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Jon Lord

Jon Lord was best known as the co-founder and keyboard player for Deep Purple, but he had a lengthy career with other bands (and as a session musician) long before that band first recorded in 1968, and had an extensive solo career as well, in addition to playing with such offshoot groups as Whitesnake and Paice, Ashton & Lord. He was born Jon Douglas Lord in Leicester, England, in 1941, and manifested an interest in music very early on, taking up classical piano at age five -- his boyhood influences ranged from pre-Baroque through Johann Sebastian Bach to Late Romantics such as Sir Edward Elgar. As the 1950s went on, he also absorbed the music of such jazz and blues figures as Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, and rock & roller Jerry Lee Lewis. He eventually shifted away from classical music and into playing blues and jazz as a means of earning money, while also studying acting for a time. At the start of the 1960s, he passed through the orbit of jazz guru Bill Ashton, and soon after met Art Wood, an alumnus of Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies' Blues Incorporated. Lord began to pick up session work in the mid-'60s, and that's his piano on the Kinks' debut hit, "You Really Got Me." He ended up as a founding member of Art Wood's band the Artwoods -- although the latter group never had a major hit, it was a busy performing outfit and made a large number of television appearances across its three-year existence, which ended in 1967 with a brief period as the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, a name under which the group issued its final single, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime."