ESTAPONA, Spain (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Veteran manager John Coletta, 75, who discovered and developed rock groups such as Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and David Coverdale's Whitesnake, died on July 10 at his home in Estapona, Costa Del Sol.
Coletta created Purple Records, of which he was president, Purple Music Publishing and HEC Management. He was also the first to meld rock and classical music together and paired Deep Purple with opera singers and orchestras; Deep Purple performed with the Royal Philharmonic, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Deep Purple were asked to tour with the London Symphony Orchestra; the BBC commissioned them to write a special classical/rock composition to be performed at the Royal Festival Hall, entitled ‘Gemini Suite’.
Coletta was also the creative force behind Deep Purple’s Roger Glover writing the music for the Butterfly Ball, a concert performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the Action Research for the Crippled Child and the Bud Flannegan Leukemia Fund. The production included a 100-piece orchestra and a host of rock stars performing. A live recording and film were produced of the event. Coletta was also instrumental in matching Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan with Yvonne Elliman for the leads in the original version of Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera.
— Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner