Deep Purple

Highway Star

Composed by Ian Gillan / Ian Paice / Jon Lord / Ritchie Blackmore / Roger Glover

Song Review by

The opening track on 1972's Machine Head lp clocks in at six minutes and five seconds, an album cut that got much exposure on FM radio in the early part of that heavy decade. There are only 41 words to the entire song, lyrics not being Ian Gillan and company's strong suit. Where the Rod Evans fronted band had a more literary slant, The Book Of Taliesyn a decidedly different adult progressive project than this hard onslaught, Deep Purple made a conscious effort to aim themselves at a younger, male audience a la Black Sabbath and away from the world of bands like Yes, where they were heading when they dabbled with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra a few discs before Machine Head. The song is about driving, and drive it does, long before Keanu Reeves made a job of it in the films Speed and Matrix Reloaded, the theme also played well around the same time for fellow Warner Brothers artists Alice Cooper and their/his double entendre "Under My Wheels". What was really going on here was that the group had finally refined their new formula initiated a couple of years earlier on Deep Purple In Rock. Where that album's opening track, "Speed Kills", was the precursor to this, "Highway Star" has all the elements roaring and in motion. It begins like a runaway train, Gillan's vocals heralding the song of overdrive while the two words from the Deep Purple In Rock opening track find their way into this more polished and refined sequel. They have the groove here that would go on to serve them well, the instruments all charging ahead, Blackmore's guitar and Jon Lord's keyboards, like Ian Gillan's voice, creating sounds to reflect the theme. Not only does it feel like a runaway train, the tune sounds like one, the rhythm section thumping while Blackmore's leads just sizzle.

