The conversation took a surprise turn when they told him he was to play bass. “The next second thought was, 'What? Surely you'd like me to sing also,’” Hughes said. “They wanted somebody to play bass who could sing, and a new [member] who didn't sound and look like Gillan. ... The band announced to me that the singer they were going to ask and wanted was Paul Rodgers, my dear friend. The second they said Paul Rodgers, a little voice said to me, 'Imagine him and I singing some songs together. Okay, I think I'll join.' Of course, three days later, when the word went out that I'd joined the band, Paul had started Bad Company, so what was I to do?”
Hughes recounted how, as Deep Purple continued to search for a new singer, David Coverdale’s demo tape stood out among the “five or six hundred” they’d received. “David came down with a bottle of Bell's whiskey to play with us. He was a little bit legless, and we started to jam with him. Then Ritchie, Jon and Ian went for lunch, and I said to David, 'Why don't we stay here? We'll go to the piano, we'll do something quiet – we'll see how our voices mend together.'
“The great and glorious thing about that was his voice was deeper and wider, and mine was bright and, you know, the Glenn thing. What most people don't realize is we had the same vibrato – the same exact vibrato, to the point of injury. When they came back, we played them what we had come up with, and that was a big part of him getting the gig. … He deserved it.”
In 2015, Purple drummer Paice recalled their attempt to recruit Rodgers, telling Classic Rock, “We did ask Paul if he wanted the job, but he was just starting up with Bad Company at the time, so that idea didn’t last very long.” Asked if the connection would have worked, Paice replied, “Until the first fight, yes.”