The complete lyrics - all in good time
some = all / the effluxion of time

17 'Smoke on the Water'

(Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) from the Deep Purple album 'Machine Head'

We all came out to Montreux, to make an album; because the guys were keen to get a different sound. The Rolling Stones had a state of the art mobile recording studio built into a truck; so we rented it and had it set up alongside the Casino, which was a beautiful old wooden building.

(Funky) Claude Nobs; who was (and still is, as I write nearly thirty years later) the driving force behind entertainment in Montreux (records, films, the jazz festival and so on), had arranged for us to use the concert hall in the Casino to make our record, and we duly arrived and watched the last show of the season, the day before the Casino (and the town) closed down for the winter of '72.

Frank Zappa and the 'Mothers of Invention' were onstage and I was sitting in the audience marvelling at the Man and his music. I remember the exquisite harmonies of Flo and Eddie (Turtles) drifting away, as there was a disturbance. I didn't seem much at the time as some guy shot a flare gun from over my right shoulder. I saw two blobs of fire loop across the hall into the top corner.

Very quickly, the room caught fire and there was a danger of pandemonium as people started to panic. Frank stopped the band and took over, controlling the situation and talking almost everyone out safely.

A few kids had run back through the kitchen door and down a flight to nowhere. Claude Nobs, heroically, found the party and led them to safety.

No lives were lost; thanks to Frank and Claude and no thanks at all to the dickhead who started it.

We sat in the restaurant of the hotel 'Eden au Lac' and watched the flames racing into the sky, fed by the downdraught of the wind from the mountains. Later, as the inferno waned, we looked out across Lake Geneva and saw that it was covered with a layer of smoke.

Most of us who were there will agree on this version. However, like anything, it depends upon where you were standing at the time……….

Roger Glover and I have been writing partners since '65. He came up with the title. I thought he wrote it on a napkin that very moment but he says it was later on. Roger's memory being what it is, I'd say… doesn't really matter. What does matter though is the phrase…'Smoke on the Water'. Seems obvious doesn't it? But that's what you do as a writer; and Roger has never failed to be able to put pictures into words.

So, Claude helped us to make fresh arrangements and after one abortive attempt at another hotel we ended up at the Grand, and time was getting short.

We were also short of material. However, there was one track we hadn't worked on.

A brilliantly simple riff that Ritchie Blackmore had come up with.

Roger's title fitted well over the chorus and we wrote the narrative lyric, which tells the story (as much as you can in so many words) of the making of Machine Head (the album title was also Ritchie's idea btw).

Trivia: writers' credits are alphabetical.

Smoke on the Water

(Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice)

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 in town
When 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
Funky Claude was running in and out
Dragging kids out the ground

When it all was over
We had to find another place
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
And with the rolling truck stones thing just outside
We made our music there

With a few red lights and 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
A fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

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