Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple

THIS DAY IN THE MUSIC………………………………………on May 26th of 1973 Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” is released. The song is based on the true story of how someone had fired a flare gun into the ceiling of the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, during a concert by Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention. The resulting fire destroyed the building where Deep Purple was set to record a live album the next day. The single will reach #5 in the US and #21 in the UK. Deep Purple was in the audience for the show, and lead singer Ian Gillan recalls two flares being shot by someone sitting behind him which landed in the top corner of the building and quickly set it ablaze. Zappa stopped the show and helped ensure an orderly exit. Deep Purple watched the blaze from a nearby restaurant, and when the fire died down, a layer of smoke had covered Lake Geneva, which the casino overlooked. This image gave bass player Roger Glover the idea for a song title: “Smoke On The Water,” and Gillan wrote the lyric about their saga recording the Machine Head album. The band was relocated to the Grand Hotel in Montreux, where they recorded the album using the Rolling Stones mobile studio. They needed one more song, so they put together “Smoke On The Water” using Gillan’s lyric and riff the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore came up with. The result was a song telling the story of these strange events just days after they happened – the recording sessions took place from December 6-21.  Deep Purple bass player Roger Glover had some doubts about the title: he knew it was great but was reluctant to use it because it sounded like a drug song. The band did not think this would be a hit and rarely played it live. It took off when they released it as a US single over a year after the album came out.