Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deep Purple--Smoke On The Water (1973)

     It seems as if since 1973, every boy or girl who picked up a guitar is drawn to that riff as if they have no choice. I can't vouch for the reason why, but just like playing "Chopsticks" seems to be natural for a young piano player, the opening guitar line to, "Smoke On The Water" is to young axe players. Whereas it sounds cute coming from a 9 year old, the same riff becomes menacing in the hands of Ritchie Blackmore.  (might have something to do with the Marshall amps being turned up to 11 as well..) Along with "Stairway to Heaven", the song became one of the icons for 70's hard rock.
     The story behind the song came from an incident on December 4th of 1971. The Rolling Stones had invested in a mobile recording truck which could be driven to the artist rather than the artist to the studio. The truck was driven to Switzerland to meet the band at the Montreux Casino to begin recording a new album.
     Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing in the ballroom of the casino that night, when someone with a flaregun shot a flare into the ceiling. It quickly caught fire, as did the entire casino complex. The words "Smoke on the Water" came from bass player, Roger Glover as an apt description of that scene on the banks of Lake Geneva. With the place they were going to record destroyed, they spent the next couple of weeks unsuccessfully looking for a place to record. They finally found the Montreux Grand Hotel, which they rent a part of, converted  it into a studio and recorded their most successful album, "Machine Head".
     This recording was from California Jam in the spring of 1974.... 


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