Ian Gillan

Absolutely on of the greatest voices of metal and hard rock ever, is Ian Gillan. Gillan is the former/current/former/current, etc lead vocalist of Deep Purple. He first left Deep Purple in 1977 and formed The Ian Gillan Band who released two albums before giving way to Gillan. Gillan was formed with bassist/songwriter John McCoy in July '78. The band stayed together through December of '82, after which time, Ian had a short stint with Black Sabbath before rejoining Deep Purple. Anyhow, between all his many other solo projects including a solo album with Deep Purple's Roger Glover, Gillan (the band) put out a number of excellent albums, all of which are currently only available as imports. In later incarnations of Gillan, Janick Gers became the band's guitarist. Janick also performed on Bruce Dickinson's first solo album and now performs with Iron Maiden.

Ian Gillan Band-Clear Air Turbulance (Virgin/Japan) 1977

1. "Clear Air Turbulence" (7:34)
2. "Five Moons" (7:32)
3. "Money Lender" (5:38)
4. "Over the Hill" (7:19)
5. "Goodhand Liza" (5:27)
6. "Angel Manchenio" (7:18)

Ian Gillan was really trying to move away from the Deep Purple sound on this 1977 release. "Clear Air Turbulance" has got to be his most experimental disc ever. Instead of 1970's based heavy metal, this album sports more of a funky jazz-rock fusion, almost taking on a progressive rock sound. This album employs horn players and a flute player, proving to the world, and perhaps to Gillan himself that his talents extended far outside of just hard rock and heavy metal. Long songs, however, are not foreign to Gillan being that Purple could drag out a song forever. Each of these songs have at least one extended jam section. The bongo solo in "Goodhand Liza" is phenomenal. Love the album cover art too. Looks like something Stryper would have used. This album was released as a solo album, unlike his future band albums with Gillan. I originally owned the 1998 Spitfire re-issue still sealed in the used bins of CD Warehouse for $4.99. Funny thing is they also had the re-issue of "Toolbox" but they wanted $20 for a used copy. Go figure! Anyhow, now, thanks to my good friend Olaf, I have a beautiful Japanese copy of this disc and was able to give the Spitfire copy to a friend who was in need of it.

Ian Gillan Band-The Rockfield Mixes (Angel Air) 1997

1. "Over the Hill" (7:22)
2. "Clear Air Turbulance" (7:48)
3. "Five Moons" (7:39)
4. "Money Lender" (5:43)
5. "Angelo Manchenio" (7:24)
6. "This Is The Way" (2:05)
7. "Goodhand Liza" (5:27)

Apparently in 1977 when "Clear Air Turbulance" was originally recorded, Ian Gillan was not happy with the mixes that came out of Rockfield Studios in Wales. Ian took the tapes back to his home studio and remixed the entire album and the resulting release 'Clear Air Turbulance" was put out by Island Records that same year. The Rockfield mixes were mixed by the band collectively and are actually quite good. I am not exactly sure what it was about these mixes that Ian didn't like. Regardless, guitarist Ray Fenwick held onto the original Rockfield mixing session tapes and now they are available on cd. Ya! The Angel Air release also contains a nice 8 page color booklet with a bio and tons of photos from that error. A nice collector's disc that will no doubt be gone as quickly as it appeared.

Scarabus Ian Gillan Band-Scarabus (Virgin/Japan) 1977

1. "Scarabus" (4:55)
2. "Twin Exhausted" (4:09)
3. "Poor Boy Hero" (3:10)
4. "Mercury High" (3:32)
5. "Pre-Release" (4:24)
6. "Slages to Bitches" (5:11)
7. "Apathy" (4:16)
8. "Mad Elaine" (4:19)
9. "Country Lights" (3:17)
10. "Fool's Mate" (4:19)
11. "My Baby Loves Me" -live (8:12)

