DEEP PURPLE — Fireball — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

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3.79 | 90 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1971

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Fireball (3:25)
2. No No No (6:53)
3. Demon's Eye (5:21)
4. Anyone's Daughter (4:43)
5. The Mule (5:21)
6. Fools (8:18)
7. No One Came (6:26)

Total Time 40:30


- Ian Gillan / vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Roger Glover / bass
- Jon Lord / keyboards, Hammond organ
- Ian Paice / drums

About this release

Release date: July 1, 1971
Label: Warner Bros. Records

Japanese Edition, US Edition and Canadian Edition has the following tracklist:

1. Fireball (3:25)
2. No No No (6:54)
3. Strange Kind Of Woman (4:07)
4. Anyone's Daughter (4:43)
5. The Mule (5:23)
6. Fools (8:21)
7. No One Came (6:28)

Total Time 39:21

Reissued in 1996 with the following bonus tracks:

8. Strange Kind Of Woman (single a-side, remix, 1996) (4:05)
9. I'm Alone (b-side) (3:07)
10. Freedom (album outtake) (3:34)
11. Slow Train (album outtake) (5:35)
12. Demon's Eye (remix, 1996) (6:10)
13. The Noise Abatement Society Tapes (4:15)
14. Fireball (take 1: instrumental) (4:07)
15. Backwards Piano (0:54)
16. No One Came (remix, 1996) (6:23)

Thanks to negoba, Pekka, Lynx33, diamondblack, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

“Fireball” is occasionally the neglected child of the first three Mk. II albums because it sits between the sensational rocker “In Rock” and the classic “Machine Head”. Additionally, some members do not regard it highly. Particularly Ritchie Blackmore has stated his dislike for the album because it was a rush job done between tours and not always with everyone present during a recording session. Still, the album holds some excellent material and represents the halfway mark between the band’s aggressive heavy rock approach and the smoother, more mature style of “Machine Head”.

The title track has Ian Paice on the drums in furious form and includes his rare use of a double bass drum. It’s an unusual song in the Deep Purple catalogue also because there is no guitar solo and instead a bass solo. The song a is charger with Ian Gillan delivering gruff vocals and some of his trademark screams.

“No No No” is a longer piece with a very cool bluesy guitar intro and a slick and easy guitar solo by Blackmore and laid back organ solo by Jon Lord that gradually builds in intensity until Blackmore lets loose with a volley of hard rock guitar arpeggios. Gillan again applies his forceful vocals.

I’ve never been too keen on “Demon’s Eye” but it remains a classic song of the band. I almost feel like it could have been a long slow blues number which the band decided to speed up a bit and add more muscle to it.

To be sure, the oddball of the album is “Anyone’s Daughter”, a mock country western song that sounds like the band is seriously trying to do a Mike Nesmith (of the Monkees) song, tongue in cheek. I’ve always enjoyed this one in part because Blackmore’s clean guitar playing sounds so smooth and nice, and Lord’s piano solo is so sincerely executed. Gillan provides some wonderful humour in his lyrics with lines like, “I won’t get no more eggs and water / cos I’ve laid the farmer’s daughter” and “I you hear telling tales and lies, you say I’m dumb and scraggy / But man, this dumb and scraggy is your daughter’s baby’s daddy”. Both Blackmore and Gillan have stated that they regret having the song on the album but I’m glad for it.

Side two opens with a step back to Deep Purple’s more experimental days with “The Mule”, a song featuring a repeated drum pattern by Paice, a snare burst followed by a roll over the tomtoms, and a long organ and guitar instrumental sequence that let’s Lord create more of a psychedelic soundscape with his instrument than an actual solo.

“Fools” has always been one of my favourite tracks, not least because of the heavy rock guitar and Roger Glover’s bass which has a really thick and chunky sound. Blackmore plays with the volume knob of his guitar to create a solo that sounds like a cello. Just past the seven minute mark the music reaches a thundering conclusion with guitar, organ, bass, and drums crashing and thundering together.

“No One Came” is less complex than most of the other songs but keeps the heavy rock theme of the album. Gillan delivers lyrics of cynicism about the music business, making references to a “Robin Hood outfit” and the “glitter and shine” of the business. A great album closer.

