Metallica entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, the second year they were eligible and first year they were nominated. Nirvana are entering the Hall this year, the first year they have been eligible, a decision Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich supports, but he still has some hopes for one artist who has been eligible for two decades now. “I’m not gonna get into the politics or all that stuff, but I got two words to say: ‘Deep Purple,'” he tells Rolling Stone – repeatedly. “That’s all I have to say: Deep Purple. Seriously, people, ‘Deep Purple,’ two simple words in the English language. But definitely, Nirvana is a no-brainer for the first year and I’m glad that Kiss is getting the long-overdue recognition that they deserved for everything that they pioneered, and then I got two words, ‘Deep Purple!’ Did I say that already?”
Hard-rock legends Deep Purple issued their debut, Shades of Deep Purple, in 1968, which made them eligible for entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. The band has been nominated for induction into the Rock Hall twice, in 2013 and 2014, but, much to Ulrich’s chagrin, have yet to make the cut.
Metallica paid homage to Deep Purple when they recorded the song “When a Blind Man Cries” for the tribute album Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head, which came out in 2012. More recently, they covered songs by a group associated with Deep Purple – Rainbow – which guitarist Ritchie Blackmore founded after he left that band. Rainbow featured vocalist Ronnie James Dio, previously the singer of Elf, and with Dio on vocals the group recorded three studio albums. Metallica recorded a nine-minute medley of Rainbow songs for the comp Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life.
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In an interview with Rolling Stone about the comp, Ulrich described how Blackmore’s riffs in Rainbow have inspired Metallica. “If you listen to the riff in ‘A Light in the Black,’ that’s fairly fast down-picking,” he said. “If you listen to ‘Kill the King,’ that’s not entirely dissimilar to certain Metallica things. Certainly those correlations aren’t that radical, but it ultimately inspires us to play music and live and breathe every day.”