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> Smoke On The Water - History
Sinisa Cekic
post Jul 30 2011, 10:30 PM
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The lyrics of the song tell a true story: on 4 December 1971 Deep Purple had set up camp in Montreux, Switzerland to record an album using a mobile recording studio (rented from the Rolling Stones and known as the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio—referred to as the "Rolling truck Stones thing" and "the mobile" in the song lyrics) at the entertainment complex that was part of the Montreux Casino (referred to as "the gambling house" in the song lyric). On the eve of the recording session a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert was held in the casino's theatre. In the middle of Don Preston's synthesizer solo on "King Kong", the place suddenly caught fire when somebody in the audience fired a flare gun into the rattan covered ceiling, as mentioned in the "some stupid with a flare gun" line. The resulting fire destroyed the entire casino complex, along with all the Mothers' equipment. The "smoke on the water" that became the title of the song (credited to bass guitarist Roger Glover, who related how the title occurred to him when he suddenly woke from a dream a few days later) referred to the smoke from the fire spreading over Lake Geneva from the burning casino as the members of Deep Purple watched the fire from their hotel across the lake. The "Funky Claude" running in and out is referring to Claude Nobs, the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival who helped some of the audience escape the fire.

Left with an expensive mobile recording unit and no place to record, the band was forced to scout the town for another place to set up. One promising venue (found by Nobs) was a local theatre called The Pavilion, but soon after the band had loaded in and started working/recording, the nearby neighbours took offence at the noise, and the band was only able to lay down backing tracks for one song (based on Blackmore's riff and temporarily named Title n°1), before the local police shut them down.

Finally, after about a week of searching, the band rented the nearly-empty Montreux Grand Hotel and converted its hallways and stairwells into a makeshift recording studio, where they laid down most of the tracks for what would become their most commercially successful album, Machine Head.

Ironically, the only song from Machine Head not recorded in the Grand Hotel was "Smoke on the Water" itself, which had been recorded during the abortive Pavilion session. The lyrics of "Smoke on the Water" were composed later, and the vocals were recorded in the Grand Hotel.

The song is honoured in Montreux by a sculpture along the lake shore (right next to the statue of Queen front-man Freddie Mercury) with the band's name, the song title, and the riff in musical notes.

"Smoke on the Water" was included on Machine Head, which was released in early 1972, but was not released as a single until a year later, in May 1973. The band members have said that they did not expect the song to be a hit, but the single reached number 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the United States during the summer of 1973, number 2 on the Canadian RPM charts, and it propelled the album to the top 10. Live performance of the tune, featuring extended interplay between Blackmore's guitar and Jon Lord's Hammond organ would become a centerpiece of "Deep Purple's" live shows, and a version of the song from the live album Made in Japan became a minor hit on its own later on in 1973.

The principal song-writers included the song within their subsequent solo ventures after Deep Purple had split up. Ian Gillan in particular performed a jazz-influenced version in early solo concerts. The band Gillan adopted a feedback-soaked approach, courtesy of Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme. This song was also featured live by Ritchie Blackmore's post-"Deep Purple" band Rainbow during their tours 1981–83, and again after the Rainbow was resurrected briefly in the mid-1990s.

During Ian Gillan's stint with Black Sabbath in 1983, they performed "Smoke on the Water" as a regular repertoire number on encores during their only tour together. It remains one of the few cover songs that Black Sabbath has ever played live.

The song is popular among beginner guitarists, but Blackmore himself has demonstrated that most who attempt to play it do so improperly. Actually played using "all fourths" as specified by Blackmore (or double stops), a power chord-driven variation on the main recognizable riff is not difficult, and consequently it is constantly played by learners.
Wikipedia

Very interesting, right? smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 30 2011, 11:09 PM
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Hehe, I knew there was some truth to those lyrics but I never read the whole story smile.gif thank you Sinisa biggrin.gif


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Gitarrero
post Jul 31 2011, 10:48 AM
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Haha, I knwe the story because we play that song in my band...and everytime I start out the riff (alone), the lead guitarist will tell the story and I will play the riff for what feels like 5 minutes while he is just talking laugh.gif until I finally say "shut up and play" (which is a reference to a great german band called "Die Aerzte", and their members use to talk a lot on stage between songs untill the audience will scream "shut up and play" wink.gif )...

Christian


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 31 2011, 10:58 AM
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That is an awesome story, important piece of rock history! smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Aug 2 2011, 01:01 PM
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very cool story. I didn't know it was true!


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JamesT
post Aug 2 2011, 08:18 PM
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Very cool story. I sort of knew that the lyrics were based on actually happenings, but did not know so closely.

What did Blackmore mean by "Actually played using "all fourths" "?

I always used to play basic power chords for this song.


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MonkeyDAthos
post Aug 4 2011, 04:08 PM
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well Jamest i play this song like this


E--------------------------
B--------------------------
g--------------(A#)--- (C ) etcetc..
d--------(G)---(F)-----(G)
a--------(D)-------------
e-

that's what he mean by playing all fourths me thinks.

This post has been edited by MonkeyDAthos: Aug 4 2011, 04:08 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 4 2011, 10:09 PM
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yeah! I knew this story,,, the story is really cool and the main riff is the definition of ROCK! biggrin.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Aug 4 2011, 11:55 PM
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QUOTE (JamesT @ Aug 2 2011, 09:18 PM) *
Very cool story. I sort of knew that the lyrics were based on actually happenings, but did not know so closely.

What did Blackmore mean by "Actually played using "all fourths" "?

I always used to play basic power chords for this song.


I think he meant on THIS !




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Todd Simpson
post Aug 5 2011, 12:12 AM
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Very cool story. smile.gif I had no idea actually. That one lick remains priceless smile.gif part of it's charm is that it's a right of passage for so many guitar players around the world. I've had students play me that riff as an example of their musicianship and then tell me they had no idea what it was, just that it was simple to learn and they liked it. Usually, they learned it from an older brother or uncle or cousin who also played. so even without the band, the name, the lyrics, anything, the simple beauty of the riff finds it way forward. Now that is immortality.


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