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Child In Time by Deep Purple

Album: Deep Purple In RockReleased: 1970
  • Running 10 minutes and 15 seconds, this is a protest song to the United States' war in Vietnam. The lyrics were written by lead singer Ian Gillan.
  • This features a keyboard/guitar solo by Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore respectively.
  • This album was released by the Mark II version of the group which is Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Roger Glover (Bass), Jon Lord (keyboard), and Ian Paice(drums). This song was played during the Deep Purple Mark II reunion tour "Come Hell or Highwater" in 1993. Ritchie Blackmore quit the tour after the European portion - he also ended the original Mark II by quitting because of Ian Gillan's "lack of work ethic." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Neil - Corner Brook, Canada, for all above
  • Ian Gillan said in an interview in 2002: "There are two sides to that song - the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song 'Bombay Calling' by a band called It's A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we'd play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original 'Bombay Calling'. So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines 'Sweet child in time, you'll see the line.' That's how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that's why it became so popular." (courtesy: Deep Purple Appreciation Society)
  • Lars Ulrich of Metallica cites this as one of his favorite songs of all time. He says that when he was 9 years old, his father took him to a Deep Purple show, and it changed his life. "This is their most iconic moment," he told Rolling Stone regarding the song. "I've heard it 92,000 times, and it never sounds anything less than great."
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Comments: 47

Jan WorthJulie - Bradenton,florida
I thought Blackmore was VOCALS too! My bad!Julie - Bradenton,florida
I stand corrected on the singer, thought it was Richie. It was Ian.Jan Worth - Costa Rica
This is my favorite Deep purple song. The lyrics never made much sense to me but who cares. It is amazing how Richie can sing in a "controlled scream". I tried the karaoke version but there is no way I can sing that high, have to keep dropping down an octave and then it doesn't sound right. Can anyone else sing it?Jan Worth - Costa Rica
"14 year old ‪Berkin‬ Elvan was shot with a 850 gr. gas cannister on june 16th. He was not a protester he was going to the market to buy some bread. He was in a coma trying to survive fighting infections and high fever for 268 days. He was 16 kgs when he died today, at 07.00 am. Now the police are attacking the hospital he has been staying at and another protester was shot in the head during the attacks. He is unconscious now. The family did not have time to mourn their child before the police attack. Be aware of the police violence in Turkiye. Let everyone know about the dictator."
The boy was just one of the sweet children of time and after this day the song will remind him for me.
Dilek - Istanbul, Turkey
I read today monday 16th july 2012 Jon Lord passed away. Great musician. God bless you, Jon. R.I.P.AgustÃ?n - Santiago, Chile
I wonder if the line "If you have been bad, oh Lord I bet you have", may refer to John Lord instead of The Lord.Wps61 - Hoogeveen, Netherlands
It's not a gun shot or an amp blowing out. It's actually the organ that made that sound.
Jon Lord's organ had a spring reverb unit built into it. If you turn the level control up
high enough and then bump or hit the organ you get that sound. I know because I have
the same setup on my Hammond B3 and it does the same thing. Also, if you listen to the
final punch in Highway Star from the Made In Japan album, you 'll hear him create that
effect again only with a different level setting.
Joe - Laval, Qc
In Wordography (http://www.gillan.com/wordography-16.html) Ian Gillan writes: "Through the medium of Radio Free Europe this song and many others reached the ears and hearts of like minded people behind the 'Iron Curtain' and as I found out many years later, it was of a great comfort to them when they understood that there were some peace loving friends out there somewhere". Most probably what we's referring to is the late Cornel Chiriac' Metronom radio programme on Europa Libera (in Romanian) which was immensely popular in some East European countries (and southern regions of the USSR) in the early 1970s.Vladimir - Moscow, Russia Federation
To be more precise about the 'gun shot' sound... it's the sound of a reverb spring unit inside the organ or inside the speaker cabinet of the organ. I'm not a Hammond organ specialist but being a guitar player I have an amplifier with a reverb spring unit. This unit which makes exactly the same sound when I tilt the amp. The springs are clanging against each other, or against the cover of the unit. Or both, whatever. I was very satisfied when I discovered this by accident, years ago. And I'm sure Jon Lord and are not the only musicians who discovered it ;-)Fritz - Utrecht, Netherlands
you're right...the song actually goes back to the mid 60's when Vince Wallace, jazz musician in Oakland first wrote it, then taught it to David in the late 60's. At that time, they were headlining over Deep Purple around San Francisco, so that's where DP got it. David used to attribute the song to Vince for the first couple of years in concert, then dropped it.
In fact, the original song is actually a 'hard bop' jazz number from Vince Wallace converted to rock and roll originally by LaFlamme. It's on an LP from 1974 by Vince Wallace and is very hard to get. Never released on CD.
But all the remaining musicians of It's A Beautiful Day admit the song is the original Vince Wallace number.
Vince Wallace himself once told me the song is about TV shows in the late 50's and how idiotic they're portrayal of middle eastern customs and music was....Hence the name Bombay Calling.
Jon Lord admitted to have taken the riff while he was dating the vocalist of the group :)
courtesy: YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-JKlx2dml0
Zoran - London, United Kingdom
I agree with Vladimir. Absolutelly.

