Smoke On The Water

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"Smoke On The Water" is a popular hit song by British rock group Deep Purple, inspired by the fire in Montreux in December 1971.

"Deep Purple were originally all set to record the album at the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland. They were just awaiting a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert to be held before the recording could begin. But the Casino burnt down during the concert, after some stupid had fired a flare gun into the Casino's ceiling. (Purple were in the audience. The actual Zappa concert has turned up on one of the Beat the Boots discs, I think.")

"They ended up at the Grand Hotel, closed for the winter season, where the recording eventually commenced during December 1971. They recorded the album with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, also mentioned in the lyrics."

The song would not become a popular anthem until it appeared on a single in 1973.

In some versions of the song (including a remix included on the 25th anniversary edition of the album, as well as several live performances), Ian Gillan sings, "Break a leg, Frank," in the song's outro, a reference to the Rainbow Theatre Incident.

Lyrics

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn't have much time
Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Were at the best place around
But some stupid with a flare gun
Burned the place to the ground
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky

They burned down the gambling house
It died with an awful sound
Funky Claude was running in and out
Pulling kids out the ground
When it all was over
We had to find another place
But Swiss time was running out
It seemed that we would lose the race
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky

We ended up at the Grand Hotel
It was empty cold and bare
But with the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside
Making our music there
With a few red lights and a few old beds
We make a place to sweat
No matter what we get out of this
I know we'll never forget
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky


Zappa's reaction

In some interviews Zappa expressed his bitterness over the song's popularity, since it was inspired by such a tragic incident. Yet he quoted a few riffs from the song during a rendition of The Torture Never Stops during a concert in Brussels, Belgium on February 26, 1978.