SMOKE ON THE WATER

She was in the lounge, playing her guitar and Old Spouse started to sing along to the song she was playing. We all came down the mountain…

She stopped.

OB: No Dad, it’s Montreux, not mountain.

OS: Really?

OB: Yes, it’s about something that really happened. Deep Purple were going to record an album, but the studio burned down the night before during a Frank Zappa concert.

OS: Hell, where do you come from?

She’s just growing up too quickly.

From Wikipedia, here’s what really happened:
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. During the gig, a fire broke out. In the middle of Don Preston’s synthesizer solo on “King Kong”, the place suddenly caught fire. Somebody in the audience had fired a flare gun into the ceiling, at which point the rattan covering started to burn, 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.
We all came out to Montereax,
On the Lake Geneva shoreline.
To make records with a mobile,
We didn’t have much time.
But 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 and 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 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 and 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 made a place to sweat.
No matter what we get out of this,
I know I know we’ll never forget.
Smoke on the water and fire in the sky.
Smoke on the water…

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9 thoughts on “SMOKE ON THE WATER

  1. Leave it to you, Cin. I never knew that story. I had to rush out and… erm… download a copy. Listening to it even as I type. Always loved that cut, but never knew the story.

    Even worse, I pride myself on actually listening to lyrics, but apparently I never did to that song.

    Great eye-opener.

  2. I caught the jist of it by just listening so many times.
    My nephew thought it was “born of a vulture and fire in the sky”.
    I guess that works 🙂 .
    Never was a big fan of Deep Purple but I do love Highway Star.

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