"Smoke on the Water," Deep Purple's "fiery" hit based on the real events of 1971

What is the song behind the working title "Title #1"? In this article we will talk about the history of the creation of Deep Purple's main hit "Smoke on the Water".

Deep Purple song "Smoke on the Water": history, lyrics, interesting facts, influence

Speaking of hard rock, music connoisseurs and fans almost immediately recall a band with a mysterious name that goes back to color. The British band, whose name can be translated into Russian as "Deep Purple," have done much for the hard rock genre. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ingenious riffs, virtuoso percussion and keyboard parts... deep purple have become a unique collective that continues to delight fans with new material even now.

deep purple
deep purple

Burn", "Child in Time", "Highway Star", "Hush" and others have become classics heavy rock. They were inspired by many later generations of hard rock and heavy metal artists. What was it about Deep Purple's secret? This article is about the history of what is probably the band's greatest hit, the riff from which is said to be forbidden to play in record stores...

"Everybody contributed to the music. That helped us a lot," said guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

The fire that inspired the band's big hit

Diving into the multifaceted history of the band Deep Purple, it should be noted that at the time of writing the legendary song "Smoke on the Water"The British have already released five albums and gained worldwide fame. Few people expected anything more supernatural from the band. But still, they waited.

In 1971.In the early 1990s, Deep Purple had to interrupt their concert activity because of Ian Gillan's illness while touring in Great Britain and America. At that time the musicians decided to concentrate on studio work, tired of the numerous concerts that forced them to put a lot of work out. The band was faced with the question of choosing a location to focus their recording activities. Deep Purple took the advice of experienced rockers and decided to create an album far from their homeland. The point where the musicians went was Switzerlandpopular at the time thanks to the music festival Montreux Jazz Festival. Its irreplaceable director Claude Nobes was well acquainted with the musicians from Great Britain, so he was very pleased with the arrival of Deep Purple.

City of Montreux, Switzerland
City of Montreux, Switzerland

Festival in Montreux was held at the famous casino of the same name in the summer, and in the winter it could be used as a recording venue because it was closed for repairs. For a complete immersion in the atmosphere deep purple rented a traveling studio, which they created The Rolling Stones and used by many famous rockers of the '70s.

Frank Zappa and his band
Frank Zappa and his band

First Brits We wanted to do a few gigs in town and then go into the studio. But things didn't quite go according to plan. There was an accident at the casino in Montreux: during the band's performance The Mothers of Invention The listener fired a flare gun into the roof of the building, causing a massive fire.

Lead singer Frank Zappa: "Calm down, don't panic, we have a fire.

In the end, the place where Deep Purple was supposed to write their promising album, burned to the ground. The improvised rehearsal base was destroyed. The accident made the musicians quickly think about what to do next. And they decided to record at a small hotel on the outskirts of town.

Deep Purple Band
Deep Purple Band

What does "Smoke Over Water" have to do with it?

Song "Smoke on the Water" emerged practically from the ashes. When the fire broke out in the casino, the band members were in the hotel restaurant and witnessed the terrible event. "Smoke Over Water." - is the impression the musicians saw as they watched the scene unfold. The casino was engulfed in flames, accompanied by The wind blowing from the mountains. It formed a smokescreen over nearby Lake Geneva.

While Deep Purple was waiting to start recording the album and looking for space, the bassist Donald Glover suddenly said the iconic words that gave the song its name.

"I was lying in bed... alone. And suddenly I woke up. But before that there was some mystical moment: it was as if I heard my voice saying 'smoke on the water'... Did I really say it? I don't know, but I definitely thought I had. After thinking and thinking about that phrase for a while, I decided that it should definitely be the title of the song", Glover on the creation of the hit for the Machine Head album".

In the song itself, there are many references to what happened in casino fire. In fact, as Claude Nobes admitted, "Smoke on the Water" is very accurately Describes the history ofevery detail in the song is true. For example, the song begins with the lyrical hero's story of how he and his musician friends came to Montreuxto make the record. The text also mentions Frank Zappa and his group who suffered from the fire, and Claude himself, named "Funky Claude.". And the last verse recounts the recording of the song itself in the hotel.

Claude Nobes
Claude Nobes

Ian Gillan: "It was too bright in the hotel. We decided to dim the lights with red bulbs. Also, the acoustics were bad, so we improvised soundproofing with mattresses.

The song becomes a hit...

The famous riff that makes "Smoke on the Water" recognizable was invented by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

"There is a trace of the Renaissance in Smoke on the Water. The riff is done in quints and quints, these intervals were popular in the Middle Ages. That's why the melody is so dark and sinister, and most importantly, it doesn't sound like pop music," Ritchie admitted.

It was the last track on the Machine Head album, and was not released as a single until a year later, in 1973. The fact was that when the musicians performed it on their tour of Japan, they were astonished by the loud reaction of the audience. The result was. global success, recognition and status as "the band's most popular song. IN THE USSR The track was also loved because Deep Purple was one of the few rock bands you could listen to in the Soviet Union.

"They owe me money!" - Frank Zappa comments

Rock musician Frank Zappa repeatedly recalled the incident in Montreux. So, in an interview with Madhouse magazine, the artist talked about that unfortunate evening and his attitude to what happened.

Leader of The Mothers of Invention: "Something wild happened. But at least Deep Purple got a hit song. And I think I did a pretty good job of that.


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