Smoke On The Water

Album: Machine Head (1972)
Charted: 21 4


  • This song took inspiration from a fire in the Casino at Montreux, Switzerland on December 4, 1971. The band was going to start recording their Machine Head album there right after a Frank Zappa concert, but someone fired a flare gun at the ceiling during Zappa's show, which set the place on fire.

    Deep Purple was in the audience for the show, and lead singer Ian Gillan recalls two flares being shot by someone sitting behind him that landed in the top corner of the building and quickly set it ablaze. Zappa stopped the show and helped ensure an orderly exit.

    Deep Purple watched the blaze from a nearby restaurant, and when the fire died down, a layer of smoke had covered Lake Geneva, which the casino overlooked. This image gave bass player Roger Glover the idea for a song title: "Smoke On The Water," and Gillan wrote the lyric about their saga recording the Machine Head album.

    The band was relocated to the Grand Hotel in Montreux, where they recorded the album using the Rolling Stones' mobile studio. They needed one more song, so they put together "Smoke On The Water" using Gillan's lyric and the riff guitarist Ritchie Blackmore came up with. The result was a song telling the story of these strange events just days after they happened - the recording sessions took place from December 6-21.

    In a Songfacts interview with Gillan, he explained: "We set the gear up in the hallways and the corridors of the hotel, and the Rolling Stones' mobile truck was out back with very long cables coming up through the windows. We tried to re-create an atmosphere in a technical sense the best we could. And when we went to write the lyrics, because we were short on material, we thought it was an 'add-on track.' It was just a last-minute panic.

    So, the riff and backing track had been recorded on the first day as a kind of soundcheck. There were no lyrics. The engineer told us on the last day, 'Man, we're several minutes short for an album.' So, we dug it out, and Roger and I wrote a biographical account of the making of the record: 'We all came out to Montreux...'"

    The session where they put down the backing track took place at a dance club in Montreux called the Pavilion, where they tried to record after the casino burned down. The "Smoke On The Water" track was all they accomplished there because locals complained about the noise and police shut them down. The rest of the album, and the "Smoke On The Water" vocal, was recorded at the Grand Hotel.
  • Frank Zappa, who is mentioned in the lyrics, lost all his equipment in the fire. He then broke his leg a few days later when a fan pulled him into the crowd at a show in England. This prompted Ian Gillan to say "Break a leg, Frank," into the microphone after recording this for a BBC special in 1972.
  • Deep Purple bass player Roger Glover had some doubts about the title: he knew it was great but was reluctant to use it because it sounded like a drug song.
  • Ritchie Blackmore has an affinity for renaissance music, which he writes and performs in his duo Blackmore's Night. He says that he first took an interest in the form in 1971 when he saw a BBC program called Wives of Henry VIII, and that there is indeed a trace of Renaissance in "Smoke On The Water." "The riff is done in fourths and fifths - a medieval modal scale," he explained on MySpace Music. "It makes it appear more dark and foreboding. Not like today's pop music thirds."
  • The band did not think this would be a hit and rarely played it live. When they did, though, it got a huge reaction. They included a live version from a show in Osaka on their 1972 live album Made In Japan, which was a huge seller. The album was released in America in April 1973, over a year after Machine Head was released there. This earned the song a lot more exposure and convinced Deep Purple's people to release it as a single in America in May. The song didn't peak at #4 in the US until July 28, 1973; by this time, Deep Purple had another album out (Who Do We Think We Are) and the Mark II lineup that recorded the song had broken apart, with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover leaving the band.
  • "Funky Claude," as in the lyrics "Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground," is Claude Nobs, a man who helped rescue some people in the fire and found another hotel for the band to stay. He is the co-founder of the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival.

