Jon Lord of Deep Purple would have turned 72 Sunday, born June 9, 1941 in Leceister, England.

The music world mourned the loss of a great talent when Lord died last July of a pulmonary embolism (he was suffering from pancreatic cancer).

Lord was of course considered a true pioneer for fusing rock with classical music.

He co-founded Deep Purple in 1968, and retired from the band in 2002.

Where would classic rock be without Lord?

An article in the National Turk summed it up well:

Every kid who gets a guitar quickly learns to bat out the guitar riffs of ‘ Smoke on the Water".  But listeners should be just as aware of the fat, satisfying chords of Jon Lord’s organ, a force which gave Blackmore’s iconic chords their ideal answer.

No, I'm not sure why he's holding a guitar instead of sitting at his keyboard in the photo, but clearly he isn't playing it since he has a pick confused with a pen. :-D

(Yes, yes, I know he's probably writing music). lol