Chris Curtis

The person who originated the concept behind "Deep Purple" is Chris Curtis. He was born in August 26, 1941. He taught himself to play the piano at a very early age. By the age of 16, Curtis knew to play Violin and Drums. Ultimately, he joined the 1960s famous Pop Band 'The Searchers' as a drummer having international hits with "Needles and Pins", "Sugar and Spice" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away". Curtis wrote most of the band’s songs near the furniture store where he worked.

Curtis was a loner most of the time. He rarely mixed socially even with his fellow band members. He was thought to be insane. Infact George Harrison referred to him as 'Mad Henry'. In 1998 Curtis gave his first interview in thirty years; to Spencer Leigh for BBC Radio Merseyside. He left The Searchers in mid 1966 after a disappointing tour of the Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia, with the Rolling Stones where he became very unreliable and came to the point where he fell off the stage at one venue.

After leaving 'The Searchers' Curtis recorded his only solo single, "Aggravation" which entered the UK singles chart at number 40 in 1966. The other musicians included Jimmy Page, Joe Moretti, John Paul Jones and Vic Flick on that record. By 1967, Curtis had started to use LSD and came back to London at the beginning of 1968 and moved into a low-rent flat rented by 'Jon Lord'. Curtis was planning to form a band and shared the concept with Lord. CurtisÂ’s concept was a band named 'Roundabout' with a core of three members: Curtis, Lord and Robbie Hewlett. Later Curtis introduced Ritchie Blackmore as the guitarist. But due to erratic behaviour, Curtis was removed from the band and other members of Roundabout changed the name of the band to Deep Purple. Their first single was Joe SouthÂ’s "Hush", which Curtis had been playing in LordÂ’s flat for months.

After this, Curtis left the music industry for good and worked for Inland Revenue for 19 years. By the time of his retirement, people had forgotten him as a musician. But he kept singing for churches. He died on February 28, 2005 at the age of 64.
Jim Ankan