(seek Baltimore below, in this page)
Carlos - Santa Rita,
The version on Made in Japan (the old vinyl) at 12:15 minutes is about as good a live rock recording as you will ever hear. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Everyone knows rock achieved perfection in August 1972." The concerts were over three nights, Aug 15,16and 17th. I often wonder if the lucky bast@#ds who attended those concerts realized what they were witnessing. The band must have been inspired by those "women from tokyo" haha.Terry Chatfield - Saskatoon, Sk
Wow,it was an amazing song especially on the vocal side.Ian Gillan is trully the voice Rock of the Univers.imho.For me the great vocal performance of this song is the deep purple concert in Granada 1970.Ian Gillan sing it with full of emotion.Lai - Manila, Philippines
what a great song,a great singer with a great performance.it is simply one of the best ever greatest rock band in the world.Md - Penang, Malaysia
I saw Deep Purple in concert in Jax., Fla. in 1971 and when Ian Gillan did "Child in Time" I was totally blown away!! Nothing could ever remaster that song! I was peaking at the height of the song, and it literally flipped me out! Lord he was awesome!!Debby - Jacksonville, Fl
The gunshot sound is not a mike stand falling over, it's Jon Lord rocking his organ. It's not meant as a gunshot,it is an effect Lord uses frequently during the live shows. And the song is about the futility of war, something Gillan and Glover use often in their lyrics.Scott - London, On
The live version from "Made In Japan" is better than the studio version from "In Rock". They are both very good. But you know how live stuff goes. It usually outshines the studio versions. A great song by a great rock and roll band at their height. Ritchie Blackmore is both lean and mean! To any of you interested in Deep Purple. If you don't have "In Rock","Machine Head" or "Made In Japan" then buy them. You won't be disappointed. And "Made In Japan" now is in a deluxe edition with bonus tracks.Wayne - Salem, Va
The best vocal ever, well maybe alongside Clare Torry on The Great Gig in the Sky.Dale - Sen Mornorom, Cambodia
Single greatest vocals ever! And I'm not just saying that because it sounds good(oh man and does it) im saying this because if someone tried to cover this vocaly would sound subpar compared to Gillian! Best 10 minutes anyone will ever here!Clint - Mount Vernon, Mo
First heard it in the documentary One Day In September, a quite tragic one, about the Israeli team taken hostage at the Munich olympics in 1972. It made me very sad and angry. The song really emphasised those feelings, it's the part with the shouts going higher and louder that was used, as well as Immigrant Song if I recall right. I must have seen it in 99 (at 17) and I still link the song to it.P.a. - Paris, France
very beautiful song!!Patrick - Tel Aviv, Israel
the concert scene in twister is from the 1974 cal jam.also the world record for concert loudness was the rainbow in england. broke in 1976 by the who. sorry i mean the rainbow concert hall in england.Bruce - Antwerp, Ny
And about this nonsense of the dead daughter. At the time of the recording Ian Giillan is still long time before marriage and children. His daughter Grace was born much much later, long after he and Roger left Purple mk II. Enough stupid gossip...Vladimir - Baltimore, Md
There's no death of daughters, suicides or other exotics affiliated with this hit. Forget all about it. The sound during the August perfromance in Japan in 1972 is from a falling mike stand. The song was written as the singer Gillan descibes it in his autobiography. There's no references to anybody's death in the text either. "See the blind man, shooting at the world" for anyone who speaks Eglish should be a clear reference to the Death in general blindly taking tall on the humanity. "A story of a looser - it could be you" is the subtitle of the song in the original 1970 Deep Purple In Rock album where this pieace appears in it's original for the first time. The intermedialte hard riff used in Twister is taken from the original and NOT from any concert version. Take it from me, I know Purple.

Gillan actually is refering to any child (meaning mostly himself) which wises up as it grows and matures and begins to make a distinction between "the good and the bad". And then it sways toward the fact that everyone have sins, and eventually will die with all the baggage of deeds during his life.

