Deep Purple

Space Truckin'

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

Song Review by

"Space Truckin' " is four minutes and thirty one seconds of science fiction hard rock complementing the metal works branding of group name and album title on Machine Head's cover. Recorded in Switzerland during the December 6-21 sessions made famous in the song "Smoke On The Water", this is that song's counterpart, less ominous with more rapid intensity. The riff sounds like a snub at Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", more lively and energetic, the lyrics as senseless as those Ozzy Osbourne and company dished out. "We danced around with Borealice" could be a dig at labelmate Alice Cooper as "aurora borealis" has a distinctly different spelling, or maybe the band intentionally was aiming at an initial audience with lower i.q.'s - David Crosby and Joni Mitchell were hardly quivering that Ian Gillan and crew were going to best them anytime soon in prose and poetry contests. But like the aforementioned Black Sabbath, the lyrics were meant to be incidental. The power and the glory was in the thick sound generated by this exploding ensemble, who cares that "moonshot" and "Canaveral moonstops" were third grade rhymes at best, this was musicianship and volume over story telling - the grungy spaces in between those lyrics speaking volumes that the words could not define. "The fireball we rode was moving" referenced their previous lp, and chronicled the lengthy development of this creative quintet over a fuzz-laden set of chords and riffs, a superb comet ride to close out Deep Purple's most legendary hard rock studio album. That the album cover reflected the look which would grace filmmaker James Cameron's Terminator trademark more than a decade later only hints at the futuristic influence of "Space Truckin' ". It didn't need Top 40 airplay to find its way into the consciousness of music fans - with enough exposure on the FM band as well as interpretations in clubs by cover groups, it might as well have been an AM hit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Machine Head 1972 Warner Bros. / WEA 4:32
No Image 1972 Warner Bros.
When We Rock, We Rock & When We Roll, We Roll 1978 Warner Bros. 4:31
Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple 1980 Warner Bros. 4:35
No Image 1985 Harvest 4:33
Knocking at Your Back Door: The Best of Deep Purple in the 80's 1992 Mercury 5:39
No Image 1993 Crystal Cat
Sounds of the Seventies: FM Rock, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:35
No Image 1994 EMI Music Distribution 4:32
No Image 1994 Mercury 5:39
No Image 1995 Warner Bros. / Purple 4:31
No Image 1996 Jvc Victor
All Out Rock 1997
Various Artists
Essex 4:31
Shades 1968-1998 1999 Rhino 4:35
No Image 1999 WEA International 4:31
The Very Best of Deep Purple [Rhino] 2000 Warner Bros. / Rhino 4:34
Very Best of Deep Purple [WEA International] 2001 WEA International 4:35
Best of Deep Purple: Live & Stereo 2001 Intercontinental Records / Double Play Records 6:54
Gold 2003 EMI Music Distribution
Lords of Dogtown 2005
Original Soundtrack
Geffen 4:32
The Platinum Collection 2005 EMI Music Distribution 4:56
Rock Milestones: Made in Japan 2006 Classic Rock Legends
Essential [2011] 2011 EMI / EMI Gold 4:52
The Complete Albums 1970-1976 2013 Rhino / Warner Bros. / Warner Music 19:53
A Fire in the Sky 2017 Rhino / Warner Bros.
Smoke on the Water: The Best Of EMI