Decisively more rocking than 'Clear Air Turbulance,' but still Ian's band retains the progressive and jazzy elements, which may be part of the reason Ian started over with a completely new band for his next release. I actually think these early Ian Gillan Band albums are every bit as good as the Gillan albums, although they are quite different in style. I think I may have said this somewhere before, but Ian Gillan could sing over a busy signal on the phone and make it sound good. That's not to say the music on this disc is bad; as a matter of fact the exact opposite is true. The Ian Gillan Band are brilliant musicians. Songs like "Fool's Mate" has some of the most technical, intricate bass guitar work I have ever heard. My particular cd copy is a Japanese import, which is cool, but unfortunately the extensive liner notes that seems to included an detailed time line of Ian' career from '72 through '98 are unreadable to me. At least with Spanish and German I can make out a word here and there. With Japanese, I might as well be looking at chicken scratch. I can't make out a word of it.

Budakon Ian Gillan Band-Live at Budakon (Metal Blade) 1979

1. "Clear Air Turbulence" (12:49)
2. "Scarabus" (5:25)
3. "Money Lender" (10:53)
4. "Twin Exhausted" (5:05)
5. "Over the Hill" (8:35)
6. "Mercury High" (4:58)
7. "Smoke on the Water" (9:46)
8. "Child in Time" (10:16)
9. "Woman from Tokyo" (4:47)

Killer live performance from the Ian Gillan band complete with three Deep Purple classics. This has to be the funkiest version of "Smoke on the Water" I have ever heard. As with Purple, the Ian Gillan Band know how to expand a song, adding in plenty of extended jams. Despite the fact that Ian Gillan is one of my favorite vocalists of all time, his screams get annoying on "Child in Time." One other minor complaint is the very poor packaging. Other than that, however, this disc is almost as good as "Made in Japan" and is an essential disc to any Gillan or Deep Purple fan.

Mr. Universe Gillan-Mr. Universe (Virgin) 1979

1. "Second Sight" -instrumental (2:33)
2. "Secret of the Dance" (2:54)
3. "She Tears Me Down" (5:08)
4. "Roller" (4:43)
5. "Mr. Universe" (6:14)
6. "Vengeance" (3:34)
7. "Puget Sound" (4:23)
8. "Dead of Night" (4:04)
9. "Messege in a Bottle" (3:09)
10. "Fighting Man" (7:28)
11. "On the Rocks" -live (6:38)
12. "Bite the Bullet" -live (5:38)
13. "Mr. Universe" -live (7:20)
14. "Vengeance" -live (4:42)
15. "Smoke on the Water" -live (10:10)
16. "Lucille" -live (2:32)

This is one of the best 70's Deep Purple albums, ah, I mean Gillan albums ever.  Mr. Universe may not quite be the classic that was Purple's "Burn" or "Machine Head" but it still an awesome album and much better than much of the material Deep Purple  recorded after Gillan's departure. The album starts off strong with the atmospheric instrumental "Second Sight" only to explode into one of Gillan's fastest and heaviest songs "Secret of the Dance." "Vengeance," "Roller" and "Message In a Bottle" are all excellent songs as well. This Virgin reissue has six bonus cuts-an excellent testosterone driven live versions of "Vengeance" with Ian Gillan giving the vocal performance of his life. There is also a  dramatic live version of "On the Rocks" as well as Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." Tracks 11-12 were recorded live at the Reading Festival, August 29,1981.  Tracks 13-15 were recorded live at the Reading Festival, August 22,1980.

