Album: Deep Purple (1963)
Charted: 17 1
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  • The "deep purple" is twilight, a special time for the couple in this song because that's when they can see each other again - but only in their dreams.
  • Nino and April are a brother and sister team who each had fair solo careers (real names: Antonio and Carol Lo Tempio). April had hits with "No No No Not That" (1950), "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 1930s, 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-side, "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 "Whispering" (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.

Comments: 24

  • Pat from Boston, MaLoved it; funny how it pops into your memory 60+ years later!
    Marvelous Song, and great lyrics!
  • Barbara Webb Casteel from Newton, Ks, UsaI am now 84 but have loved this song since I was a child. It is a beautiful song with a beautiful reason for being. DeRose might not have thought it was particularly good, but to me it is. When I was about 12 I learned to play it on the piano and enjoyed it for many years.
  • John D from Tucson,azI agree with Ken Dee from SoCal that the wrecking crew were a talented collection of musicians, BUT they had a lot of competition in Detroit from the Funk Brothers!
  • Chuck from PhoenixApril Stevens was NOT 14 years old in 1950. (Also, there is no way that April was only 79 in 2015 while Nino was 80 as Barry from Sauquoit, Ny states. April was Nino's OLDER sister). April said in her autobiography ("Teach Me Tiger") that she was born in 1929 (April 29, 1929 to be precise). She admitted to taking years off her age, and her brother, Nino, going along with it. In 2015, April turned 86.
  • Ken Dee from San Diego, CaliforniaTheir "session players?" They deserve a bit more billing than was the world-famous WRECKING CREW! The best musicians ever....and very much part of (if not THE) sound of the 1960's.
  • Darlene from IllinoisLike Robare from Ny, while I was taking piano lessons at Millikin University (until 1960), I had Deep Purple for a lesson. One Saturday while waiting in the lounge for my lesson, two men came to me and asked me to play something for them. I finally played my new version of Deep Purple (I had jazzed it up a bit) and later, I heard it come out on the radio just as I had played it, then a no. 1 hit. Always wondered if the men were recruiters visiting the University because it is well known for its music program and I just happened to be there!!?? At least I got to enjoy it for a good long time.
  • Tina from Atlanta, GeorgiaBarry from Sauquoit, I’m curious to know your source on Deep Purple being performed on American Bandstand on November 23, 1963. That was the day after JFK’s assassination. AB would not have aired on that date.

    On YouTube, there is a recording of Dallas station KLIF’s coverage of the day JFK was shot. The posted recording begins with JFK’s arrival at Love Field and continues with the bulletins and then the switch to all news coverage. There is about a half hour or so of music/commercials before the very first bulletin about the shooting. The very first song played during that half hour was this version of Deep Purple.
  • Robare from NySadly the truth behind the scenes is that Peter did NOT write the lyrics to the song "Deep Purple" let the truth be told that my grandmother did in the 1930s and sold it just to make ends meet. Just breaks my heart tho how some claimed their fortune off of my grandmother's words and taken the credit for which it does not belong. Actually pretty pathetic.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 16th 1976, the weekly variety show 'Donny and Marie' debut on the ABC-TV network...
    The series ran for three seasons with a total of 78 episodes...
    At the time the duo's covered version of "Deep Purple" was at #41 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; just over nine weeks later on March 21st it would peak at #14 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 23 weeks...
    * On the day of the show's premiere Donny Osmond was 18 years old and Marie was 16; guests on the first show were Bob Hope, Kate Smith, Paul Lynde and Lee 'The Six Million Dollar Man' Majors.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 23rd 1963, Nino Tempo & April Stevens performed "Deep Purple" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #3 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; one week earlier it was at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on Billboard's R&B Singles chart it was in its 2nd week at position #4, which was its peak position the chart...
    {See the next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 8th 1963, "Deep Purple" by Nino Tempo & April Stevens entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #94; and on November 10th, 1963 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    On the song's 15th and final week on the Top 100 it was at #39, and their next release, "Whispering", was debuting on the chart at #80 and 10 weeks later on January 12th, 1964 it would peak at #11 {for 2 weeks}...
    The record that "Deep Purple" replaced at #1 was "Sugar Shack" by Billy Gilmer & the Fireballs, it had held the top spot for 5 weeks...
    Nino Tempo, born Antonino LoTempio, will celebrate his 80th birthday in four months on January 6th {2015} and sister April Stevens, born Carol LoTempio, will turn 79 years old come next April 29th {2015}.
  • Skip from Asheville, NcMy 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...........
  • Peter from Windsor, OnFrom

    "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.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAs 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}
  • Eisso from Groningen, NetherlandsIt sounds a bit messy and that's what I love about it.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumI 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.
  • Alan from Greene, RiThis 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.
  • Bob from Southfield, MiNino and April also had a semi-hit in 1966 with "All Strung Out On You". A song that was later rerecorded by John Travolta.
  • Patrick from Clayton, NcI 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.
  • Sara from Traverse City, MiI 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.
  • AnonymousWhat 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 ___?
  • Jameson from Lexington, KyGiven 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)
  • Keith Major from Bristol, EnglandThis song was also recorded by Donny and Marie Osmond in the early 1970's.
  • John from Greeneville, TnOddly 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)
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