It takes a special touch to master the Hammond B3 Organ. You can't just tinkle around on it. It has to be handled. A combination of force and timing. You have to know when to lay it down sweet like Greg Allman, or Benmont Tench from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. Or you have to pour it on like Steve Winwood or Al Kooper.
But John Lord used it as a sonic hammer. His sound was that of the Apocalypse. A tsunami of distortion, layers upon layers of screaming Lelsie Cabinets creating a tumbling wall of cinder blocks. Sometimes he would use it as percussion, pounding out short blasts of what sounded like a Jumbo Jet bouncing it's screeching tires on the runway. Lord would use his towering body to shake and tilt the mighty organ as if he were wrestling the sound from it. His classical training mixed with Blues, Jazz, and whatever drugs were around at the time helped create some galactic landscapes during Deep Purple's live performances.
He helped write one of the most recognized and Legendary Rock songs of all time, "Smoke On The Water", played keyboards on the Kinks, "You Really Got Me", and kept his love of Classical music alive after his retirement from his Rock endeavors. His influence could be seen and heard in the accolades he received after the news of his death at the hands of Pancreatic Cancer hit yesterday.
"[I was] very sad to hear of [former DEEP PURPLE keyboardist] Jon's [Lord] death, following his battle with the demon cancer. [He was] one of the great musicians of my generation." -Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath
"It was an absolute joy and pleasure for me to know him and to work alongside him. He is missed already."- David Coverdale, Whitesnake and former Deep Purple Vocalist
"[It's a] sad day in rock and roll; Jon Lord has passed on. One of the biggest, baddest, heaviest sounds in heavy metal. One if a kind."- Slash
"RIP the great Jon Lord, DEEP PURPLE's cornerstone/keyboardist. So many great, great songs and that incredible SOUND of his! Thank you."- Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine
Check out some of his work in this video at a Deep Purple Performance from 1973: