Who Do We Think We Are

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Who Do We Think We Are
DeepPurple WhoDoWeThinkWeAre.jpg
US cover
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 1973
RecordedJuly 1972 in Rome, Italy and October 1972 in Frankfurt, West Germany, with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio
GenreHard rock, blues rock[1]
ProducerDeep Purple
Deep Purple chronology
Machine Head
Who Do We Think We Are
Singles from Who Do We Think We Are
  1. "Woman from Tokyo" / "Black Night (live)"
    Released: 1973
  2. "Super Trouper" / "Blood Sucker"
    Released: 1973 (Europe only)

Who Do We Think We Are is the seventh studio album by the English hard rock band Deep Purple, released in 1973. It was Deep Purple's last album with singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover until 1984’s Perfect Strangers.

Musically, the record showed a move to a more blues based sound,[1] even featuring scat singing.[2] Although its production and the band's behavior after its release showed the group in turmoil, with frontman Gillan remarking that "we'd all had major illnesses" and felt considerable fatigue, the album was a commercial success. Deep Purple became the US's top selling artist of calendar year 1973.[1] The album also featured the energetic hard rock single "Woman from Tokyo", which has been performed on several tours by the band over the years.


Who Do We Think We Are was recorded in Rome in July 1972 and Walldorf near Frankfurt in October 1972, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.

"Woman from Tokyo", the first track recorded in July, is about touring Japan for the first time (e.g. the lyric "Fly into the Rising Sun"). The only other track released from the Rome sessions is the outtake "Painted Horse". The rest were recorded in Frankfurt after more touring (including Japan, which yielded Made in Japan). The group, riven with internal strife, struggled to come up with tracks that they agreed upon. Members were not speaking to each other and many songs were finished only after schedules were arranged so they could record parts separately.

Of "Mary Long", Gillan said: "Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford were particularly high-profile figures at the time, with very waggy-waggy finger attitudes… It was about the standards of the older generation, the whole moral framework, intellectual vandalism – all of the things that exist throughout the generations… Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford became one person, fusing together to represent the hypocrisy that I saw at the time."[3]

Ian Gillan left the band following this album, citing internal tensions – widely thought to include a feud with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. However, in an interview supporting the Mark II Purple comeback album Perfect Strangers, Gillan stated that fatigue and management had a lot to do with it:

We had just come off 18 months of touring, and we'd all had major illnesses at one time or another. Looking back, if they'd have been decent managers, they would have said, 'All right, stop. I want you to all go on three months' holiday. I don't even want you to pick up an instrument.' But instead they pushed us to complete the album on time. We should have stopped. I think if we did, Deep Purple would have still been around to this day.[1][4]

Added Jerry Bloom, editor of the book More Black than Purple:

At this point, Deep Purple had become hugely successful. Success breeds demand, demand breeds more work, more work means you’re spending more time together. Generally, when you spend more time together, you get on each other’s nerves.[5]

The last Mark II concert in the 1970s before Gillan and Glover left was in Osaka, Japan on 29 June 1973.[1]

Album title and artwork[edit]

The original album artwork has many quoted articles from newspapers. One of them is from magazine Melody Maker of July 1972, where drummer Ian Paice remarks:

Deep Purple get piles of passionate letters either violently against or pro the group. The angry ones generally start off "Who do Deep Purple think they are..."

Another clipping simply has the Paice quote "I bought it so i'll bloody well boot it", which was his reply to an angry letter admonishing the drummer for kicking over his drum kit at the end of a live performance on the television show South Bank Pops from 1970.

On the back cover of earlier pressings, the opening track is listed as "WOMAN FROM TOKAYO."


Despite the chaotic birth of the album, "Woman from Tokyo" was a hit single and other songs picked up considerable airplay. Fans bought the album in record numbers. In the US, for example, it sold half a million copies in its first three months, achieving a gold record award faster than any Deep Purple album released up to that time.[1]

It hit number 4 in the UK charts[6] and number 15 in the US charts.[7] These numbers helped make Deep Purple the best selling artist in the U.S. in 1973 (with the release of Made in Japan and the prior acclaim for Machine Head helping much as well).

In 2000 Who Do We Think We Are was remastered and re-released with bonus tracks. The last bonus track is a lengthy instrumental jam called "First Day Jam", that features Ritchie Blackmore on bass. Roger Glover, the group's usual bassist, was absent, allegedly lost in traffic.

