David Coverdale says that it broke his heart that Ritchie Blackmore couldn't join his former bandmates in DEEP PURPLE onstage during the 2016 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony.
Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including "Smoke On The Water", but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure.
Steve Morse effectively took over Blackmore's slot in 1994 and has since been in the group longer than Ritchie.
Asked by Celebrity Page what the Rock Hall experience was like for him, Coverdale said (see video below): "Oh, it was fantastic. Glenn Hughes [former DEEP PURPLE bassist/vocalist] and I are like the young Righteous Brothers; we just had the greatest time. I can't speak for the rest of the DEEP PURPLE guys, but Ritchie Blackmore should have been there. I was mortified that he was… threatened not to come, and it broke my heart, because none of us would have been standing on that stage without Ritchie Blackmore's contribution."
Blackmore previously suggested that PURPLE's manager had blocked him from attending the Rock Hall induction ceremony, and he used that as an excuse for not attending the event.
Despite Blackmore being a no-show at Rock Hall, he was given several shoutouts during the induction speeches of the DEEP PURPLE members in attendance. In addition, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, who inducted DEEP PURPLE into the institution, praised "Ritchie fucking Blackmore" for one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time on "Smoke On The Water".
DEEP PURPLE's first three lineups were inducted into the Rock Hall, including Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice, late keyboardist Jon Lord, and various singers and bassists — Rod Evans; Gillan and Roger Glover; and Coverdale and Hughes.
Last year, DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan shot down the possibility of a reunion with Blackmore, saying that "the rain stopped and the sun came out" for DEEP PURPLE once the guitarist left the group. He also threw shade at Ritchie's recent RAINBOW performances, saying that Blackmore is "not playing rock and roll like he used to."