What does Smoke on the Water mean?

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Deep Purple: Smoke on the Water Meaning

Song Released: 1973

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Smoke on the Water Lyrics

We all came out to montreax
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...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 4th 2004 report

    This is about a fire in the Casino at Montreux, Switzerland which overlooks Lake Geneva. 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.

  2. anonymous
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    Dec 27th 2019 report

    Forgot to say climate change. Zappa (the no good drug addict) was the one running in saving people that were too high to save themselves while everyone else was running around like a chicken with their head cut off blaming each other saying it was Zappas music that was the problem.

    Kinda reminds me of "We didn't start the fire"
    Love the Peter Griffin version.

  3. anonymous
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    Dec 27th 2019 report

    They say nitrogen (earth's atmosphere) is not flammable under normal conditions because it bonds to itself. But it does depend on the oxidation state, NO2 is flammable and nitrogen combines with metals at high temperature which are then flammable.

    This song could be about the space race and nuclear arms, some idiot with the "flare gun" setting the whole sky on fire and loosing hydrogen from water by electrolysis. The hindenburg, solar lightning, the bible.

    I also agree that this song would indubitably be about psychedelics seeing the sky (sun) seem so bright and magnificent while the world burns. Ok Boomer.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 5th 2019 report

    It's about a guy in the band pooping in a lake making steam rise off the water.

  5. anonymous
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    Dec 31st 2018 report

    2018/19 new years eve , just gone into 2019, Smoke on the Water come on the radio. Everyone just stopped, out of respect and jived to the song. My 10 year old grandson got into it and really really boogied, air geetaring the intro riffs, (da da daaa, da da da daaa, etc)....

    The song not only has meaning, it has something timeless, I can't describe. I now will give ALL my 70's collection to my grandson, he and others can carry the flames of the sounds of that era....

  6. george.seaver.56
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    Feb 27th 2015 report

    You helped get people out of the burning building. There’s even a lyric about it in “Smoke On The Water.”

    It was actually not that difficult because we had big bow windows in the concert hall overlooking the swimming pool. Frank Zappa took his guitar – a Gibson, a very strong one – and he smashed the big window down with his guitar. Then a lot of people could go out through there. The people went out through that exit, and within about five minutes, the 2,000 kids were out. And the people were watching the fire thinking, “Oh, you know, Frank Zappa is just doing an incredible ending to his show.”

    How did the Deep Purple song evolve 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.”

  7. anonymous
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    Jun 26th 2012 report

    Frances Scott key wrote the same meaning to this song. He wrote what he witness during a fire.
    "star spannel banner."

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 29th 2011 report

    Smoking a bong.

  9. anonymous
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    Jul 6th 2009 report

    When Deep Purple was writing there album "Machine Head" they had been staying at a Casino at Montreux. While they were staying there someone shot a flair and accidentally burnt the hotel down. They lyrics were written about this because it they needed lyrics for the song and they thought they might as well write about that

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 31st 2007 report

    To anonymous with the stoner theory. Thats an awesome interpretation, but untrue. It is about the casino being on fire and burning down on the shore.

    Isn't it interesting how people perceive these things into something completely different?? funny how the mind works...

  11. anonymous
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    Jan 17th 2007 report

    its obviously about hitting a bong...

    smoke on the water when you hit a bong smoke comes out of the water (so to someone watching a bong hit, the smoke would be on the water) the fire in the sky is someone lighting the bowl of marijuana (or "tobacco") in order to facilitate the rest of the sequence...

    *reads the other interpreation*...yeah that makes more sense but mine is better.

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