The Fire That Inspired ‘Smoke on The Water’

The Fire That Inspired ‘Smoke on The Water’


– [Narrator] In Switzerland,
on the coast of Lake Geneva,
sits the quiet town of Montreux.
– [Roger] It was a
place where people went
to retire to, lots of, lots of tea shops
and little old ladies kind of place.
– [Narrator] But on December 4, 1971,
a giant fire at the local
concert hall took hold,
eventually leading this man.
– [Roger] My name is Roger
Glover, I’m the bass player
of Deep Purple.
– [Narrator] To help write this song.
(rock instrumental music)
So let’s rewind a bit.
Deep Purple just arrived in Switzerland,
planning to record their
next album, Machine Head
at a local concert venue.
But they couldn’t start until Frank Zappa
and The Mothers of Invention finished
their show that afternoon.
– [Roger] Being big fans,
we went to the matinee show
and watched the Mothers
of Invention and Frank.
About an hour or so into the show,
someone had fired a flare
gun into the ceiling.
(gun shooting)
– [Narrator] The concert abruptly ended
and once everyone exited safely,
– [Roger] Within five
minutes, flames everywhere.
And it raged, it was just
a massive fire and went on,
in fact it went on through the night.
– [Narrator] The concert
hall was reduced to ashes.
Deep Purple eventually found new space
and feverishly recorded
their sixth studio album.
There was one problem, though.
– [Roger] We realized
we were a song short.
– [Narrator] So the band improvised.
And had an idea.
– [Roger] Why don’t we write
a song about what happened
to us here in Montreux.
The whole adventure of
trying to make a record
and the place burning down.
– [Narrator] Just then,
Roger remembered a vision
he had back in Montreux.
– [Roger] About a day
or two after the fire,
I woke up one morning with four words
that I’d apparently said out loud.
They seemed to be hanging in the room
as I opened my eyes.
(whispering)
And I kinda said to myself,
what did I just say?
Smoke on the water or something like that.
Smoke on the water.
Well that could be the story of the fire.
And so we sat down and
literally wrote the words to it
in probably about 15 minutes.
♫ We all came out to Montreux
♫ On the Lake Geneva shoreline
♫ But some stupid with a flare gun
♫ Burned the place to the ground
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky.
– [Narrator] The song became
a surprise hit for the band,
but also taught Roger a valuable lesson.
– [Roger] You’re at your best when you’re
not trying too hard.
I think you have more
fun when you don’t know
that anything’s gonna come of it.
(rock music)

40 thoughts on “The Fire That Inspired ‘Smoke on The Water’”

  1. The moment the song started playing with the lyrics I nearly burst out laughing.

    "But some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground."

  2. the most memorable song of a band always had to be the last minute with a littoe thought process making

  3. The Smoke On The Water Lyrics Read out like a police report !!!. (Except for for a great riff and three part harmony)

  4. Great to see this, especially cartoon John Lord with mustache and Ian Paice wearing his usual glasses 😉

  5. u mad GBS? no word about Ritchie Blackmore? without him this song would not be as good as it is now becouse THAT RIFF makes it soooo fucking special and not the fucking fire

  6. Guitar center employees are waiting for time travel to stop the fire so there wouldn’t be any Smoke on the Water

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