In 2005 Audio Fidelity released their own re-mastering of the album on 24 karat Gold CD.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
The Daily VaultA-[8]

The album received mixed reviews. Ann Cheauvy of Rolling Stone reviewed the album negatively and comparing Who Do We Think We Are to Deep Purple's breakthrough album In Rock wrote that the former "sounds so damn tired in spots that it's downright disconcerting" and "the band seems to just barely summon up enough energy to lay down the rhythm track, much less improvise."[9] In a retrospective critical review, Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic expresses the same opinion and writes that apart from "Woman from Tokyo", the album's songs are "wildly inconsistent and find the band simply going through the motions", although he does praise "Rat Bat Blue".[2] On the contrary, reviewer David Bowling writes in the Blogcritics site that Who Do We Think We Are "is one of the band’s strongest and stands near the top of the Deep Purple catalogue in terms of quality" providing "some of the best hard rock of the era".[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

Side one
1."Woman from Tokyo"5:48
2."Mary Long"4:23
3."Super Trouper"2:54
4."Smooth Dancer"4:08
Side two
1."Rat Bat Blue"5:23
2."Place in Line"6:29
3."Our Lady"5:12
2000 Remastered CD Edition bonus tracks
8."Woman from Tokyo" ('99 Remix)6:37
9."Woman from Tokyo" (Alternate bridge)1:24
10."Painted Horse" (studio out-take)5:19
11."Our Lady" ('99 Remix)6:05
12."Rat Bat Blue" (writing session)0:57
13."Rat Bat Blue" ('99 Remix)5:49
14."First Day Jam" (instrumental)11:31


Deep Purple
Additional personnel
  • Produced by Deep Purple
  • Martin Birch – engineer
  • Jeremy Gee, Nick Watterton – Rolling Stones Mobile Unit operators
  • Ian Paice and Roger Glover – mixing
  • Ian Hansford, Rob Cooksey, Colin Hart, Ron Quinton – equipment
  • Roger Glover and John Coletta – cover design
  • Peter Denenberg with Roger Glover – bonus tracks remixing (2000 edition)
  • Peter Mew – remastering (original album tracks) and mastering (bonus tracks) at Abbey Road Studios, London (2000 edition)



Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1973 Gold (+ 500,000)[26]
France SNEP 1977 Gold (+ 100,000)[27]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stan Cornyn. "Stay Tuned By Stan Cornyn: Loudest Purple". Rhino.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  3. ^ Jeffries, Neil: "The stories behind the songs"; Classic Rock #138, November 2009, p34
  4. ^ Deep Purple: The Interview. Interview picture disc, 1984, Mercury Records.
  5. ^ "Deep Purple - A Critical Retrospective/Rock Review". Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Deep Purple Official Charts". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Deep Purple Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  8. ^ Bowling, David (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Who Do We Think We Are". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ Cheauvy, Ann (12 April 1973). "Deep Purple: Who Do We Think We Are". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  10. ^ Bowling, David (30 November 2011). "Music Review: Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are". Blogcritics. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are (album)". Norwegiancharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Danske Hitliter: Who Do We Think We Are - Deep Purple" (in Danish). Royal Library, Denmark. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 26 May 1973". poparchives.com.au.
  14. ^ "Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are". Austriancharts.at (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Gli album più venduti del 1973" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia.it. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Album – Deep Purple, Who Do We Think We Are". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are". Dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 19, No. 8, April 07, 1973". Library and Archives Canada. 7 April 1973. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  19. ^ AA.VV. (1990). Oricon Chart Book 1970-1989 (オリコンチャートブック〈LP編) (1 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: Oricon. p. 205. ISBN 978-4871310253.
  20. ^ "Deep Purple - Woman from Tokyo". Dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Single – Deep Purple, Woman from Tokyo". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Deep Purple - Woman from Tokyo". Ultratop.be (Flanders) (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  23. ^ "infodisc.fr Note : You must select Deep Purple". infodisc.fr. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Deep Purple Chart History: The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 19, No. 13, May 12, 1973". Library and Archives Canada. 12 May 1973. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  26. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Deep Purple". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973 : search for Deep Purple" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 26 February 2017.