    Nobs explained to how this song arose out of the ashes: "Deep Purple were watching the whole fire from their hotel window, and they said, 'Oh my God, look what happened. Poor Claude and there's no casino anymore!' They were supposed to do a live gig [at the casino] and record the new album there. Finally I found a place in a little abandoned hotel next to my house and we made a temporary studio for them. One day they were coming up for dinner at my house and they said, 'Claude we did a little surprise for you, but it's not going to be on the album. It's a tune called "Smoke On The Water.'" So I listened to it. I said, 'You're crazy. It's going to be a huge thing.' Now there's no guitar player in the world who doesn't know [he hums the riff]. They said, 'Oh if you believe so we'll put it on the album.' It's actually the very precise description of the fire in the casino, of Frank Zappa getting the kids out of the casino, and every detail in the song is true. It's what really happened. In the middle of the song, it says 'Funky Claude was getting people out of the building,' and actually when I meet a lot of rock musicians, they still say, 'Oh here comes Funky Claude.'"
  • In the last verse, Ian Gillan sings about recording the song in the Grand Hotel, "With a few red lights and a few old beds." He told Songfacts what that means: It was too bright in the hotel, so they put in red bulbs to solve the lighting issue. The acoustics were another problem, so they improvised sound soak by using mattresses as sound baffles.
  • The B-side of the single was another version of the song, recorded live in Japan.
  • In 1989, former members Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan released a new version of this with Robert Plant, Brian May, and Bruce Dickinson. They called the project "Rock Aid Armenia," with proceeds going to victims of the Armenian earthquake.
  • asked Ritchie Blackmore how he came up with the song's famous riff. He replied: "Ian Paice (Deep Purple drummer) and I often used to jam, just the two of us. It was a natural riff to play at the time. It was the first thing that came into my head during that jam."
  • Deep Purple went through a number of lineup changes, but "Smoke On The Water" stayed in their setlist because it was too popular not to play. After lead singer Ian Gillan left in 1973, David Coverdale got to sing it. Tommy Bolin was tasked with playing it on guitar when he took over for Blackmore in 1975. Blackmore was back in Deep Purple from 1984-1993; in 1994, Steve Morse became their new guitarist. When Songfacts spoke with Steve Morse about performing this song live, he said: "On a tune that I didn't write like 'Smoke On The Water,' I try to tread a line between homage and respect and originality. So, say, on the solo, I take it a out a little bit and do it my way for a little bit, and then bring it back to more like the original, and wrap it up with a lick that everybody would recognize. That's about as much as I can suggest somebody do because there's ingrained memories of the song in peoples' minds."
  • The famous guitar riff is performed in the 2003 Jack Black film School Of Rock. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada
  • On June 3, 2007 in Kansas City, Kansas, 1,721 guitarists gathered to play this song together and break the record for most guitarists playing at one time. The entire song was played, though only the one lead guitar played the solo. Guitarists from as far as Scotland came out for the event. The event was organized by radio station KYYS.

    It's hard to compete with outsourcing, however, and the record was beaten on October 26, 2007 when 1,730 guitarists gathered in Shillong, India to perform "Knocking On Heaven's Door."
  • This was used in commercials for Dodge trucks. The song plays on a jukebox that a guy is eyeing in an antique store. His wife gets her way and they take home a piece of furniture instead - the point being the large payload capacity of the truck. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • According to an interview with Ian Gillian on VH1's Classic Albums: Machine Head, the band did not have much money when recording this album and were renting a recording studio. They stayed past when they were supposed to get out. As they were recording this song, the police were knocking on the door of the studio to kick them out. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ben - Baltimore, MD
  • In a 2008 survey of students from music schools across London, this topped a poll to find the best ever guitar riff. Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came second and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" third.
  • According to the London Times newspaper, Ritchie Blackmore was embarrassed to present this song to his fellow members of Deep Purple because it was such a Neanderthal tune for a guitarist of his caliber to come up with.
  • The lyrics, "Swiss time was running out" meant that their visas were going to expire soon. They wrote the songs and recorded them in a matter of weeks. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ed - Canton, OH
  • Many beginners try to play this when they pick up a guitar, and they usually play it wrong. Here's how: Use the open G and D strings as the starting point and you pluck the strings with a finger each, not a pick. Lots of people play this from the 5th fret of the A and D string, which is wrong. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Glen - Auckland, New Zealand
  • In the 2002 "Weekend at Burnsie's" episode of The Simpsons, Homer is heard crooning to this song after he uses medicinal marijuana. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Hudson, MA
  • In Stephen King's Dreamcatcher (2001), a character recalls losing his virginity to this song at a fraternity party.
  • Pat Boone covered this on In a Metal Mood in 1997. On the album, he performed heavy metal songs with string instruments and pianos, but in this case kept the famous guitar riff and even allowed a solo. Otherwise, it's a very jazzy cover.

