The full story behind Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"

Originally published at: The full story behind Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" | Boing Boing


You mean it’s not about smoking a joint while on the water?


If you were around in 1972, you could hear this song 20 times a day, and it was very possible to change the station and it would on that one too. I can go to my grave not hearing it ever again.


A rushed, throwaway song becoming hugely popular seems to be something that happens more often than I’d have expected…


What’s to know, it’s all right there in the lyrics.

Although for years I thought “flare gun” was “flagon.”


the album, machine head, was one of the first records i ever bought. i got it while my family was visiting my mom’s sister in austin. the kids in the neighborhood were stoked because the radio stations in the austin market played the edited version of the song-- they cut out the guitar solo???–so i was the most popular 11 year old in the neighborhood that weekend and i ended up playing that song around 30 or 40 times. a few wanted to hear the whole album so there was that, too.

needless to say, i still have a speacial place in my heart for that album and that group.


People told stories a lot faster when YouTube had a 10 minute limit.


I heard this mostly on my own stereo when the album came out; I didn’t own a car until mid-1974. I didn’t like the radio version much. My system was really good sounding and detailed for the time and brought out the differences in the deep bass notes, sibilance of the cymbals and rasp of Ian Gillan’s vocals. Still an occasional favorite album for those times I want to rock out.

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Absolutely, plus Wikipedia has the gist. I love Rick Beato, but I don’t have the time to watch every one of his videos.

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The voice on the Mothers recording making a quip about “Arthur Brown” when the fire breaks out sounds like Mark Volman-- a.k.a. “Flo” from Flo & Eddie (from the best lineup of The Mothers in my opinion.)

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Back then, the Chicago stations almost always played the live version from Made in Japan: edited for the AM stations, the full cut for FM. Somewhere, buried, I still have the double LP, and it’s one of the few I’ve digitized.

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Bracketed by episodes of Chickenman.


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