Top 10 Roger Glover Songs
Roger Glover has helped shape the sound of Deep Purple and late-period Rainbow as a bassist, songwriter and producer — making key contributions to a series of undeniably classic tracks from “Woman From Tokyo” to “Smoke on the Water” to today.
He’s best known, of course, for having co-founded Deep Purple in 1969, shifting to the group with frontman Ian Gillan from a precursor band called Episode Six. He would contribute to such timeless album favorites as In Rock (1970) and Machine Head (1972) before departing in ’73. Glover then followed fellow Purple alum Ritchie Blackmore into Rainbow from 1979-84, where he initially performed with current Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey. Glover has been a part of every Deep Purple lineup since.
Our list of the Top 10 Roger Glover songs delves deeply into both bands, spanning a period from the early-70s through Deep Purple’s most recent release, ‘Now What?!‘
‘Lost in Hollywood’
A monstrous Glover riff powers this Rainbow track, co-written with Ritchie Blackmore and Cozy Powell. Of course, Down to Earth and one-album frontman Graham Bonnet faced withering criticism, likely contributing to his quick departure. But songs like this one showed there was still life in the post-Ronnie James Dio edition of the band, while sparking an on-going musical relationship between Glover and Airey.
The bassist’s fleet fingers are showcased as part of a brilliant stop-start cadence on this Glover co-written Deep Purple track, even as recently added guitarist Steve Morse makes his own presence known. Along the way, they add a muscular neo-prog feel to a track that originally found a home on In Rock.
‘Maybe I’m a Leo’
Glover gets down and dirty on this funky co-written album cut, refusing to give way even for Blackmore’s churlish guitar solo. Jon Lord‘s easy-going keyboard aside then opens the door for a more assertive return to the tune’s principal groove — aided by Ian Paice’s active flourishes at the drums.
After a ruminative intro from Blackmore, Rainbow settles into a thumping moment of album-rock aggression. Newly installed frontman Joe Lynn Turner handles the lyrics with brisk machismo, and the track itself — composed by Glover, Blackmore and Airey — reclaims some of the taut attitude that Rainbow had in the Dio years, even while slightly updating their sound for a new era.
Glover and Deep Purple, after some time away, once again masterfully blend the metal, progressive rock and R&B influences that gave Deep Purple its unique persona — even as they stir in new flourishes to keep things fresh. “Weirdistan,” which features a simply murderous cadence, features a string of gnarly outbursts from Morse before Airey unleashes a keyboard solo that lives up to the song’s name. Throughout, you’ll find Glover hitting bass notes that could bring down buildings.
It’s easy to get lost in Lord’s atmospherics, not to mention Gillan’s spooky squeal on this darkly intriguing track. But Glover, who wrote this song with Gillan and Blackmore, plays a typically sturdy musical role — even as Deep Purple makes a charmingly overt reference to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ late in the proceedings.
A rattling rhythm steers this band-written fast-car song, with Glover providing the high-octane fuel for Gillan’s gritty growl. And when the song catches a second gear through its middle section, Glover never misses a beat — providing this rock-solid foundation as Lord and then Blackmore launch themselves into a pair of mud-flinging solos.
‘Woman From Tokyo’
Blackmore’s iron-bending riff gives way to a rumbling group-composed paean to a certain exotic love interest (or was it touring in Japan for the first time?), even as Glover (and Gillan) make their last Deep Purple appearance until 1984’s Perfect Strangers. After a dreamy middle-section interlude, Glover adds a taut bounce to this No. 60 hit’s closing section.
‘Hard Lovin’ Man’
Glover keeps up a breathless cadence, even as Lord runs his organ through a trippy Marshall amp. As the band collaboration goes on, it somehow seems to pick up still more speed — until this thunderous gong stops everything cold for a split second. Having caught his breath, Glover then begins assaulting his bass again. This album-closing eruption of scorched-earth rock then ends in the only way it could: In a firestorm of feedback from Blackmore.
‘Smoke on the Water’
Blackmore’s iconic riff, Lord’s portent-filled retorts. It’s all been celebrated and studied to the point of distraction. So, this time, wait. Wait 35 seconds. That’s when, after all that you’ve air-guitared a million times happens, we find something new to explore on this No. 4 smash: Glover’s grease-popping lines. Two minutes later, same thing. He works in locomotive contrast to everything that came before, giving the song these endlessly intriguing new pockets of musical inspiration.