On Friday night, April 8, Brooklyn, New York's Barclays Center hosted the 2016 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, welcoming a star-studded class that included DEEP PURPLE, which had been eligible for induction for two decades.
METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich inducted DEEP PURPLE into the institution, after which the current lineup of DEEP PURPLE performed a mini-set that included "Hush", "Highway Star" and "Smoke On The Water". Sadly, there was no surprise appearance from guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who stayed away from the event due to tensions with his former bandmates.
Blackmore later posted a statement on his Facebook page in which he said: "I have my reason for not attending the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, although I appreciate the award. However, I do think that they should've given an award to [singer] Joe Lynn Turner for when he was in DEEP PURPLE — for his singing and writing on 'Slaves And Masters' — a great record, one of my favorites."
Despite Blackmore being a no-show at this year's Rock Hall, he was given several shoutouts during the induction speeches of the DEEP PURPLE members in attendance. In addition, Ulrich praised "Ritchie fucking Blackmore" for one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time on "Smoke On The Water".
"It's a big disappointment for me that [Blackmore] wasn't here tonight," said former DEEP PURPLE singer David Coverdale. "I e-mailed his manager a couple of days ago and extended a personal invitation. I never really got a response. Ritchie and I reconnected in 2012 after the loss of [keyboardist] Jon Lord just to express my condolences and we buried the hatchet... which was great."
DEEP PURPLE singer Ian Gillan defended the band's decision to only perform with the group's current lineup at the Rock Hall induction, explaining that "there [was] no slight intended nor any desire to upset anyone" with this move.
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony seemed like a rare opportunity for DEEP PURPLE to reunite with Blackmore, who wrote many of the band's most memorable riffs, but hasn't played with the group since 1993.
The DEEP PURPLE members that were inducted are: Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, Rod Evans, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.
Joe Lynn Turner recently blasted Blackmore for going out and performing DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW's classic material with a new group musicians, explaining that "the fans deserve better than a cover band."