“Jon Lord and Whitesnake fans must occasionally want to be introspective,” reckoned Deep Purple and Whitesnake founding member Jon Lord, “and I’d rather they did so with my music than Barry Manilow’s.” Lord was explaining the impetus for his third solo album, 1982’s Before I Forget. Cherry Red and Purple Records have recently reissued the composer-producer-keyboardist’s Before I Forget on CD in an expanded edition bringing together bonus tracks included on the 1999 and 2012 editions.
For the Harvest Records release of Before I Forget, Lord jettisoned orchestral pomp in favor of a leaner sound courtesy of a tight group of musicians including Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray (and future member Cozy Powell), Deep Purple’s Ian Paice, Bad Company’s Mick Ralphs, Boz Burrell, and Simon Kirke, and Tony Ashton of supergroup Paice Ashton Lord. Eight songs (both vocals and instrumentals) comprised the album, most in the relatively compact 4-5 minute range, with only “Bach Onto This” – an adaptation of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” famous for opening Walt Disney’s Fantasia – approaching the eight-minute mark. The concept was a relatively simple one, per Lord: Side A contained the “up” songs, and Side B contained the “down” ones, though he noted at the time that the entirety of the record “came out a little gentler than I expected.”
The resulting album showcased a softer side of the hard rock titans assembled by Lord, although there’s still plenty of recognizable rock and roll, especially on the album’s first side, from the crunchy sound of the opening “Chance on a Feeling” to the progressive sound of “Tender Babes” and the Bach adaptation. The second side’s ballads such as “Before I Forget,” “Where Are You?” and the gospel-flecked “Say It’s All Right” feature Lord at his most mellow and undeniably melodic. Armed with an arsenal of keyboards, Lord brought his expansive, widescreen orchestral sensibility even without the presence of an actual group.
Five bonus tracks have been added to Purple Records’ reissue. “Lady” and “For a Friend” both first appeared on the 1994 reissue, while the single edit of “Bach Onto This,” the meditative, classical-inspired outtake “Ravel’s Pavane” and “Going Home” (the bright and even danceable flipside of “Bach Onto This”) were all added to Before I Forget for a 2012 release. An interview appended to the 1994 disc has not been included. Andy Pearce has remastered all tracks for this reissue, while Neil Murray recalls his late friend Lord and the original album sessions via his warm liner notes.
Before I Forget may not have troubled Barry Manilow on the charts, but it did show off yet one more side of the virtuosic rock artist and composer. Purple Records’ new edition is available at the links below!
- Chance on a Feeling
- Tender Babes
- Hollywood Rock and Roll
- Bach Onto This
- Before I Forget
- Say It’s All Right
- Where Are You?
- Going Home (7-Inch B-Side) (Harvest 5220-B, 1982)
- Ravel’s Pavane (Outtake) (first released on Harvest SHSPX 4123, 2012)
- Bach Onto This (7-Inch Edit) (Harvest 5220-A, 1982)
- Lady (1994 Bonus Track) (first released on RPM 126, 1994)
- For a Friend (1994 Bonus Track) (first released on RPM 126, 1994)