“accidentally ON PURPOSE” is an album we’ve always wanted to do” is one of the things Ian Gillan is supposed to have said about this project.
During the recording sessions to the DEEP PURPLE album “The House Of Blue Light” Ian Gillan and Roger Glover found themselves with a bunch of songs that didn’t fit the typical DEEP PURPLE style but were also way to good to be lost somewhere in a desk drawer. So they decided to put an album together with this material, with them as main actors and some guest musicians helping doing the backings.
They started the recordings together with engineer Nick Blagona at George Martin’s Air Studios in Montserrat. “Monserrat was the first time we’d had the chance to work on material unencumbered by the expectations and limitations of a band” Ian Gillan writes in his biography “Child In Time”. As the DEEP PURPLE US tour was calling, they had to end their work and report back to duty. During this tour – which found a sudden end when Ritchie Blackmore broke his finger – they decided not to fly or drive, but go by bus instead which gave them the opportunity to continue working on the album. “No rush, no airports, no packing and unpacking … the only way to go.”
The album was finished in New York where it was also mixed. The result shows a wide range of musical directions combined with some great melodies and lyrics, “the one I play the most of all records I have made” Ian Gillan said.
To fullfill Ian Gillans still existing contract with Virgin, the album was published in February 1988 by Virgin Records, following the release of the advance-singles “Dislocated” (December 1987) and “She Took My Breath Away” (February 1988). “This was the first album I’d delivered to Virgin since 1982, and I had a great relationship with them.” Ian Gillan explains, continuing “but Virgin changed quite a lot and when I wanted to talk to someone, no-one knew who I was”.
Although the album was a very fine piece of music, it never had too much commercial success. Roger Glover explains: ” accidentally ON PURPOSE was a good case in point of a record company stabbing us in the back. We finished that album and it was out a week and they dropped us. They dropped us for some political reason. It was nothing to do with us. It was nothing whatsoever to do with us. And yet there’s this album that we put a lot of our heart and soul into and suddenly all the money went from the promotion. The rug was pulled out from under our feet and we were left dangling with nothing but an album in some shops that wasn’t getting any promotion. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I was very depressed about that.” Ian Gillan: “I thought it was the best album I’d ever done but Virgin didn’t make any effort whatsoever. So I wrote to Richard Branson saying I guess we don’t love each other anymore, I want out.”
Because of these circumstances and also because of their main focus still being on DEEP PURPLE, there were no live performances except a few appearances in TV shows. The only songs ever recorded live were “I thought no” and “I can’t dance to that”.
A thing many fans still hope for is a sequel of “accidentally ON PURPOSE”. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover expressed many times that they would like to do, but their main life is DEEP PURPLE. Ian Gillan being asked about a sequel in an IRC chat 1997: “AOP – Roger & I often talk about the future”.