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Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson and Jon Lord were planning Deep Purple orchestra tour

Bruce Dickinson performs at Celebrating Jon Lord at the Royal Albert Hall © REX/Shutterstock

Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and Jon Lord were planning an orchestra tour performing the songs of Deep Purple before the keyboardist’s untimely death in 2012.

Bruce lent his vocals to Jon Lord’s new studio version of ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’ in 2012, which also featured Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa and more, and was good friends with the Deep Purple legend.

He also performed Burn at the tribute concert Celebrating Jon Lord at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2014 alongside Glenn Hughes, Rick Wakeman, Ian Paice, Don Airey and Murray Gould.

During an 8th September spoken-word event at DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark to promote his autobiography ‘What Does This Button Do?’, Bruce was asked by an audience member about his relationship with Jon Lord.

Bruce said (via Blabbermouth): "Jon Lord was a wonderful gentleman, and we were close friends. And he sadly died of… He had pancreatic cancer, but he survived for a year and a half — much against what everybody had said would happen. And actually, at the end, he didn't die of pancreatic cancer — he died, unfortunately, of some terrible blood collapse that happened with him, possibly as a result of treatment.

“But we had all kinds of crazy plans, including me going out on tour with him, singing Deep Purple songs with an orchestra, which he was planning to do; that was one of the things we were planning to do. But it all got interrupted and cancelled, and (it was) obviously very sad. He was a wonderful man."

Asked if Iron Maiden would ever consider doing an orchestra concert like Deep Purple and Metallica, Bruce responded: "It's been tried a lot by all kinds of people, many of whom I respect, and, to be really honest with you, I don't think it works.

“I think it might work for the odd specific song — for example, 'Empire Of The Clouds', my thing, has kind of got orchestra all over it. But that's just one song, and that was written specifically with that kind of thing in mind. And I can see that working under certain circumstances, but that's only one song.

“And the problem with orchestras is what do you do with them when they're not in use? Which is actually quite a lot of songs, if they're gonna be really proper rock and roll-type songs."

Iron Maiden wrapped up the European leg of their Legacy of the Beast tour at London’s The O2 last month.

The 38-date run of shows saw Maiden perform to 750,000 fans at stadia, arenas and festivals across the continent. The setlist included rarities including ‘Flight of Icarus’, the Blaze Bayley-era tracks ‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign of the Cross’, and ‘For the Greater Good of God’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare’.

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