The reissue with bonus tracks has some good material such as the single “Strange Kind of Woman” which appeared on the North American versions of the original album as well as three songs that didn’t make the album. I like “Freedom” the best for its rock and roll sound with a great piano solo and Gillan really screaming out the lyrics at the end. “Slow Train” is interesting because the music of the “ahh-ah-ah-ahh” part was resurrected by Blackmore on the Rainbow album “Bent Out of Shape”. There are also some tracks of just fooling around in the studio which are kind of fun to listen to once or twice.

Overall I feel Deep Purple Mk. II were still hot with fresh ideas on this album. Gillan has stated that from a song writing perspective he felt there were new possibilities explored. It fills the spot between “In Rock” and “Machine Head” with some great music, in my opinion. The band really shows off its talent here. It doesn't rock out as heavily as "In Rock" but it still sounds a bit more gruff and rugged than a lot of later material. The best proto-metal parts would be "Fireball" and "Fools".
Deep Purple's "Fireball" is a very good followup to their masterpiece "In Rock". It features some proto metal classics such as the hard rocking title with breakneck rhythms and excellent guitar riffs of Blackmore. Ian Paice is an incredible drummer and he really lets rip on this album. 'No, No, No' is memorable for the high pitched vocals of Ian Gillan, and killer guitar riffing. 'Demon's Eye' is one of my favourite with pulsating rhythm and unforgettable riffs. It has a funkadelic beat and amazing keyboard from Jon Lord. 'Anyone's Daughter' is a throwaway but is surprisingly jazzy.

'The Mule' has oriental influences and crazy drumming from Paice. 'Fools' is next and really is a grower. At 8 minutes or so the track is the longest and features Blackmore fiddling about and too much organ, but its okay. The album ends with No One Came' with heavy rock elements and huge keyboard runs. Overall a decent album from legends of classic rock.
Where could Purple go after the awesome "In Rock"?

More of the same, of course!

The title track of Fireball is a kind of watered-down "Speed King", with similar, but more tired aspirations to speed, Paice's amazing Motorhead-esque drumming somehow bearing a slightly lethargic edge, Blackmore's chugga-chugga proto metal rhythms and Lord's keyboards permeated with a sluggish laziness at complete odds with the music's firey nature.

This is followed up with the pathetic "No, No, No", with any number of cheesey licks thrown in. And yes, by 1972, everything in here had been done better by someone else already. Even Gillan's legedary larynx is sounding hoarse and tired. The terrible tempo change just serves to underline the sense of a band on downers.

Deadly dull after a mere minute and a half - and there are another 5 minutes to go - and nothing new to hear, apart from Lord rehashing Manzarek - badly.

"Strange Kind of Woman" is the famous radio-friendly side of Purple - a classic, of course, and must have been recorded in a separate session, since the energy and "vibe" is there in spades. Then there's the classic melodic guitar solos - nectar to the ears of those tired of cheesey pentatonic bluff.

Some bizarre tinkling about begins "Anyone's Daughter", which begins in a kind of Pink Floyd vein - I've read about this being a progressive track - well, OK, if the most average side of Floyd is Prog to you, all power, I suppose.

Unfortunately, the song degenerates into a kind of Johnny Cash number. I suppose it's OK as a song, but it feels totally out of place, and country and metal never mixed until Hayseed Dixie.

"The Mule" follows, with a proud, crashing entry to something very different again. This isn't what we're used to hearing from Purple, and is pleasant, if unexciting. There's quite a strong late sixties vibe running through it, a la Procol Harum, or, more strongly, The Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows", giving a retrogressive feel.

Unlike TNK, it's not kept short and sweet, so gets very boring very quickly.

The penultimate track is "Fools", again, sounding like an outtake for "Revolver", or "LA Woman" - the twin influences worn openly on the sleeves here, until the crashing chords around 1:30, which mark the most exciting moment on the album, atop a fine collection of riffs that predict Blackmore's later work with Rainbow. Gillan is still sounding rather hoarse, and the screams are disappointingly absent.

The whole caboodle is kinda repeated, with the Beatles/Doors stuff dragged out unnecessarily. Purple were neither group, good as they undoubtedly were - and "Fools" ends up being 4 minutes too long.

Rounding off the album is something more chunky altogether. The late sixties vibe is still there - maybe Traffic, definitely Spooky Tooth.

