Tag Archives: Deep Purple

Tommy Bolin, another short lived legend

Tommy Bolin is best known, as the replacement of Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. He participated and co-wrote Deep Purple’s last 70’s album “Come Taste the Band”, not a bad album, but less successful at the time, most likely due to the relative shift in genre towards a less heavy and funkier sound and the lack of Blackmore’s characteristic soloing.

Bolin was not the typical hard rock guitarist, he was involved in many types of projects and genres, blues, jazz rock, funk ect. Bolin starts of in blues rock/ hard rock band Zephyr, a band with a sound comparable to that of Janis Joplin. They released their first self-titled album in 1969, Bolin released another album with them, before he left the band.

Bolin participated as the main guitarist on jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham’s legendary 1973 album Spectrum. He shows us what he can do in a jazz rock / progressive rock setting, and he does it perfectly. Spectrum is a must for everyone interested in fusion, but it is also a testament to the huge talent of Bolin.

Bolin made 2 solo albums, Teaser (1975) and Private Eyes (1976), both exploring a wide range of styles, and with Bolin doing the vocal’s himself. On Teaser a series of prominent names appeared as guests, Jan Hammer, David Sanborn, Phil Collins and others.
From Teaser (Phil Collins on the drums)

Deep Purple disbanded in 1976, and Bolin concentrated on finishing his last solo album. It was during the tour promoting “Private Eyes”, on December 3rd. 1976, Bolin played a set as an opening act for Jeff Beck in Miami, after the set Bolin was partying with friends and later collapsed, Bolin never woke up again, The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin became 25 years old. Rest in peace.

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