    In a Songfacts interview with Boone, he said: "Ritchie Blackmore played some guitar on my recording - of his song. He had to do it to a track we sent him in Germany where he was recording in some castle. He played part of the guitar licks on 'Smoke on the Water,' but the other part is Dweezil Zappa, on a Hendrix Stratocaster. It was very authentic. I was very serious about treating these songs as good music - with big band jazz arrangements."
  • Talking about the song's merits as live material, Roger Glover said in Metal Hammer, "I think 'Smoke On The Water' is the biggest song that Purple will ever have and there's always a pressure to play it, and it's not the greatest live song, it's a good song but you sorta plod through it. The excitement comes from the audience. And there's always the apprehension that Ritchie (Blackmore) isn't gonna want to do it, 'cause he's probably fed up with doing it."

Comments: 106

  • Craig Haynes from Stamford,ctThe riff was most likely ripped from Astrud Gilberto/Gil Evans’ “Maria Quiet.” Please give a listen and then judge for yourself. It’s an obscure song but it’s a beauty.
  • Kirk from Colorado Springs, Co.Deep Purple has always been about the music. From "Shades Of Deep Purple" to "Machine Head" and on, Deep Purple has been a stellar frontrunner for other bands to follow their lead. Thanks for the music and "Rock On" to Deep Purple! Your music will not be forgotten.
  • Michael from Grass ValleySmoke on the water came from the Grand Opening of his new recording studio, the Casino. Located in Novato,CA at his ranch. Sacred rocket accidentally burned it the ground by Bill Grahams VP Little Michael Ludwig, who wrote most of Franks songs. Frank asked " why did you burn the Casino down? We could have gone so far." Deep Purple started the song with water long time coming, by the time the fire trucks got there the casino burn't to the ground. I was banned from premises.
  • Angharad from Manchester, UkRight then, listen up. Time to put the record straight on this riff. I suggest you LISTEN to the music (written by William Lava) to the Pink Panther cartoon 'We Give Pink Stamps' from 1965 and listen at around the 2.20 mark (when the Janitor gets to the top of the excavator) and again around 3.30 - you will hear this riff played on a trumpet! Go watch and listen! It is about time Deep Purple admitted this.
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music Lovers,

