Yeah, Baby! Deep Purple Gets Shagadelic on Playboy After Dark

This is so bad it’s good. Or maybe, as the character played by Thora Birch deadpans in a memorable scene in Terry Zwigoff’s film Ghost World, “This is so bad it’s gone past good and back to bad again.”

In any case once it gets going you may find it hard to resist watching this clip from the September 23, 1968 episode of Hugh Hefner’s syndicated TV program Playboy After Dark. It looks like it came straight out of an Austin Powers movie. The show was choreographed to represent the hippest, grooviest cocktail party ever.

The musical guests that night were the British rock group Deep Purple, who had formed only nine months earlier and were still in their original lineup, which featured Rod Evans on vocals and Nick Simper on bass (both of whom left the band less than a year later) along with Jon Lord on organ, Richie Blackmore on guitar and Ian Paice on drums.

Looking debonair in his black tie and jacket, Hefner fakes interest in a brief guitar lesson from Blackmore before chatting awkwardly with Lord (who died last month) and asking the group to play their first hit, “Hush” (written and originally recorded by Joe South, who also died recently), which had just made it to the top five in the American pop charts around the time of the broadcast. Says Hef: “I think it would really groove the kids if you’d do that.”

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