Smoke on the Water
Written by: Ritchie Blackmore
Originally recorded by:  Deep Purple

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn't have much time
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, fire in the sky

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, fire in the sky

We ended up at the Grand Hotel
It was empty cold and bare
But with the Rolling drunk Stones playing just outside
Making our music there
With a few red lights and a few old beds
We made a place to sweat
No matter what we get out of this
I know we'll never forget
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky 


This is about a fire in the Casino at Montreux, Switzerland. The band was going to record Machine Head there right after a Frank Zappa concert, but someone fired a flare gun at the ceiling which set the place on fire. The band was relocated to another hotel and recorded the album in the Rolling Stones mobile studio. 
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. 
Roger Glover came up with the image of smoke on the water. He thought it was a great title, but was reluctant to use it because it sounded like a drug song. 
The water is Lake Geneva, which the casino overlooked. 
The band did not think this would be a hit and rarely played it live. It took off when they released it as a US single over a year after the album came out. 
The B-side of the single was another version of the song, recorded live in Japan. 
"Funky Claude" is Claude Nobs, a man who helped rescue some people in the fire and found another hotel for the band to stay. 

Homer is heard crooning to this song in an a episode of The Simpsons in which he uses medicinal marijuana. 
Pat Boone covered this on In a Metal Mood. 

Rick performed part of this song (at Ronnie's request) at the Border's acoustic performance in Simi Valley, CA on 4/10/04


Footnote - background photo was taken at the Borders in Simi Valley, CA on 4/10/04 by Renata Hearn (but during the performance of the song)