Glory Road Gillan-Glory Road (Virgin) 1980

1. "Unchain Your Brain" (3:11)
2. "Are You Sure" (4:05)
3. "Time and Again" (5:05)
4. "No Easy Way" (6:34)
5. "Sleeping on the Job" (3:11)
6. "On the Rocks" (6:39)
7. "If You Believe Me" (7:33)
8. "Running, White Face, City Boy" (3:11)
9. "Nervous" (3:44)
10. "Your Mother Was Right" (7:23)
11. "Redwatch" (3:42)
12. "Abbey of Thelma" (6:06)
13. "Trying to Get To You" (3:17)
14. "Come Tomorrow" (2:52)
15. "Dragons Tongue" (5:32)
16. Post-Fade Brain Damage (6:03)

Yet another killer British heavy metal cd by John McCoy and Ian Gillan. There is plenty of heavy axe grinding tunes on this disc, but there is also some killer blues based songs as well. "Running, White Face, City Boy" and "Unchain Your Brain" are the albums most vicious attacks. I really like the blues based "If You Believe Me" as well. Really the entire disc is stellar. The bonus tracks are a cool addition. Most are experimental studio outtakes.

Future Shock Gillan-Future Shock (Repertoire) 1981

1. "Future Shock" (3:07)
2. "Night Ride Out of Phoenix" (5:07)
3. "(The Ballad) of the Lucitania Express" (3:12)
4. "No Laughing in Heaven" (5:00)
5. "Sacre Bleu" (3:04)
6. "New Orleans" (2:39)
7. "Bite the Bullet" (4:52)
8. "If I Sing Softly" (6:11)
9. "Don't Want the Truth" (5:41)
10. "For Your Dreams" (5:05)
11. "The Maelström" (5:09)
12. "Take a Hold of Yourself" (4:41)
13. "One for the Road" (3:02)
14. "Lucille" (2:34)
15. "Bad News" (3:06)
16. "Bite the Bullet" -live (5:21)
17. "Smoke on the Water" -live (9:01)

Ian Gillan and his band of rag-tag cohorts are masters at so many different styles, yet they manage to gel them all together so that the band sounds like they have direction, rather than running in twenty different directions. This particular album has it all; blazing fast rockers, with an almost punk edge, mid-paced rockers, hard British blues, and even the mellow ballad. The original vinyl version of this album came in a gatefold cover with a 16-page full color booklet that had photos, lyrics and additional artwork. This cd re-issue contains seven killer bonus tracks, including yet another live version of 'Smoke on the Water.'

Double Trouble Gillan-Double Touble (Repertoire) 1981

1. "I'll Rip Your Spine Out" (4:30)
2. "Restless" (3:18)
3. "Men of War" (4:10)
4. "Sunbeam" (4:10)
5. "Nightmare" (3:15)
6. "Hadley Bop Pop" (2:50)
7. "Life Goes On" (5:11)
8. "Born to Kill" (9:27)
9. "No Laughing in Heaven" -live (6:26)
10. "No Easy Way"  -live (10:32)
11. "Touble"  -live (3:04)
12. "Mutually Assured Destruction" -live (5:13)
13. "If You Believe Me" -live (8:26)
14. "New Orleans" -live (6:01)

When I was a collector of records, this was one of the most sought after discs in my collection, and once I obtained it, it was a prized album. The disc is titled "Double Trouble" because originally this was released as a double LP set with one record being the new studio material and the rest being live material, mostly taken from England's 1981 Reading Festival. The one exception is "If You Believe Me" which was recorded at London's Rainbow Theatre, March 4, 1981. In anycase, this cd has been on my want list for a long time and thanks to my friend Olaf, it is now in my cd player being cranked at maximum volume. (Thanks Olaf.) It's about time someone re-released Gillan's greatest solo album ever. The guitarist on this disc is non other than Janick Gers (of Iron Maiden fame). The cover is cool as well with excellent liner notes by Chris Welch and comments from Ian Gillan and longtime bassist John McCoy.

