“Space Truckin’” is a song by British hard rock band Deep Purple. It is the seventh and final track on the Machine Head album and its lyrics talk of space travel.
When it was first performed live, the band appended an instrumental that was originally part of the song “Mandrake Root” from their first album but gradually evolved into a showcase for Jon Lord’s Hammond organ and Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar solos. This usually took the length of the overall song to over twenty minutes, and it was always performed as the last number of the main set. A good example of this arrangement can be found on the Made in Japan album, wherein Blackmore also quotes the “cello” solo of “Fools” off Fireball.
Jon Lord played his solo through a ring modulator or played some of it on an ARP synthesizer. Meanwhile, Ritchie Blackmore usually split the guitar solo into two halves, a quiet section with just drums, then a loud section with the full band. The second half was often when Blackmore would smash his guitar, play it with his feet or throw it into the air. One of the most infamous incidents where that happened was at the California Jam festival in 1974, where he dropped one guitar over the edge of the stage, smashed a second against a TV camera, then set his amplifier on fire, which then subsequently exploded.
When Deep Purple reformed in 1984, this extended arrangement was reworked, and later included snippets of other songs.
During the Man Of All Ages tour, the final part of the song, which originally featured high-pitched screaming by Gillan (now 71), instead featured high-pitched guitar in the same key as his original vocals.
On the remastered version of their 1982 album Live in London, there is a 31-minute-long live version of the song. It consists of a lot of improvising from the band members and in one part of the song they play the main riff from “Child in Time”.
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