Sorry for the typos... no time
Vladimir - Baltimore, Md
Does anyone her know the concert source of the version of this song used in the movie Twister? The guitar tone is sweet. Thanks for any input.Anonymous
For a while, Deep Purple had the Guinness World Record for Concert Loudness, set at a concert at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. I was at that concert, and my girlfriend passed out. I'm pretty sure it was because of the level of sound, because we were neither taking drugs nor drinking. That was back in '74, I believe. David Coverdale and Glen Hughes were the lead singers. By the way, Ian Gillan was the worst lead singer Black Sabbath ever had. Glen Hughes was lead singer for Sabbath also for one album.Lester - New York City, Ny
Yes, this song is really based on "Bombay Calling". Jon Lord had heard the song , and was fascinated by the strings. Roger Glover had heard it too, and so, during an assay, as they told, someone said " Do you remember that song BOMBAY CALLING?" Jon started to play, and all joined in. Ian Gillan started sing something over it, and...John - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Actually, there are lots of albums with the ten minute version. I just bought some cheapo greatest hits album wiht ten songs and it cost like 6 or 7 bucks, it had child in time ten minute versionJoe - Bellingham, Wa
It's also mentioned in Gillan's autobiography: "We'd heard an album by a new band called It's A Beautiful Day on which there was a track called "Bombay Calling"...Jon had become fascinated and was musing around with it on the keyboard...and then I started to sing "Sweet Child In Time"...It was totally spontaneous and conceived without a storyline." So nothing to do with Vietnam, nor daughters being killed.Dougie - Delhi, India
Rae, if you can get The Best Prog Rock Album in the World...Ever, that has the full 10:21 version, with both solos in full. Richie Blackmore is seen as kinda arrogant, but he can play! THEY ROCK!!Bryony - Near Brighton, England
this song is amazing. Ian Gillan has some pipes on him. Ritchie and Jon's solos are amazing. Purple rocks.Devon - Westerville, Oh
The Guitar Solo is on the top 10 list of all time in my opinionJoakim - Jönköping, Sweden
This Song Is About A Loser It Could Be YouJoakim - Jönköping, Sweden
The song is about the vocalist's daughter getting killed by a shot from a blind man. Reading the lyrics with this in mind clears things up ("see the blind man, shooting at the world;"And you've not been hit by flying lead" ). He expresses his sadness by reaching very high pitches with his voice. A Very emotional song.Michel - Aleppo,syria, Mi
Yes Yes great songTony - Albany, Ny
its a pity that its often only played for 4:15 that most of the 'compilation' albums have of it.

it really makes the song sound pretty boring as all the soloing and stuff is not there :(
Rae - Sydney, Australia
This song has the best solo ever. In Rock was an all around excellent album. Why aren't there more Deep Purple songs on here anyways?Jesse - Toronto, Canada
Great song. Unless i am wrong, this song was featured in the movie TwisterJason - Chesapeake, Va
this song iis awesome, great vocals and gituar,and to think... i first heard it on twisterAlex - St Louis, Mo
very beautiful song. i like espacially the aaahhh....Ana - Lokev, Europe
The sound is not a gunshot, it's a microphone stand falling over.John - Denver, Co
Congratulations to Solaris of Athens. I saw Deep Purple at the Fillmore West in '68. It's a Beautiful Day opened for Purple. Bombay Calling was on Day's first album. Child, which was recorded much later, is Identical to Bombay. Why no lawsuit? David LaFlamme felt that the record company was ripping him off, and any money from a lawsutit would have gone to the record company anyway. After I.A.B.D.'s second album David folded the group.Mark - Seattle, Wa
This song is ten minutes of pure greatness. Oh, to Solaris of Athens, according to a trustworthy source, the organ riff was in fact taken from Bombay Calling. The rest was Deep Purple at its greatest.Jon - Regina, Canada
That sound, supposedly a gunshot, sounds very much like an amp blowing out. That would be a rather more likely explanation.Ferdinand - Hilversum, Netherlands
The best Deep Purple song ever. It is said that a man commited a suicide during their concert in Japan in 1973(I am not sure about the year)while they were playing this song. If you listen to the live verion,you can hear a gun shot somewhere around 9min, after Ian says "I wanna be inside of you"...
Anyway,a fu***ng great song.
Maria - Ns, Serbia
This song reminds me of "Bombay Calling" of "It's A Beautiful Day" record! I think the tune is the same.Solaris - Athens, Greece
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