Smoke on the Water

"Smoke on the Water"
Smoke on the Water.jpg
Cover of the 1973 German single
Single by Deep Purple
from the album Machine Head
B-side"Smoke on the Water" (live)
ReleasedMay 1973
Format7-inch record
RecordedDecember 1971
  • 5:41 (album version)
  • 3:54 (single version)
  • 6:15 (Roger Glover remix)
Producer(s)Deep Purple
Deep Purple singles chronology
"Never Before"
"Smoke on the Water"
"Woman from Tokyo"
Machine Head track listing
Audio sample

"Smoke on the Water" is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple. It was first released on their 1972 album Machine Head. In 2004, the song was ranked number 434 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time,[4] ranked number 4 in Total Guitar magazine's Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever,[5] and in March 2005, Q magazine placed "Smoke on the Water" at number 12 in its list of the 100 greatest guitar tracks.[6]


The Smoke on the Water riff

"Smoke on the Water" is known for and recognizable by its central theme, developed by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. It is a four-note blues scale melody in G minor, harmonised in parallel fourths. The riff, played on a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar by Blackmore, is later joined by hi-hat and distorted organ, then the rest of the drums, then electric bass parts before the start of Ian Gillan's vocal. Blackmore later claimed that the riff is an interpretation of inversion of Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven, and that "I owe him a lot of money".[7]

The opening lyrics are:

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 C3 organ played through a distorted Marshall amp, creating a tone very similar to that of the guitar. Blackmore usually plays the main riff using a finger pluck[8][infringing link?]

A performance by the original Mark II lineup was filmed in 1973 in colour during a US concert in New York City for Live in Concert 1972/73. Blackmore played the intro on the 3rd and 5th fret of a 3 tone sunburst Fender Stratocaster, often turning his back to the camera or the audience. Later on, he can be seen using his thumb top-down on the E and A strings on 8th and 10th fret, as follows:


There are two solos in the song; the first was performed on guitar by Ritchie Blackmore, and the second was performed on an organ by Jon Lord until the song fades out.

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