    I understand the background of the song which was written by the members of 'Deep Purple' in 1971. But I think that another factor they had that led them to write this song. I think that came from the song called 'Fire And Water' written and palyed by the rock band 'Free' in 1970. This song and its album made them write a song 'Smoke On The Water' in 1971, too. Because at that time, there were many songs whose tittle with 'Fire','Rain',or 'Water' on them. I think that the songwriters of 'Smoke' had been thinking about writing a song with 'Rain','Fire' or 'Water' since then. In Dec. 1971, they stayed in Montreux, Switzerland to record an album and something's terrible happened above. I think that this made the band wrote the song 'Smoke', too. And the rest is history.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 20th 1973, "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #85; nine weeks later on July 22nd, 1973 it would peak at #4 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 16 weeks...
    And on August 11th, 1973 it reached #2 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian Kennedy Singles chart; the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett...
    Was track one of side on the British quintet's sixth studio album, 'Machine Head', and the album peaked at #7 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, it remained on the chart for over two years {118 weeks}...
    They had one other Top 10 record, "Hush", and it also peaked at #4; all tolled the group had eight Top 100 between 1968 and 1985.
  • Dave from Wheaton, IlWayne, I do remember nights with insomnia, as WLS played the live Made in Japan version. I was only 10 years old, at the time.
  • Ulysses from Dorrigo, AustraliaThe new cover version is better by METALLICA
  • Camille from Toronto, OhOne of the most over-played oldies on the radio. The song is okay. Along with the famous guitar riff, the visuals conjured up by the lyrics propelled this song to its legendary status. Listening to it, you feel like a spectator watching the whole studio go up in flames. The words "smoke on the water" are sung low and drawn out just like the smoke would look like. The next words sung: "fire in the sky!" and the tune leaps up, the words dance just as flames do.
  • Amanda from Acton, MaAh, the reason I don't, nor will I ever, own a flare gun...
  • M J from Saint Johns, FlI've been listening to this song for 40 years now and never really listened to the words but today I did and much to my surprise I finally understood what the song was really about. I had the awesome pleasure of visiting Montreux in 2006 and saw where the have the music fest. I actually went to the casino there wondering if it was rebuilt because it is right at Lake Geneva? There is a statue of Freddy Mercury of Queen at the band shell where the fest is held. My dream is to one day go back and attend the music fest there. Does anyone know what hotel the band was staying in? Just wondering because I stayed at the Swiss Hotel which I believe is actually called the Hotel Suise can't really remember that part but it did overlook the casino & the lake. If you ever get to visit Europe make sure you see Montreux it is beautiful as is all of Switzerland!!!!
  • Budoshi from Sandnessjøen, NorwayIt's a great song, just too bad it's been so overplayed. Like "Stairway to heaven"
  • Lily from Los Angeles, Caok, being the history geek i am, i thought this song was about the underwater atomic bomb tests during the cold war; i mean it makes sense!--when it exploded from underwater, there was a collosal mushroom cloud of smoke 'on the water', and fire clouds 'in the sky' above the smoke part! and,it's more meaningful and time-relative than some casino fire, but ok...
  • Al from Tamworth, AustraliaThere's heaps of DVD footage of Blackmore playing this riff and yet people still argue about the correct method. Jesus!!! (deaf and blind perhaps) And Blackmore was right, Clapton is a bore.
  • Roy from Dalton, Ga, GaI really like this song that tells a real story, a true story. To bad that stupid with a flare gun
    did that. I wonder how much money they lost because of that dummy? To bad they didn't catch him.
    And I heard the title "Smoke On The Water" came from the smoke settling on the water of Lake Geneva.
    Roy Butler
    Dalton Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaIt's beautiful -- it plays the riff, then adds just ONE instrument to the opposite ear & plays it again, then one more,(switching ears)
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaThe song I discovered the joys of stereo headphones with!
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mofirst thing i ever played on bass. then again, wasnt it everyone's?
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiSmoke on The Water was done by Jake in 2 and a half men in an episode.I didn't know it was about a hotel fire.
  • Dennis from North Arlington, NjListened to SMOKE in the car today! My daughter loved it too! Great Rock 'n Roll spans all generations!
  • Wayne from Salem, VaA classic rock song. The "Made In Japan" live version is the best. Ritchie Blackmore is lean and mean!
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaBlack Night is wayy better
  • Dave from Philly, PaThanks for your mentioning that the single was released long after the album. I was in college when the single was released. The first time I heard it, I had a weird deja-vu feeling-as if I had heard the song before. I always put this down to it being such a classic riff. Here it turns out I had probably heard it before off the album in the dorm!
  • Fred from Birmingham, AlOne of those songs that has you hooked and reeled in before the first riff is over. So, was this a "throwaway" song to fill the album?
  • Carlos from Caracas, VenezuelaSomebody here said Smoke on the water was covered by Iron Maiden, but I download this song and I think this is a Paul dianno`s cover (first Maiden singer) not a Maiden`s cover.
  • Robert from Snellville, GaRe: the "Rolling Truck Stones Thing" -- I'd call that creative license... it sounds better. Plus, it adds interest... as if he wasn't quite familiar with it.
  • Randell from Sydney, Australiacool song and another good song by deep purple is "burn".
  • Max from Laconia, NhThe guitar riff on this is practically the best ever. I don't know what better; this or American Woman... Killer drums and bass, too.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandIron MKaiden's excellent 'Live After Death' double live album was recorded using the Rolling Stones recording truck
  • Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaThe stand out for me on this song is the superb drumming.
  • Gerry Walsh from Melbourne, AustraliaMy first memory of this song was early 1978 when i was 10 years old, each time i'd walk past the music room at St.Augustines Geelong all i'd hear would be the opening riff to Smoke on the water... it was intoxicating then as much as it is now......... 9.8.2007
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlOne of greatest rock songs of all time ! You can't beat the opening part of this song.
  • Tom from Lausanne, SwitzerlandIf you come down to Montreux, you'll find a metal sculpture on the Lake Geneva shoreline which illustrates to notes to this mega-classic riff.
  • Dirk from Brasschaat, BelgiumEasy riff, lots of people get it wrong though. Here's how to play it correctly: a href="">Smoke on the Water Guitar Tabs.
  • .jpg from Washington, DcSee, George, I said I was dense...or maybe that was cynicism. I just assume that bands are talking wink-nudge euphemisms all the time; thanks for correcting. I shouldn't always be so hasty. And hey - the Nats just dropped 2 of 3 to the O's. Congrats, but I still wouldn't trade owners....
  • George from Baltimore, Md"A few old beds..." refers to the fact that they had to place old mattreses against tha wall of the room they were recording in to improve the acoustics initially after the fire. The makeshift "studio" became so warm, the band members were sweating. This set-up proved unworkable, so it was then that they were transfered to the Stones mobile studio. It has nothing to do with a "red light district".
  • .jpg from Washington, DcMaybe I'm dense - no, that's not a maybe - or too old, but "With a few red lights and a few old beds/We made a place to sweat"? The whole song's about making music; then an abrupt segueway to, uh, 'red-light district' business?
  • Jim from Bronx, Ny"It seemed that we would lose the race" refers to the band having the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio for only a limited time. They had to find a new place to make the recording quickly in order to make use of it.

