Smoke on the Water (9:24)

Cover of Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple

From Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple and 416 other releases

Smoke on the Water is a song by the British hard rock band Deep Purple. It was first released on their 1972 album Machine Head.

This song is known for and recognizable by its central theme, a four-note “blues scale” melody harmonized in parallel fourths. The riff, played on a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar by Ritchie Blackmore, is later joined by hi-hat and distorted organ, then drums, then electric bass parts before the start of Ian Gillan’s vocal.

“ We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline

To make records with a mobile, we didn’t have much time

Jon Lord doubles the guitar part on a Hammond B3 organ played through a distorted Marshall amp, creating a tone very similar to that of the guitar. Blackmore uses two fingers to pluck[2] so the pairs of notes can be played exactly simultaneously, to match the organ’s timing more closely.

The song order is intro(riff)-verse-chorus-riff-verse-chorus-riff-solo-riff-verse-chorus-riff-solo. The first solo is performed on guitar by Ritchie Blackmore, and the second and final solo is performed on an organ by Jon Lord until the song fades out.

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).

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