DEEP Purple legend Ian Gillan will join thousands of guitarists at the next Guitars on the Beach event in Lyme Regis.
The band’s famous front man will sing the rock classic “Smoke on the Water”, as thousands of guitarists play along on the Lyme Regis beach on September 6 and 7 this year.
The superstar singer will take a break from Deep Purple’s world tour to take part, with organisers hoping to exceed the 2,267 guitarists that performed at last year’s record-breaking event.
Organisers have also revealed that the icon contacted them to appear at the gig, and sent them a letter saying: “I hear you might be doing “Smoke” with the massed guitars and if that is the case I thought I’d offer my services if you need a singer.”
Geoff Baker, who has organised the event, said: “My jaw hit the floor.
“This is sensational news. Ian’s involvement will take Guitars on the Beach to an entirely different level. Everybody involved is thrilled and blown away by his hugely-generous offer.”
Mr Baker said that more than 3,000 guitarists had already signed up for this year’s event, with a bigger and better set to accommodate all abilities of guitar players.
Guitar music will take centre stage at the all-day gig, with 20 local bands performing throughout the day.
Guitarists will be given the chance to play along to all the songs, with the three main songs being Buddy Holly’s Rave On, the Status Quo classic Rocking All Over the World and Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water.
But now, Mr Baker said that the news of the inclusion of Ian Gillan, who also lives in the West Dorset seaside resort, would be the highlight of the day.
He said: “Clearly Smoke On The Water will now be the main event for many.
“It’s the classic guitar riff and not difficult to play. Massed guitar bands in America, Germany, Canada and Poland have all had a crack at the world record playing “Smoke” – but none of them has ever been led by Ian Gillan before. “This is going to be amazing, and many more people will now want to take part.
"It’s quite something to write home about, that you once played with Ian Gillan in a band with thousands of guitarists.
“Smoke On The Water was recently voted the greatest guitar riff ever written, it is universally popular and it is anybody’s guess how many will join the band now."
Mr Baker added: “Now that Ian’s onboard, we may need a bigger beach.”
For more information on the event or to sign up, visit guitarsonthebeach.co.uk