Speed King

Album: Deep Purple In Rock (1970)
Play Video


  • Deep Purple drew inspiration from early American rock, and the lyrics of this song are made up of bits from songs by Little Richard, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. The first verse borrows from Richard's songs "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Tutti Frutti" and "Lucille." The second verse is pulled from the soul classic "Rip It Up," as well as Elvis' "Hard Headed Woman" and Berry's "Some People." Deep Purple would later pay tribute to Little Richard when they named their 1987 album The House of Blue Light, after a line in "Good Golly Miss Molly."
  • According to Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan's autobiography, this song was called "Kneel and Pray" for some time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dougie - Delhi, India
  • Deep Purple played this song live for about eight months before they recorded it. In concerts, it was usually their opening number. The song got bumped on September 13, 1971 when the band decided they wanted a new song to open their shows, wrote "Highway Star" on the tour bus, and performed it that night.

Comments: 9

  • Jobin Higashikata from Morioh, JapanSet my orchard on fire lol.
  • Ricky from Killie, United KingdomScott - as you say the riff was a combination of the start/stop of Hendrix's Fire in the verse but on the chorus the riff was based on Hendrix's Stone Free.
    Its rumoured that Ritchie used an SG at times, he certainly owned one at the time, but nothing can be proved and Ritchie's never confirmed where it was used on In Rock if at all. He played his '68 Strat through a Hornby Skewes Treble Booster with 200w Marshall Major (that were boosted also) and in the studio he used an Arbiter Add-a-sound for an Octave Divider, a silicon transistor Fuzz Face and a Marshall Fuzz Unit at various times. He also used his Gibson ES335 almost certainly on Child In Time. His Vox AC30 was used as well but its difficult pinning down what he used on this track - the guitar is heavier and more distorted than the earlier versions when it was originally called Kneel and Pray. I'd say it was the Strat/Marshall and treble booster set-up.
  • Mark from Londonderry, NhI agree with Bill. Ian Paice is the BEST drummer ever. Period.
  • Scott from London, OnThe original riff was an idea of Roger Glover's when Ritchie Blackmore said he wanted a riff like Hendrix's "Fire."
  • Bill from Dundee, United KingdomDeep Purple's drummer - Ian Paice - still IS one of the very best, if not THE best rock drummers.
  • Roy from Eighty Four, PaI remember reading somewhere that Blackmore played a Gibson SG on this album before he later switched to Fender Stratocasters.
  • Sam from Seattle, Wathe drums for this are amazing! DP's drummer was one of the best
  • Ulya from Sliema, EuropeI was nearly shocked when i first heard this song, this fight between the organ and the guitar, just incredible. And the vocal by Ian Gillan. Something to drave you crazy!
  • Ray from Palm Bay, Iddeep purple still perform this song in concert. they are still rockin.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Andy McClusky of OMD

Andy McClusky of OMDSongwriter Interviews

Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

16 Songs With a Heartbeat

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."