These days DEEP PURPLE’s “Smoke On The Water” is such a ubiquitous rock “anthem” that it almost seems as if it has been out there forever. Yet the story of how this most famous of metal tracks came into being is shot-through with chance incidents, any one of which could have seen the recording stifled at birth, leaving music writers to scrabble about for another “best riff of all time” contender (and five hard-working musicians considerably less well-off.)
Incredibly, although the backing to “Smoke On The Water” was the first track laid down for the “Machine Head” album (while the Swiss police hammered at the door at 2:00 a.m. to try and get the noise stopped), in the ensuing chaos of being evicted from their temporary studio and washing up in the corridors of the Grand Hotel (where they built a studio in the corridors using old mattresses and egg cartons for sound-proofing!), the tape was almost forgotten — until an engineer pointed out that they were one track short of an album. The band only roughed it out as something to play to their Montreux host and hero of the fire, Claude Nobs, who told them it was far too good to leave in the can…
Due in the spring of 2017, “Fire In The Sky” is a new book which looks in detail at this important period in DEEP PURPLE’s history and the making of their breakthrough album “Machine Head”.