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Deep Purple


Nino Tempo & April Stevens

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Nino and April are a brother and a sister who each had fair solo careers (real names: Antonio and Carol Lo Tempio). April had hits with "No No No Not That" (1950, when she was 14), "I'm in Love Again" (1951), and "Teach Me Tiger" (1959); Nino was a session saxophonist. They were teamed by Atlantic Records' owner Ahmet Ertegun, who was also their producer. Ertegun wanted them to record another song called "Paradise" - which they did - but in the 14 minutes of studio time remaining, they also cut "Deep Purple," which was the hit, in two takes. Nino and April knew the song very well, but their session players had to pick it up quickly based on their instructions.
The song was written by the composer and radio performer Peter De Rose in the early 1930's, and it became a standard when the lyricist Mitchell Parish added words to it in 1938. Parish was known for sweeping, romantic lyrics - some of his other compositions include "Stardust" and "Sophisticated Lady" - and he turned the song into a touching ballad. The song was recorded by a number of orchestras, including those led by Artie Shaw, Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo and Larry Clinton. In 1939, it was a #1 hit for Larry McClinton and His orchestra.

Many popular vocalists also recorded it, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sammy Davis Jr. In the Rock Era, the song charted first when Billy Ward & His Dominoes took it to #20 US in 1957 (their last crossover Top 40 hit). Tempo and Stevens had by far the biggest hit with the song, but Donny & Marie Osmond returned it to the charts in 1976 when their version hit #14 in the US.
Nino was supposed to sing the second chorus by himself, but he "blanked out," so April fed it to him line by line as the tape was rolling. A friend listening to the recording thought that April's "narration" would make "Deep Purple" a #1 record... but not Nino, initially - April took two months to convince him that the narration was OK. Ertegun didn't like "Deep Purple," either - he mothballed it and released "Paradise" instead. "Paradise" sank without a trace.

Nino demanded that Ertegun release "Deep Purple" as a single or release them from their contract from Atlantic Records. Ertegun agreed to the single release, stating that if "Deep Purple" didn't become a hit, his and April's contract would be terminated.
When this song was released as a single, Ahmet Ertegun had so little faith in it that he thought the B-sid, "I've Been Carrying a Torch for You so Long That I Burned a Great Big Hole in My Heart," had a better chance of becoming a hit.
Won the Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording of 1963.
Subsequent singles by Nino and April mined the big band era, with #11 "Whipering" (originally by Paul Whiteman in 1920) and #32 "Stardust" (originally by Isham Jones and his orchestra in 1931). They had some success and found themselves playing a lot of casino shows later in their career. Nino got some work with his old friend, Phil Spector.
The British pioneering heavy metal band Deep Purple took their name from this song as it was guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's grandmother's favorite tune. Bassist Nick Simper admitted to Mojo magazine: "We were slightly embarrassed about the name until we saw it in the charts."
This song was recorded at Radio Recorders studios in Los Angeles on October 4, 1962. Musicians on the session included Glen Campbell and Billy Strange on guitar, and Earl Palmer on drums. Jimmie Haskell did the arrangements.
Nino Tempo & April Stevens
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Comments (13):

My late mother had an early version of this, years before April & Nino came out with it. Mother's was on a 78 rpm and featured what sounded like a large orchastra playing. The first 3/4 of the record was all instrumental , and towards the end someone sang. The beat was slightly different but there was no mistaking it for anything else. She was a teenager in the 30's and 40's , so it would have been that era. I like Nino & April's version best. I only recently have been able to see pictures of them during the years they made it popular. You would do well to look for pictures. April Stevens could keep up with Natalie Wood in the looks department easily. She should have been a movie star, because of her genuine nice personality without pretense. I acquired an autographed photograph of her in a two piece bathing suit of the era. That woman had the curves. Caused me to swoon...........
- Skip, Asheville, NC

“Deep Purple” was written by composer Peter De Rose as a piano solo in 1934. In 1935 it was arranged by Domenico Savino and introduced by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra on radio. Sheet music sales were brisk, but the song didn’t achieve universal popularity until 1939 when Mitchell Parish added the lyric. It was Parish’s first song to reach the top position on Your Hit Parade.
- Peter, Windsor, ON
As already noted they released a song titled "All Strung Out On You" in 1966, it peaked at #26. Nino wrote it with the Righteous Bros. in mind, it sounds very much like "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", Phil Spector rejected it so Nino & April recorded it, in fact they used the very same 'Wall of Sound' studio musicians!!! {Travolta's version peaked at #34 in 1977}
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
It sounds a bit messy and that's what I love about it.
- Eisso, Groningen, Netherlands
I love this song very much but at that time I didn't know they were brother and sister. A very good song; I would like to hear it more on the radio.
- Teresa, Mechelen, Belgium
This song was #1 in the top 40 for weeks and weeks. I can not get enough of it. No surprise that the recording was impromptu. It captures a spirit. Nino is a good yodeler, and weaves his harmony above and below April's.
- Alan, Greene, RI
Nino and April also had a semi-hit in 1966 with "All Strung Out On You". A song that was later rerecorded by John Travolta.
- Bob, Southfield, MI
I grew up listening to the music of the 50's and 60's. When I first heard this song, I fell in love with the way it was recorded. I want to find this song on CD along with "Whispering" and "Tweedle Dee". I really like the way Nino and April's voices blended to give the song a special feel inside me as I listened. I hope someone will help me find their music in CD format.
- Patrick, Clayton, NC
I know I'm young to be posting about this song, but as a child my father got me into the oldies and this one I use to listen to a lot, and I really liked it.
- Sara, Traverse City, MI
What a fine song. Reading the recent obits for Amet Ertegun one would be led to believe that he never erred in his understanding of popular culture and taste in pop music. Silly Me!
I prefer the up tempo renditions better that the Jazz Standard versions. But what I really want to know: Composed by ___?
Given how she sounds while speaking the lyrics to Nino, I wouldn't have minded April Stevens whispering in my ear back then... makes the song sound somewhat incestuous once you find out they're siblings. (chuckle)
- Jameson, Lexington, KY
This song was also recorded by Donny and Marie Osmond in the early 1970's.
- Keith Major, Bristol, England
Oddly enough, Richie Blackmore heard the song and whether he liked it or not was never told, but the title was inspirational to him. Hence his band's name... (as told by Roger on Westwood One's "Rockline" show, 1985)
- John, Greeneville, TN
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