Very low metal quotient on this rather average album - and I don't mean average for Deep Purple.

It's saved from "Poor" by the very few high points - which are genuinely great moments - but only just, as most of this is crushingly average dross.

Fireball simply isn't as good as In Rock - the majority of the band admit this is the case, fan consensus is likewise. That said, there's plenty of saving graces to the album. The second half is actually, by my reckoning, a bit stronger than the first half, featuring as it does powerful numbers like The Mule, Fools, and No One Came.

It's on the first side that most of the problems lie. No No No and Demon's Eye rely on slow, plodding rhythms that, to my ears at least, lack verve and energy, rendering the songs in question dull and repetitive. The instrumental soloing this time around is generally weaker and more forgettable than, for example, the incredible guitar solos on Speed King or Child In Time on the last album.

And then there's the elephant in the room, Farmer's Daughter, which even Ian Gillian admits was a mistake to release as part of the album. Coming right in the middle, this is a weak and unimaginative folk-rock number that comes across as a novelty song, sabotaging any momentum the album had built up to that point. The disc is pretty much saved by the last few tracks clawing things back, but it's still a blot on the running order which would be better off removed from the album entirely.
Time Signature
Yes yes yes...

Genre: hard rock

"Fireball" is perhaps a bit of an underrated album, because it is very much obscured by the legendary "In Rock" and "Machine Head". "Fireball" is actually a very, very good hard rock album. The album as such is generally characterized by a bluesy boogie drive, which, in many ways, was a common thing in 70s rock music.

"Fireball" is certainly very relevant to heavy metal music. The opening track "Fireball" is a hard rocking uptempo track with riffing that has now become standard in heavy metal music, and the track itself may be compared to "Aces High"-style Iron Maiden tracks. "Demon's Eye" is a slow and heavy boogie-driven track which emanates a type of darkness, unusual for Deep Purple, but typical for a lot of heavy metal music (it's likely that metal inherited this darkness from Black Sabbath's music rather than from "Demon's Eye"). "Fools" is another darker and heavier track (with a really cool main riff), and, interestingly, it contains several sections that make me think of My Dying Bride (especially the instrumental bridge, whose drum beat would fit right into a doom metal track [ignoring the caracas, of course]). "The Mule" probably would not appeal to hardcore metal fans, but in the perspective of 70s rock, it's an outstanding track with a certain psychedelia to it (not unlike early Psychotic Waltz) and some amazing drum work.

While this rock classic may not in its entirety appeal to all metalheads, it does contain a lot of things that would later become epitomic of heavy metal music. I think that open-minded and curious metal fans will be able to appreciate it, and fans of rock music in general are bound to like it.

Members reviews

I can see why In Rock ended up such an unbridled rocking album, it was totally a reaction towards Concerto for Group and Orchestra (it wasn't exactly a commercial success, or a critical one, for that matter). And it succeeded big time, although it didn't feature the big hits you hear off Machine Head, it didn't really matter. In Rock finally gave the band an identity. Fireball, while never a maligned album isn't as highly regarded, probably because of the high standards that put themselves up on In Rock. I own the American LP with "Strange Kind of Woman" instead of "Demon's Eye". It's a classic example of UK singles not being released on upcoming UK albums, but needed to include on the American LP release, in this case, "Strange Kind of Woman" (Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced is even a more extreme case, as "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze" and "Wind Cries Mary" were never included on the UK LP because they were released as singles already, but included on the American LP, and I can go on about UK and US Beatles and Stones LPs released up to 1967, but I won't). On with the review:

The title track rocks just as hard as anything off their previous album. It even includes proto-speed metal guitar riffs, so if there's such a thing as "proto-speed metal" this is definitely it! It's not Ride the Lightening-era Metallica or Slayer, but speed metal was the roots of thrash metal, and Deep Purple doing perhaps the first ever speed metal song. "Strange Kind of Woman" should have been a hit in America (again, don't pay attention to this part if you live in the UK, unless your CD reissue includes this song as a bonus cut), classic Deep Purple all the way. "Anyone's Daughter" is a bit different: Ritchie Blackmore attempting country music, and the rare time the band doesn't take themselves seriously. I don't recall hearing acoustic guitar in a Deep Purple song before (or after). "The Mule" is more adventurous, more in heavy prog territory, while Jon Lord provides some nice psychedelic organ playing on "The Fool", but there are heavier parts of this song with Ian Gillan providing his trademark screaming vocals. It's a bit on the experimental side so the more conventional hard rock or metal fan might find this a bit hard listening, but as I'm also a fan of prog rock, I can appreciate the approach they do here.

