Masterpiece of Hard Rock

My soft spot for hard rock was fueled by a song that became one of the most famous in the world. Even today, electric guitar beginners like to start with the riffs from this song, because they are relatively easy to learn.

One or the other will already guess which song it is. The location is Lake Geneva, although the band is from the United Kingdom. In the USA it is said to be the second most famous song after "The Star Spangeled Banner", the American national anthem.

Of course, the song in question is "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple.


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

A fire in the sky

Smoke on the water

They burned down the gambling house

It died with an awful sound

Uh, Funky Claude was running in and out

Pulling kids on 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

A fire in the sky

Smoke on the water

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, a few old beds

We make a place to sweat

No matter what we get out of this

Ha, I know, I know we'll never forget

Smoke on the water

A fire in the sky

Smoke on the water

In 1971 the band wanted to record a new album (Machine Head) in Montreux and rented a mobile recording studio from the Rolling Stones, which they wanted to set up in Montreux in a building of the local casino.

At the same time the Montreux Jazz Festival was going on. On one evening "Frank Zappa" performed there. The following events are described in the lyrics of "Smoke on the Water".

During Frank Zappa's performance, a fan allegedly fired a flare gun and the concert hall burned down completely. Claude Nops, the promoter, appears in the song as "Funky Claude." The title refers to the billows of smoke that spread over Lake Geneva.

Deep Purple now needed a new place to set up their studio. They chose the "Pavillion" theater, but the residents weren't too keen on the noise, so they moved to the then empty "Grand Hotel Montreux".

There the legendary song was created, which has been covered countless times.

I myself heard the song first on the double LP "Made in Japan", which was released in December 1972, the same year as the "studio album" "Machine Head" and consists essentially of the songs of "Machine Head".

The fate wanted it probably in such a way that I was allowed to make in the 2000's with the virtuoso guitarist of "Deep Purple", a cooperation with the WWF. Ritchie and his wife Candice toured this year with their medieval music show "Blackmores Night" on German festivals and castles. One euro of every ticket and every CD sold in Germany went to the World Wide Fund for Nature. The "audience" in the royal tent of Ritchie and Candice, was an experience of its very own kind.

Below you will find a selection of the versions as YouTube videos.

Have fun your Blaufuchs

Live Version with a short Interview of Ritchie as Prolog

For me, one of the best covers...1989 for Rock Aid Armenia

And for those who don't know Blackmores Night:

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