Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Burn” — Deep Purple (1974)

The sky is red, I don’t understand
Past midnight I still see the land
People are sayin’ the woman is damned
She makes you burn with a wave of her hand
The city’s a blaze, the town’s on fire
The woman’s flames are reaching higher
We were fools, we called her liar
All I hear is “Burn!”

Yup, we start off every year with a big barnstormer rock song, but since we decided to honor Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary on October 1st, we held off until today.

And man oh man, you want a barnstormer rock song? They don’t come much barnstormy than Deep Purple’s Burn.

There’s something about hard rock/metal and burning witches. We previously showcased Metallica’s cover of Diamond Head’s Am I Evil? and we’re going to keep tap dancing on that milieu for a bit here. DP’s Burn goes down a different road though; instead of a son hunting down his mother’s executioners, here we have what seems to be townspeople burning the so-called witch and then having the nerve to act surprised when their entire village goes up in flames as well.

Ahh poetic justice! Isn’t it great when it’s so damn… poetic? Something.

Anyway, as far as the song goes, Burn (and the entire album named after it) is an absolute stone classic. This is the debut of a young David Coverdale singing for Purple, who would of course go on to form Whitesnake and spend half the 80s cavorting salaciously on the hood of a Jaguar with the late great Tawny Kitaen. He of course completely knocks it out of the park here with an incredible vocal performance, featuring an assist from the amazing Glenn Hughes on bass and singing lead on the bridge.

Plus, you know, the usual bravura performances from Ritchie Blackmore, John Lord, and Ian Paice, who pretty much helped define the vocabulary of hard rock and metal starting in the late 60s/early 70s.

So… Burn. Few things are more Halloween then witches burning, and even fewer things are more satisfying then a bunch of self-righteous do-gooders who, after torturing and slaughtering victims in the name of their god, end up on the business end of a wickedly pointed vengeance curse.

Warning came, no one cared
Earth was shakin, we stood and stared
When it came no one was spared
Still I hear “Burn!”

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