This song is a tribute to the band's late keyboard player, Jon Lord, who was a founding member of Deep Purple.
Jon Lord died on July 16, 2012 at the age of 71 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lord and drummer Ian Paice were the only original members to last through the band's initial run from 1968 to 1976. He co-wrote such Purple classics as "Smoke On The Water" and "Child In Time"
The band was working on this song in Nashville when they learned of Jon Lord's death. Upon hearing the news, lead singer Ian Gillan composed the lyric honoring Lord. He explained: "After a period of quiet reflection we shared some old familiar anecdotes about Jon and before long his spirit filled the room. I scribbled the line 'Souls, having touched, are forever entwined.' And then he sang these words to us all."
Now What?! was produced by Bob Ezrin, who got a writing credit on the original songs along with all the band members. Musically, "Above And Beyond" was largely written by guitarist Steve Morse, who joined in 1994. Most Deep Purple songs are hashed out in the studio, but this was a rare track he brought in close to fully formed. "Normally that's a risky strategy," Morse told us. "But I liked the direction it was going. I was going to use it for one of my projects if the band didn't like it, so I had developed it pretty much down to where it is." (Here's our full Steve Morse interview.)