    Lots of different bands used this facility, including Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones (of course), and others as diverse as The Chieftans, Miles Davis and Willie Nelson.

    It was upgraded several times over the years and was in use until fairly recently, when it was sold to a museum.
  • Broc from Catasauqua, PaI don't understand how anyone can think this is about drugs if they know the lyrics. I don't even understand how the words "Smoke on the water" relates to drugs. Post a comment about this if you have an answer.
    - Josh, Boca Raton, FL

    Yeah, smoke on the water can be reffered to a bong cause when you smoke a bong the smoke is on the water
  • Gerald from St. Louis, MoI've always wondered what the line, " seemed that we would lose the race..." meant. When I was in high school the previling wisdom was that DP was in a race with another band to record an album. Someone once said that the other band was Chicago. Does anybody know if this is correct?
  • Alex from Baraboo, WiThis song is used in one of the Dodge Avenger commercials. Buy one at Baraboo Motors.
  • Lexie from Haifa, Israelevery person i know thinks the first line is "we all came down the mountain"!!!!
    amazing song.
  • Josh from Boca Raton, FlI don't understand how anyone can think this is about drugs if they know the lyrics. I don't even understand how the words "Smoke on the water" relates to drugs. Post a comment about this if you have an answer.
  • Thomas from Cleveland (around), Ohcool song i can play it now
  • Joe from Shelby, Wiim joes brother,she is a woman.what riff is the song in? i would like to play this song
  • Joe from Shelby, Wiim a woman!
  • Joe from Shelby, Withis is the coolest thing I HAVE EVER DONE! i think you are weird! blah blah blah!call me baby!
  • Joe from Shelby, Wibill sucks but call that number!

    PS I ROCK BETTER THAN YOU if you wanna meet me go to and chat for a while. ill be there ocationnaly
  • Joe from Shelby, WiDeep purple rocks out loud and im lonley and the rock sleeps at burger king
  • Joe from Shelby, Wijuhfujhcv lugqd