Magic Gillan-Magic (Virgin/Japan) 1982

1. "What's the Matter" (3:31)
2. "Bluesy Blue Sea" (4:53)
3. "Caught in a Trap" (3:37)
4. "Long Gone" (3:56)
5. "Driving Me Wild" (3:00)
6. "Demon Driver" (7:19)
7. "Living a Lie" (4:27)
8. "You're So Right" (2:56)
9. "Living for the City" (4:27)
10. "Demon Driver" (Reprise) (:44)
11. "Breaking Chains" (3:28)
12. "Fiji" (5:21)
13. "Purple Sky" (3:24)
14. "South Africa" (4:03)
15. "John" (4:43)
16. "South Africa" [12" Extended Version] (7:18)
17. "Helter Skelter" (3:26)
18. "Smokestack Lightning" (4:07)

The last Gillan album before the big Deep Purple (Mach II) comeback in the 80's. Once again, Janick Gerrs is on board and has some writting credits on this disc, however it is the Gillan/McCoy/Towns team that do much of the songwriting and are the core of the band. Gillan's last disc is perhaps his heaviest and certainly one of his most complex and compelling. There are fast rockers ('What' the Matter'), heavy Black Sabbath-like songs ('Bluesy Blue Sea'), blues based cuts, excellent covers and even a couple ballads all wrapped up into on excellent cd. Gillan, Gers, Towns and McCoy were certainly at their best here. Fortunately for Deep Purple fans, Ian moved on and helped resurrect Purple. Unfortunately for those of us who were hooked on the team of Gillan, Towns, and McCoy, this would be the last of a long and musically rich relationship. *sniff* Excuse me while I go get a tissue.

'Living for the City' is a Stevie Wonder cover, 'Helter Skelter' a Beatles cover and 'Smokestack Lightning' a Howlin' Wolf cover.

Accidentally on Purpose Ian Gillan & Roger Glover-Accidentally on Purpose (Virgin/Japan) 1988

1. "Clouds and Rain" (3:59)
2. "Evil Eye" (4:10)
3. "She Took My Breath Away" (4:33)
4. "Dislocated" (3:20)
5. "Via Miami" (4:58)
6. "I Can't Dance to That" (4:23)
7. "Can't Believe You Wanna Leave" (3:07)
8. "Lonely Avenue" (3:06)
9. "Telephone Box" (5:15)
10. "I Thought No" (4:30)
11. Cayman Island (2:35)
12. The Purple People Eater (3:56)
13. Chet (4:18)

OK, I know this is not a Gillan (the band) album, but if I created a separate page for all the ex-Deep Purple members and their various side projects, this site would be gigantic. Before their work with Deep Purple, Roger Glover and Ian Gillan already had a history together. The two were actually invited to join Deep Purple together in 1969, debuting with the band at the Speakeasy Club in London on July 10. What is surprising about this disc, and what shocked me when I first heard this disc was how much it did NOT sound like Deep Purple. This disc is surprisingly light and relies more on pop structures and cool R 'n B rhythms. There is the occasional rocker like "I Can't Dance to That," but otherwise this disc doesn't even touch the heavy metal of Gillan or the heavy rock and roll of Purple. What is most surprising is that I really like this disc. It's just good quality rock and roll and perhaps better than some of Deep Purple's more obscure albums. Their cover of Lloyd Price's "Can't Believe You Wanna Leave " is outstanding. "Telephone Box" is a very 80's sounding new-wave pop rock song, that is also featured on Gillan's best of album. The blues based, harmonica lead album closer "I Thought No" is another outstanding number and proves that Gillan and Glover are just as at home with their roots as with the hard rock they helped perfect. "Accidentally On Purpose" is a quality album that shows two veteran musicians stretching out and successfully trying other kinds of music.

I've actually owned this disc for many years, but recently upgraded to the Japanese copy with several excellent bonus tracks. The original UK Virgin release only contained ten songs, while the Japanese edition contains thirteen.

