Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford, Hertfordshire in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members have tried not to categorize themselves as any one genre. The band also incorporated blues-rock, pop and progressive rock elements. They were once listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's loudest band, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. Deep Purple was ranked #22 on VH1's Greatest Artists of Hard Rock program.
The band has gone through many line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976-84). The 1968-76 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV. Their second and most commercially successful line-up featured Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass guitar) and Ian Paice (drums). This line-up was active 1969-73 and was revived from 1984-89 and again in 1993 before the rift between Blackmore and other members became unbridgeable. The current line-up including guitarist Steve Morse has been much more stable, though Lord's retirement in 2002 has left Paice as the only original member.