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A separate entity from the Ian Gillan Band and distinct from Ian Gillan the solo artist, Gillan was a band bearing the ex-Deep Purple frontman's name which provided an outlet for his straight-ahead hard rock inclinations (as opposed to the prog rock tendencies of the Ian Gillan Band or Ian Gillan's more polished solo material of the 1990s). Gillan the singer put the band together in 1978, initially recruiting Steve Byrd (guitar), John McCoy (bass), Colin Towns (keyboards, ex-Ian Gillan Band), and Pete Barnacle (drums); this lineup proved short-lived, recording a self-titled Japanese-only album before disintegrating. Bernie Torme replaced Byrd, and Mick Underwood took over for Barnacle; this shift resulted in 1979's Mr. Universe, a surprise U.K. hit album. Further recordings followed in 1980's Glory Road and 1981's Future Shock and Double Trouble (the latter featuring one live record and one record of new studio material). Future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers replaced Torme in 1981, in time for 1982's Magic, which would be the final Gillan album before Ian Gillan joined Black Sabbath. Following his 1990 solo record Naked Thunder, Ian Gillan reassembled a version of Gillan with guitarist Steve Morris for the 1991 LP Toolbox; however, the more polished approach was at odds with the old band's lean, down-and-dirty hard rock. Live albums and rarities continued to appear throughout the '90s, as Ian Gillan returned to making solo records. ~ Steve Huey

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