Smoke on the Water
Deep Purple Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn't have much time
But Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Were at the best place around
But some stupid with a flare gun
Burned the place to the ground

Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

They burned down the gambling house
It died with an awful sound
Funky Claude was running in and out
Pulling kids out the ground
When it all was over
We had to find another place
But Swiss time was running out
It seemed that we would lose the race

Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

We ended up at the Grand Hotel
It was empty cold and bare
But with the Rolling-truck-Stones-thing just outside, ha
Making our music there
With a few red lights, a few old beds, huh
We made a place to sweat
No matter what we get out of this, ha
I know, I know we'll never forget





Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

Overall Meaning

The opening verse of "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple is a true story of the events that took place in Montreux, Switzerland in 1971. The band had gone there to record their album, "Machine Head," in the Montreux Casino complex, which had a mobile recording studio. They had been inspired to record in this location after watching a Frank Zappa concert in the casino on December 4th, 1971. However, during the concert, a spectator fired a flare gun into the ceiling, which set the building on fire.


The lyrics describe the chaos and destruction that ensued after the fire broke out. The first verse tells of how they had come to Montreux to record on the Lake Geneva shoreline, but their plans were thwarted by the fire. They had hoped to record in the casino, which was the best place around, but the fire destroyed it. The chorus of "Smoke on the Water" refers to the smoke from the fire and the fire itself, which created a fire in the sky with its bright flames.


The second verse tells of how the gambling house was burned down and how Funky Claude, who was in charge of security, helped evacuate people from the building. The band had to find somewhere else to record their album, so they ended up at the Grand Hotel. The band went on to make music, but they would never forget the events that occurred that night in Montreux.


Line by Line Meaning

We all came out to Montreux
We travelled to Montreux, a town in Switzerland, to make music.


On the Lake Geneva shoreline
Our location was next to Lake Geneva.


To make records with a mobile
We aimed to record using a mobile studio.


We didn't have much time
We were constrained with time for recording.


But Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Frank Zappa and his band were nearby.


Were at the best place around
They were situated at the perfect location for performance.


But some stupid with a flare gun
Someone foolish used a flare gun and caused trouble.


Burned the place to the ground
As a consequence, the location was burnt down.


Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke and flames were clearly visible.


They burned down the gambling house
The incident resulted in the collapse of the gambling establishment.


It died with an awful sound
The collapse made a terrible noise.


Funky Claude was running in and out
Funky Claude was trying to help people escape.


Pulling kids out the ground
He was rescuing children buried under the rubble.


When it all was over
Once the incident had finished.


We had to find another place
We needed to move elsewhere to continue recording.


But Swiss time was running out
We were running out of time in Switzerland.


It seemed that we would lose the race
It felt like we were in danger of failing the objective.


We ended up at the Grand Hotel
We relocated to the Grand Hotel.


It was empty cold and bare
The provisions there were basic and sparse.


But with the Rolling-truck-Stones-thing just outside, ha
However, there was excitement due to the Rolling Stones' mobile truck being nearby.


Making our music there
We continued to record our music at the Grand Hotel.


With a few red lights, a few old beds, huh
Our setup was nothing fancy, with only a few lights and places to sleep.


We made a place to sweat
We worked hard and diligently in the recording room.


No matter what we get out of this, ha
Regardless of the outcome, we were going to put in all our effort.


I know, I know we'll never forget
We knew that this experience would always remain in our memories.


Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
The incident and atmosphere left an impression.




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger D Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@vernhoke7730

I bought my son a Stratocaster for his 15th birthday, told me he wanted to learn to play, after a few misses I came home from work one afternonn and heard "DUN, DUN, DUN" coming from the basement and knew I raised that kid right!! :)

@gavinp11

Trust me if he is just continuously playin 0,3,5 you raised him wrong
And also i don’t mean hate its really cool that you let him

@kaxxtles

my family dont allow me to touch the guitar, hope i had a father like you

@tenaciousdemon2541

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

@stauroskatsaros130

@@gavinp11 how about 5-8-10

@koba5152

Next step: Back in black

27 More Replies...

@eddyvandermeirsch

This is an iconic rock anthem that has stood the test of time.The song's riff is instantly recognizable,and it has become a quintessential part of rock music history.

@suemilner9691

I so agree … absolutely amazing Deep purple are a band what will remain in history . I’m so happy I got to share there music x

@3dVizualizationz

The song "Smoke On The Water" was released in 1972 and tells the story of an actual event that took place at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland. During a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert, a fire broke out at the casino, and the members of Deep Purple happened to be staying in a hotel nearby. The lyrics describe the chaotic scene and the smoke rising from the fire on the water of Lake Geneva.

Due to its catchy and distinctive guitar riff, "Smoke On The Water" has become one of the most recognizable rock songs of all time and has been covered by numerous artists. The phrase itself has come to symbolize the song and the power of rock music in general.

@stevejessopchoons

Deep Purple were planning to record in the Casino, and their crew was due to set up as soon as Zappa's broke down. "to make records with a mobile (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Stones_Mobile_Studio) ... Zappa and the Mamas // had the best place around ... when it all was over // find another place ... we ended up at the Grand Hotel". Everything in the lyrics is literal!

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