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Child in Time - Deep Purple

Play LOUD.

The connection with this and the previous post is something that disturbed me for many years namely that this seemed to be a complete rip-off of It's a Beautiful Day's "Bombay Calling". But I first heard Bombay at least a year after I heard this by which time I was completely in love with the Purple track. Only recently have I read that it was indeed stolen, which resulted in David LaFlamme bizarrely agreeing to settle the score by in turn copying a Deep Purple track on their next album.

Black Sabbath's eponymous first album came out in 1970, and Deep Purple in Rock came out on June of the same year, the two being widely regarded as the first "heavy metal" rock albums. In those days these were just examples of "rock" as opposed to pop, soul, blues etc. By this reckoning then, I rate "Child in Time" (last track side one on "In Rock") as the first heavy metal masterpiece.

There are few songs that start so quietly and ominously yet are so exciting right from the initial note. Then in comes Ian Gillan's vocal - with the words worth quoting in full below so you can sing along. So-called heavy metal then produces perhaps the most compassionate vocal in all rock, culminating in the heart wrenching "aaahwohohoho bow your head".

Sweet child in time

you'll see the line

the line that's drawn between

good and bad

see the blind man

shooting at the world

bullets flying

taking toll

if you've been bad

oh Lord - I bet you have

and you've not been hit by flying lead

you better close your eyes

oooh bow your head

wait for the ricochet.

The relentless, wordless Gillan vocal that follows is a sorrowful, demonic mass: ever spiralling upwards it articulates the heroic struggle toward an inevitable doom that we all are engaged in, but still manages to be ennobling, life affirming through it's sheer energy, descending into the splintering chaos of random annihilation.

And the moment where the high lead guitar comes in is as stunningly graceful and beautiful as any solo classical music entry, launching into the perfect rock guitar solo and a musical statement on mortality as profound as you can get.

Phew! Aftter this, you can see there was no looking back for heavy metal / epic rock or whatever you want to call it.

Better? Better go and take a shower to cool off.

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