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"The Mule"
Song by Deep Purple

from the album Fireball

Released July 1971
Recorded January 1971
Olympic Studios in London
Genre Hard rock
Length 5:21
Label EMI (UK)
Warner Bros. Records (US)
Writer Ian Gillan
Ritchie Blackmore
Roger Glover
Jon Lord
Ian Paice
Producer Deep Purple
Fireball track listing
"Anyone's Daughter"
"The Mule"

"The Mule" is a song by British hard rock band Deep Purple, and was originally released on their 1971 album Fireball. The song became famous for its live performance, which would always feature a drum solo by Ian Paice. This drum solo was not included on the album, as the first half of Paice's drum tracks were accidentally erased during the recording of the song.

Studio version

The song opens with the sound of a tambourine being shook quickly. This lasts for the first 10 seconds, before guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist Jon Lord, and Paice begin playing the song. The opening guitar riff is resemblant of a fanfare, lasts for the first minute of the song. Soon, vocalist Ian Gillan begins singing about the "Mule" ("Just another slave for the Mule"). The last 3 and a half minutes are instrumental, consisting of solos by Blackmore and Lord.

On the live album and DVD Live in Concert 1972/73, Gillan introduces the song by saying "we've based this on a thing that little Ian does on the's all about Lucifer and some of his friends, most of whom are sitting around here somewhere tonight."

Live performances

"The Mule" was played by Deep Purple during their 1971 and 1972 tours, and was recorded live for the Made in Japan album in August 1972. During this live performance, and most others, Paice played a 6 minute drum solo. On the recording heard on Made in Japan, Gillan starts the song by saying:

"Alright...everything up here...please. And a bit more monitor if ya got it. [guitar noise] "Ah?" [echoing kettle drum] Ritchie Blackmore can faintly be heard saying "You want everything louder than everything else?" then Gillan saying "Yeah, can I have everything louder than everything else...alright...ha ha"

And ends it with:

"Ian Paice on drums! YES!"

The opening guitar riff is repeated at the end of the song. Though the song was never played live between 1973 and 1976 , Blackmore played the song's guitar riff after Paice's drum solo, which was moved to "You Fool No One". A snippet of the song appears in a improvisation on the album Live in Europe 1993.




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