    sorry my dumb son just did that
  • Bill from Minneapolis, MnThis song is really cool and if anyone wants a cookie call 1507 453 9444
  • Eric Forman from Steven's Point, WiI used to think this was a drug song but after reading some comments I agree it is about that infamous fire.
  • Nicholas from Vancouver, Canadathis song is pretty overplayed. the only recording of it i can stand is off of Made in Japan
  • Nooxara from Albany, AkGood song but not the best of Deep Purple
  • Devon from Westerville, Ohone of the main reasons I picked up a guitar is because of Purple. This song rocks.
  • Jay from Geneva, CheezlandClaude Nobs, mentionned in the song as "Funky Claude" was (and still is) the man in charge of the Montreux Jazz Festival (don't let the name fool you) where DP were playing. The Casino was the venue before the fire and the Festival was later relocated to the Stravinksi Auditorium, also in Montreux. The Festival lasts two weeks and is worth a visit. It's in July.
  • Devon from Westerville, Ohthis song is sweet. I can't believe that Blackmore said that Clapton can't play guitar. I think Blackmore needs to get his head out of his a$$.
  • Nathan from Adelaide, Australiaso many bands hav cut "Smoke On The Water" like Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd but it never sounds as good as the original
  • George from Ottawa, CanadaWhat's even more amazing about this album (Machine Head) is that it was written, rehearsed and recorded in less than two weeks. That freshness and energy hold up well even to this day.
  • George from Ottawa, CanadaGreat raw, yet intricate song that does not have all of the over-production over-rehearsed but bland "perfections" of much of today's music. That raw energy is the key to the song's attraction and longevity.
    DP even kept the error in this song's lyrics and did not re-record it to straighten out the flub. Ian Gillan sang (when referring to the band having had to re-locate their recording studio to the Grand Hotel from the Casino stage) "the Rolling Stones' truck thing" (referring to the RS mobile recording unit).
    Interestingly Procol Harum released an album entitled "Grand Hotel" and in 1973 DP returned to Montreux to record their album "Burn".
  • Music Natzi from Albany, NyHighway star by DP is by far better.
  • Brandon from Morristown, TnIron Maiden has covered this in concert before along with we will rock you by queen.
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruJack Bruce wrote the riff to Sunshine Of Your Love, duh!
  • Maya from Cal, United Stateswhoaaaa classic riff
  • JoaquÃ?n from Chaguito City, ChileIt's a good song, but there are about 100 better DP tracks. By the way, in the live versions, specially the MK3 ones, they never sing the third verse. Instead, they repeat the first one. Does anybody knows why is that?
  • Katie from Somewhere, NjAbout not playing the song in a guitar store, well it's just that EVERY begginer guitarist always seems to try out this riff, so a lot of times people play it in guitar stores, and it must get annoying for the employees.
  • Kyle from Anna, OhJust one question. Why shouldn't you play this in a guitar store. I've heard or read that about a dozen times, but I've never understood what's so wrong with playing this. Thanks.
  • Todd from Denver, CoThought I submitted a message, I hope I'm not repeating...As for Deep Purple, forgive me but I much prefer Richie Blackmore's Rainbow with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals as well as Deep Purple's reunion album Perfect Strangers (I think released about 1985). As for Ronnie James Dio, I don't think he fit in with Rainbow. I like his solo stuff and his work in Black Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell."
  • Chet Walters, Ink Specialist from Bethlehem, PaGreat song, but the Made In Japan version OWNS the studio version by far! Blackmore's timing is a little off in the solo but it's still good. As far as rock guitar riffs go, this is probably the most recognizable. Never play it in a guitar store though - that goes for "Stairway To Heaven" as well.
  • Stephen from Altamont, IlI agree Jon. :D

    Some kid at my school (I'm 14) was 'singin'' (he's... wierd) the beginning of this song. I asked him what it was; Smoke on the Water. It's now on my iPod :D

    I found this song in a new classic rock piano book I have. :)
  • Jon from Regina, CanadaI love Deep Purple. They were one of the heaviest bands of the '70s - too bad most people don't even know the name of this song (or the band for that matter) which produced what is possibly the most well-known rock riff of all time.
  • Will from Nashua, NhThis is one of my favorite Deep Purple songs. The riff is very cool sounding, even if it is incredibly simple. As usual, Blackmore solos like nothing else , especially on the live version from "Made in Japan". Unfortunately, the riff is the only thing people know the song, and the band, for. Buy Machine Head and see what I and others mean about this band having better stuff. Plus you get Ian's operatic shrieks which are missing from this song!
  • Ross from Independence, MoI agree with Dino, what about woman in tokyo
  • Pete from Carbondale, PaFor those who are wondering,I believe Deep Purple got their name from a 1963 song by Nino Tempo and April Stevens
  • Ross from Independence, MoIt is #426 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Shawn from Philadelphia/pittsburgh, PaThis song is widely regarded as the anthem of rock and roll. I myself like Child in Time much better.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI agree with dino. This song is only famous for its riff, not the lyrics, and the riff is overrated. Get over it, there's better songs out there.
  • Sean from Philly, Payo dave from lansing - he says the rolling drunk stones not rolling truck stones thats why u were confused. im assuming the stones were pretty f-d up at the time.
    sean from philly
  • Adriana from Monterrey, MexicoThis Song Is Considered The Hymn Of Hard Rock
    is amazing, because Deep Purple and Black Sabath were the only 2 groups of the '70s that played Hard Rock, when that genre din't even exist. I Can't belive this band isn't in the Rock N Roll hall of fame
  • Louie from Wang Town, LaI always thought the song was about the Vietnam War. haha, i'm dumb
  • Nathan from Ohsweken, Canadaone of the top 10 greatest riffs of all time hands down!!!
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaMy classic rock cover band always gets a huge response to this. Based on the bit from Austin Powers 3, we refer to it as 'Shmoke and a Pancake'.
  • Kel from Bucksport, MeIsn't there a song from the Late 50's called smoke on the water?
  • Doug from Sydney, AustraliaDaryl,
    Bruce actually took most of the lead vocals for Cream.
  • Dino from Athens, GreeceI thing its overrated. there are some great deep purple songs like child in time and soldier of fortune.
  • Thomas from St.-niklaas, BelgiumDeep purple is a legend.
    Smoke on the water is the greatest hit of Deep Purle.
    Smoke on the water is a legend.
  • Odracir from Santiago, Chileme too, I love this song, but I prefer too another song from "come taste the band" album... it called "place in line"...

