“Jon had a wicked sense of humour…”
The Deep Purple keyboardist was hugely influential on the prog world. Rick Wakeman remembers Lord and the legacy he left behind.
“I only got to play with him onstage once, which was at the Sunflower Jam charity gig at the Albert Hall in 2011. Vicky, who organises it, said, ‘You two can do something together’, and you just don’t argue with her. We met up in a rehearsal room a few days before the concert and started to think about what we were going to do. We decided he’d deal with the organ and piano and I’d deal with the synth side. Jon had this intro piece, which I loved, and I had this other piece, and we built it from there. After four or five hours, we had this thing that we knew really worked. My keyboard tech told me it was the most magical moment of his life.
That led us to the idea of doing an album of new material together. We were serious about it. It got to the point where we’d arranged to sit down in a couple of weeks to properly work it all out, when he called me: ‘Look,
I’ve been to the doctors and they’ve told me I’ve got pancreatic cancer. I feel good, but do you mind if we put things on hold until we get this sorted out?’ And sadly that never happened.
Jon was a true gentleman, and he had a wicked sense of humour. At one Deep Purple gig, he
JON LORD [LEFT] AND RICK WAKEMAN PERFORMING ONSTAGE AT THE SUNFLOWER JAM CHARITY EVENT AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, 2011.
BEYOND THE NOTES: JON LORD INHIS ELEMENT.