As mentioned, In Rock gave the band very high standards that may be hard to top, but Fireball is still very much worth having.
"Things you tell me have never been told"

With this album Deep Purple continued to refine their approach and, in my opinion, this was the peek of their early years. Fireball is better produced, it is a bit more varied and it has a bit more 'progressive' leanings than In Rock or Machine Head.

Fireball is also Ian Gillan's personal favourite album and he has said in interviews that he likes it the best because of it being more progressive than other Deep Purple albums. It is also one of my personal favourite Deep Purple albums and for the same reason. The title track and Demon's Eye are great songs. No No No, however, is too long making it slightly boring towards the end.

One of my biggest complaints against the In Rock album was that it only contained one type of song (maybe with the exception of Child In Time), there was no time to catch your breath and the instrumentation was the same on all the tracks. On this album, which is overall a bit more varied, Anyone's Daughter stands out with its more folksy leanings based on and piano and non-distorted guitar.

The Mule, Fools and No One Came are longer, slightly progressive rockers. Or should I say psychedelic? These are better than anything from In Rock in my opinion.

Overall, Fireball is surely a more inventive and interesting album than previous efforts. I would say that this is the best place to start for contemporary listeners who want to explore classic Deep Purple.
Sandwiched between two monumental achievements such as "In Rock" and "Machine Head", "Fireball" has all too often ended up being considered like a sort of poor relation, a decent enough album that is nevertheless not on a par with those two behemoths - which is a pity, because "Fireball" has a lot to offer to the discerning rock (and obviously metal) fan. Though lacking the ground-breaking impact of "In Rock", or the commercial potential of "Machine Head", it is a well-rounded, sophisticated album in which the strengths of the individual band members come to the fore in a more muted, yet equally effective way. The music always manages to keep the listener's attention alive through sheer class and clear sound, and Ian Gillan's trademark, ear-shattering screams are kept to a minimum, leaving room for some almost sensitive interpretations.

In spite of the (literally) incendiary title, "Fireball" offers many quiet, thoughtful moments. While he title-track opens the album with a punch similar to that delivered by "Speed King" or "Highway Star" - a fast-paced, Hammond-driven anthem with one of those riffs that stick in the mind, and seem to foreshadow the birth of speed metal - this is definitely not the shape of things to come. With the following track, "No, No, No", the pace slows down to a jagged, vaguely funky mid-tempo (album closer "No One Came" is also structured along similar lines); while "Demon's Eye" shows a different side to Gillan's more familiar, screamer persona - he sings in a distinctly lower register than we are used to, and his vocal delivery impeccably follows the twists and turns of the sinuous, somewhat moody track. Next comes the endearingly infectious country send-up that is "Anyone's Daughter", dominated by a distinctive vocal performance by Gillan that reminds me of one of his best solo efforts, "No Laughing in Heaven" (from his "Future Shock" album).

However, two tracks stand out from the rest: drum tour-de-force "The Mule", which unequivocally proves the highly underrated Ian Paice's strength and skill behind the skins; and "Fools", probably the band's most progressive track ever, and one of their unsung masterpieces. Introduced by Lord's unusually spaced-out organ, it develops into a hard-edged, guitar-driven rocker led by Gillan's masterful singing - then slows down again to an eerie, richly atmospheric, middle section which could have come straight out of some of Pink Floyd's early Seventies work. A magnificent song, and one that can make many a fan wonder about what Deep Purple could have become, had they chosen to become a fully-fledged progressive rock band.

The 30th anniversary remastered edition includes some outtakes from the album's recording sessions, and the two singles "Strange Kind of Woman" (one of the band's undisputed classics, immortalized by its explosive "Made in Japan" version), and the intriguing "I'm Alone", another showcase for Paice's talents. This is definitely one of the best Deep Purple remasters, adding further interest to an already strong album.

Though not quite perfect, "Fireball" is one of the band's strongest, most cohesive efforts. Highly recommended to open-minded metal fans, especially those who prize an eclectic approach to music-making.

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