    but "smoke" ROCXS!!!
  • Michael Picard from Lapwai, IdHey Darrle Stoke from England It's Eric Clapton on Guitar Jack Bruce on Bass and GINGER BAKER ON THE DRUMS AND AT THE TIME he was one of the best drummmers so how could you not include him and I'm only 15 and even I know that. Yeah, and This riff is so massively supreme
  • Taal from Brisbane, AustraliaGreat song, but I prefer another of Deep Purples songs - "hush", not as popular but just as good.
  • Rob from Heerlen, NetherlandsActually Daryl, Clapton only took lead vocals on some Cream songs, Jack Bruce was the real lead singer..And the drummer was Ginger Baker...
    And by the way, Frank Zappa was not pulled off the stage. He was actually thrown off the stage by a man who thought Frank had been eyeing his girlfriend all evening..He spent more than a year in a wheelchair after that with more injuries than just a broken leg...
  • Alex from Charleston, WvI know this probably isn't the true meaning of the song, but its what it reminds me of. It reminds me of the morning after a music festival when everything is kind of trashed, but really serene. I went to a music festival in the mountains, and it was by a big lake. When I woke up, there was a thick layer of fog over the lake and the sky was red, hence, "smoke on the water, and fire in the skies."
  • Daryl from Stoke, EnglandActually Annette, Cream was Eric Clapton - guitar - vox, Jack Bruce - bass, back vox and the drummer...i can never remember his name.
    I dont think Clapton was onstage as a solo artist with session players now was he?
    That came much later...
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandThe riffs played in School of Rock are, in order, Iron Man, Smoke on the Water and Highway to Hell. Back in Black features later in the film.
  • David from Lansing, MiAnyone know why he sings "Rolling Truck Stones" when "Rolling Stones' Truck" would have made more sense? Was that an error that they just left in, or was it said that way on purpose?
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaSchool of Rock is one of the greatest movies! This song is awesome and the riff is wicked!
  • Chris from Whitesboro, NyThose are some great riffs on guitar but has anyone ever wondered what they'd sound like on violin?
    Smoke on the Water:(on D string)Eflat-F#-G--Eflat-F#-Aflat-G--Eflat-F#-G-F#-Eflat

    Iron Man:(on G) G-B#-B#-C-C--Dflat-C-Dflat-C-Dflat-C--Aflat-Aflat-B-B

    Sunshine of Your Love: (on D) G-G-F#-G (on G) C-Bflat-Aflat-G-Aflat-G (Repeat exact riff)

    Highway: (on D) E-E-Fflat--F#-F#-G--F#-F#-G-F#-G-F#-B-B

    If you liked these, check out my part for "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin
  • Chris from Whitesboro, NyThe third riff Jack Black plays in "School of Rock" is the "Highway to Hell" intro, not "Back in Black". Or at least I think........
  • Annette from Oegstgeest, NetherlandsSorry Kevin... Eric Clapton WAS Cream - so Ariel is right!
  • Kevin from Pittsburg, PaAriel, Sunshine of your love is by Cream.
  • Ariel from Woodbridge, Ctthe riff from this song, along with Ironman by Black Sabbath, Back in Black by AC/DC, Layla, and Sunshine of your love by Eric Clapton are the best known riffs in all rock music
  • Lacy from Yukon, OkDefinately the most ass kicking riff of all time.
  • Melanie from Reader, WvI LOVE this song... has an awesome beat. Very kickass!
  • Jason from Wylie, Txyeah i just saw school of rock last night great movie for rock fans!
  • Andrew from Bowmanville, CanadaAmazing song! Everyone knows this riff whether
    they've heard of Deep Purple or not.
  • Geoff from Adelaide, AustraliaWhat a rock song. Best rock riff ever. Nothing like it
  • Tom from Moraga, CaRob Nen's theme song! Yeah Baby
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