Gillan-Naked Thunder (S&P) 1990

1. "Gut Reaction" (3:46)
2. "Talking to You" (3:36)
3. "No Good Luck" (4:12)
4. "Nothing But the Best" (3:46)
5. "Loving on Borrowed Time" (5:04)
6. "Sweet Lolita" (3:50)
7. "Nothing to Lose" (6:17)
8. "Moonshine" (2:46)
9. "Long and Lonely Ride" (3:48)
10. "Love Gun" (3:29)
11. "No More Cane on the Brazos" (8:13)

Not quite as aggressive, nor as heavy as the Gillan albums, 'Naked Thunder' seems a bit more like Ian Gillan attempting to appeal to a 'more mature' audience. Some of the songs on this disc, like 'Talking To You' could have fit on some of the newer Deep Purple discs, but overall this is much more mellow and pop oriented than anything I have heard from Ian Gillan. The ballads on this disc are outstanding, and surprisingly some of the most solid material contained herein. Unlike any other Ian Gillan disc, I would label 'Naked Thunder' as AOR. Gillan is a legend and his voice is one of the most recognizable in rock history, but somehow I just prefer him singing over the heavier music, or even the blues and funk based songs of his early career. The packaging for this disc is nice. The disc is wrapped around a digi pack that is unlike any I have seen before, then the digi-pack is wrapped with a slipcase of the cover art.

Gillan-Toolbox (S&P) 1991

1. "Hang Me Out to Dry" (Gillan) (4:02)
2. "Toolbox" (4:15)
3. "Dirty Dog" (4:10)
4. "Candy Horizon" (4:15)
5. "Don't Hold Me Back" (4:36)
6. "Pictures of Hell' (3:55)
7. "Dancing Nylon Shirt, Pt. 1" (3:38)
8. "Bed of Nails" (4:24)
9. "Gassed Up" (3:05)
10. "Everything I Need" (3:48)
11. "Dancing Nylon Shirt, Pt. 2" (3:02)

My opinion on this album seems to differ from the majority of reviews I have read. Most people seem to not care for this disc as much as earlier Gillan discs, but I am of the opinion that 'Toolbox' is one of the finest discs since those early albums. Ian's vocals are still quite amazing, his range is unbelievable. Songs like the powerful "Don't Hold Me Back" shows that Ian can still wail like he did in the days of 'Machine Head.' The high falsetto vocals are simply mesmerizing. Other tracks like the humorous 'Dancing Nylon Shirt' are simply catchy and infectious. The whole disc is heavier than Ian's last solo disc 'Naked Thunder' as well. One minor irritant is that despite the use of the Gillan logo, this disc is not really a Gillan-the band album. Gillan bassist/songwriter John McCoy is nowhere to be found. Still, despite the absence of any other original members, Ian has always been the heart and soul of the band, as is quite apparent on 'Toolbox.'

Gillan-The Best of Gillan (Griffin)

1.   "Trouble" (2:38)
2.   "New Orleans" (2:38)
3.   "Fighting Man" (7:25)
4.   "Living For The City" (4:26)
5.   "Helter Skelter" (3:26)
6.   "Mr. Universe" (6:14)
7.   "Telephone Box" (5:15)
8.   "Dislocated" (3:22)
9.   "Sleeping On The Job" (3:12)
10. "M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction)" (3:08)
11. "No Laughing In Heaven" (4:56)
12. "Nightmare" (3:15)
13. "Restless" (3:17)
14. "Purple Sky" (3:24)
15. "Born To Kill" (9:27)
16. "Smoke On The Water" -live (8:53)

Like Deep Purple, Ian Gillan's solo albums fluctuate, some are good, some are brilliant, some suck! This makes any compilation of Gillan material a mixed affair. The other thing is I don't really care for "best-of" collections. The problem is, however, that none of his solo discs are readily available in the U.S., so when I found this disc for a mere $3.99 I snapped it up. For the die-hard there is plenty of non-lp tracks, as well as a good smattering of Gillan/Towns rockers. Personally, I could have done without yet another live version of "Smoke on the Water." I would much rather have had another Gillan track instead like "I'll Rip Out Your Spine" or perhaps another rarity, of which there are plenty. Apparently Gillan and his cohorts were constantly recording at Gillan's home studio. Personal favorite tracks are "Mr. Universe," "Born To Kill," and "M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction)". There are some great songs on here, but I always keep the skip button handy.

Back to Index