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Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water - 1971)

Roger Glover, Deep Purple bassist, talks about the fire that inspired the all-time hit 'Smoke on the Water'...

The Story of "Smoke on the Water" - Deep Purple (1971)

Today we're going to talk about creating the biggest classic rock hit of the early 70s. How did the legendary Deep Purple record their biggest hit? Who gave them the idea. And who had the idea to tie all these strange things together? The story of Deep Purple's song - Smoke on the water.

deep purple 1969
Deep Purple 1969

Foreword...

A new video has surfaced online in which Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover talks about the fire that inspired the hit of all time. "Smoke on the Water".

How was the main hit of the group - Smoke over the water - created?

In Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, is the quiet town of Montreux. At that time, it was a place where retired people used to go, many, many tea shops and little old ladies like on every corner.

But on December 4, 1971, a giant fire in the local concert hall interrupted the serene life and ... glorified this man - Roger Glover (bassist of Deep Purple): the fire gave Glover the idea to help write this song - Smoke on the Water.

How did it happen...

Deep Purple just arrived in Switzerland, they planned to record them
next album "Machine Head" at the local concert hall. But they couldn't start until Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention finished their show that day.

The smoke above the water was inspired by the fire at Frank Zappa's...

Fire in the concert hall at THE MONTREUX CASINO. Frank Zappa. Concert in Montreux 1971
Fire in the concert hall at THE MONTREUX CASINO. Frank Zappa. Concert in Montreux 1971
Fire in the concert hall at THE MONTREUX CASINO. Frank Zappa. Concert in Montreux 1971
Fire in the concert hall at THE MONTREUX CASINO. Frank Zappa. Concert in Montreux 1971

Roger Glover: “Being big fans, we went to the matinee and watched the Mothers of Invention and Frank. About an hour or so later, someone fired a flare gun at the ceiling."

The concert ended abruptly and as soon as everyone left safely. Within five minutes, flames were everywhere. It was just a big fire, and it actually went on all night.

Short album "Machine Head"

The concert hall turned to ashes. Deep Purple eventually found a new recording space and feverishly recorded their sixth studio album.

Although there was one problem. The album turned out to be short... And then the band thought, why don't we write a song about what happened to us to see here in Montreux.

Roger Glover's idea

It was then that Roger remembered a vision of him returning to Montreux.

About a day or two after the fire, I woke up one morning with four words that I apparently said out loud. They seemed to hang in the room as I opened my eyes. And I kind of said to myself: what did I just say? “Smoke on the water or something like that. Smoke on the water. Well, it could be a story of fire."

Smoke on the water – Deep Purple
Smoke on the water – Deep Purple

And so we sat down and literally wrote the words to it in probably about 15 minutes. The song became an unexpected hit for the group. This incident taught Roger a valuable lesson.

"You are at your best when you are relaxed and don't try too hard to come up with a hit, you just do it", - he said. “I think when you don’t know what can come out of it in the end, it’s always fun.”

Roger Glover tells the story in more detail in the video…

 

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