Condensed and powerful metal that zips through the speakers with a quick intensity. The heavy sound promised by Steppenwolf on "Born To Be Wild" is delivered here, and don't think "Deep Purple" didn't have that tune from Easy Rider in mind when they concocted this.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Made in Japan 1972 Friday Music
No Image 1972 Warner Bros.
No Image 1973 Purple Records Ltd. 6:46
Last Concert in Japan 1977 WEA International 6:49
When We Rock, We Rock & When We Roll, We Roll 1978 Warner Bros. 6:47
In Concert, 1970-1972 1980 Eagle Rock 8:32
No Image 1985 EMI Music Distribution
Nobody's Perfect 1988 Mercury / Universal 6:11
Masters of Metal: Crankin' up 1970-1980 1989
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 6:05
Dazed and Confused [Music from the Motion Picture] 1993
Original Soundtrack
Giant 6:09
Live in Japan 1993 EMI 7:08
No Image 1993 Crystal Cat
Impossible Concert 1994
Various Artists
Alex 5:40
No Image 1994 EMI Music Distribution 4:58
No Image 1995 Warner Bros./Purple 6:05
King Biscuit Flower Hour 1996 King Biscuit Entertainment 5:34
The Best on Stage 1970-1985 1996 Griffin 6:57
Live at the Olympia '96 1997 EMI Music Distribution
Crankin' Up 1997
Various Artists
Easyriders, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Thump Records 6:09
Power Chords Live 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O 6:43
Rockin' Down the Highway 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:58
Knebworth 1985 1998 Beat Goes On / Connoisseur 6:57
Harley Davidson Road Songs, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
Capitol 6:08
The Very Best of Deep Purple [EMI Single Disc] 1998 EMI Music Distribution 6:32
Highway Rockin' 1998
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / Rebound Records 6:10
On the Road 1999 Connoisseur Collection
Shades 1968-1998 1999 Rhino 6:09
No Image 1999 WEA International 2:58
Hard Rock Cafe: Rockin' Down the Highway 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 6:07
Double Shot: Metal 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:00
Greatest Hits 2000 Teichiku Records 6:38
The Very Best of Deep Purple [Rhino] 2000 Warner Bros. / Rhino 6:09
Total Abandon Live Australia 1999 [Video/DVD] 2000 Music Video Distribution
Hot Rod Series: Pedal to the Metal 2000
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 6:07
Extended Versions 2000 BMG Special Products 5:26
Bombay Calling 2000 Music Video Distribution
Anthems 2000 Disky 6:46
Very Best of Deep Purple [WEA International] 2001 WEA International 6:08
New Live & Rare: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 2001 EMI Music Distribution 6:00
In Profile 2001 EMI Music Distribution
Soundboard Series: Australian Tour 2001 2001 Tbc
This Time Around: Live in Tokyo '75 2001 CMC International 7:29
Under the Gun 2001 Polygram 6:11
Smoke on the Water: The Best Of 2001 Rhino Flashback 6:06
Behind the Wheel: The Best of Road Rock 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 6:07
Live at Rotterdam Ahoy 2000 2002 Phantom Import Distribution
Listen Learn Read On 2002 EMI Music Distribution 6:04
Long Live Rock N Roll 2003
Various Artists
Steamhammer 6:49
Live in Denmark '72 2003 Victor Entertainment 8:30
Twogether Rock 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:43
The Best of Deep Purple Live in Europe 2003 CD Double Play/IRC / Double Play Records 6:45
Winning Combinations 2003 Special Products / Universal Special Products 6:13
Live in Japan 1975 2003 Vap
Gold 2003 EMI Music Distribution
Radio Caroline Calling 2003
Various Artists
Racing Rocks: Songs of the Speedway 2003
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 6:08
Inside Deep Purple 1969-1976: An Independent Critical Review 2003 Classic Rock
Black Night 2004 Phantom Import Distribution
Total Abandon: Australia '99 2004 Rock Classics
Live on the BBC 2004 Audio Fidelity 0:13
Greatest Guitar Anthems 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:07
Live in Paris 1975 2004 Purple Records Ltd. / RPM 11:33
Serious Rock 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:08
Heavy Rock Masterpieces 2004
Various Artists
Classic Rock Legends
Purple Rainbows: The Very Best Of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake And Gillan 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 6:07
The Anthology [DVD] 2004 Intense
1990-1996 2004 BMG/RCA
No Image 2004 Metal Mind Productions / P.U.P. Metal Mind
Live Encounters [DVD] 2004 Metal Mind Productions
The Best & Live 2004 BMG
The  Platinum Collection 2005 EMI Music Distribution 6:29
Live in Concert 1972/1973 2005 EMI / EMI Music Distribution
Ultimate 16: The Very Best of Classic Rock 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 6:07
Rapture of the Deep 2005 Eagle Records 8:09
Live in Concert 1972/73 [DVD] 2005 Eagle Vision
Speed King 2006 Sony BMG
Rock Milestones: Made in Japan 2006 Classic Rock Legends
Live at Montreux 1996 2006 Tokuma Records
The Best of the Beat Club, Vol. 1 [DVD] 2006
Various Artists
Eagle Vision
Live at Montreux, 1996 [DVD] 2006 Eagle Vision
Monsters of Rock [EMI] 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Greatest Rockin' 70's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 6:08
Live in Stuttgart 1993 2007 MSI Music Distribution / Sony Music Distribution
All 70s and 80s Mega Hits 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 6:07
No Image 2007 Eagle / Eagle Records
Extended Versions, Vol. 2 2007 Sony Music Distribution / Sbme Special Mkts. 7:33
Heavy Metal [Box Set] 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 6:07
Heavy Metal Box [Rhino] 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 6:07
Hit Collection 2007 Sony BMG 6:43
Live at Montreux 2006 [Video] 2007 Eagle Eye Records 8:42
101 Driving Songs 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 6:06
Around the World Live 2008 Eagle Vision
Greatest Hits [Steel Box Collection] 2008 RCA / Sony BMG / Sony Music Distribution 6:40
Highway Star 2008
Various Artists
ZYX Music 6:08
Collections 2008 Camden International / Sony Music 6:43
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 6:45
Live at Long Beach Arena 1976 2009 AFM Records / Purple Records Ltd. / Soulfood 6:25
Dad Rocks! 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:06
History, Hits and Highlights 1968-1976 2009 Eagle Vision
Live [DVD] 2009 Immortal
Live 2009 Edge / Immortal 5:37
Rhino Classic Albums Collection [f.y.e. Exclusive] 2009 Rhino 6:08
Flashback 2009 Sony Music Entertainment 6:43
101 Running Songs, Lap 2 2010
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:07
No Image 2011 Eagle Rock
Essential [2011] 2011 EMI / EMI Gold 6:29
No Image
No Image
Various Artists
Smoke on the Water: The Best Of EMI
The Best Rock Anthems ...Ever!
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:06
The Deep Purple Collection [Magni] Magni 6:09
No Image
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Music 6:07
No Image EMI / Parlophone 6:43
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