who was born on the 19th august? in 1943 it was william howard ashton, better known as billy j kramer, and in 1945 on this day a guy named ian gillan was born – and, yes, thats his real name.
born to a glaswegian father and an english mother, in his teens ian first wanted to be a film star at any cost. like elvis had done it, he tried to enter the film business through music business. his first professional band were the javelins, whom he joined in 1962 and left two years later.
at the age of twenty he joined the first group that actually recorded and released records, episode six. ian shared keyboard and vocal duties with the groups female singer sheila carter, and on 21st january 1966 he appeared on ‘put yourself in may place’ / ‘thats all i want’ – together with a musician who would accompany him throughout large parts of his musical career: roger glover (who also wrote the b-side of that 45, and most of the other episode six songs). episode six released nine singles in total, and plans for an album were aborted when the group partly split up in early 1969.
in summer 1969 he was asked to join deep purple as their new singer, just after rod evans and bassist nick simper had been thrown out of the group (ironically, ian had rejected an earlier request by deep purple before they had hired evans, and decided to stay with episode six). so gillan and glover joined this group who was going to have their giant break-through with the immortal ‘in rock’ lp the very next year, and the rest is history.
but today, lets celebrate the amazing screamer who made so many rock songs unforgettable – the sweet child in time, with his sweet and brilliant voice. happy birthday ian!