Deep Purple Official Video for “Smoke on the Water” Chronicles Story Behind the Song, Features Dweezil Zappa Remix

The story of how Deep Purple wrote their 1972 classic “Smoke on the Water” has finally been visualized. To commemorate the deluxe reissue of the band’s sixth album Machine Head, out March 29, Deep Purple has released a new video for their classic hit “Smoke on the Water,” featuring a remix by Dweezil Zappa.

The animated video, conceived by the London-based Chiba Film, chronicles the story of how the song was conceived, along with some visual embellishments.

On Dec. 4, 1971, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing a gig at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland. When the band was nearly 90 minutes into their set, and playing “King Kong,” an audience member fired a flare gun up at the wooden roof of the venue, which caused it to go up in flames.

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan was in the audience and saw the two flares shot by someone who was seated behind him. At the time, Deep Purple was also in Montreux to record some tracks in a mobile recording studio rented from The Rolling Stone at the casino where Zappa was performing.

Videos by American Songwriter

[RELATED: The Casino Fire That Inspired the Deep Purple Classic “Smoke on the Water”]

Instead, Deep Purple ended up watching the blaze from a nearby restaurant and saw a layer of smoke covering the adjacent Lake Geneva, which inspired bassist Roger Glover to come up with the title “Smoke on the Water.”

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile, yeah
We didn’t have much time now


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, you guys are great

The video, which runs more than six minutes, also features a 2024 remix of the song by Dweezil Zappa, bringing the song full circle. “Our idea for the video follows the fact that the band [was] under pressure to make this record on time after the events that unfolded at the casino,” said Dan Gibling and Luke McDonnell, directors of Chiba Film in a statement. “We wished to depict all these events and band members accurately, but also elevate the animated video into an exciting action-packed chase that sees the band pursued by a turntable stylus as they ride along the deep grooves of the record.”

They continued, “On their journey, we visit the places and heroes mentioned in the song, as well as encounters with fire, water, smoke, police, and even dragons as they strive to take control of the record stylus and cut their track into the vinyl. The writing of the album was an adventure summed up in the lyrics, and we hope we have created an accompanying adventure that existing and new fans will enjoy.”

[Get Tickets to See Deep Purple on Tur in 2024 at StubHub HERE]

Machine Head was Deep Purple’s most successful album, topping the charts in several countries, including the U.K., while “Smoke on the Water” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in 1973.

In addition to the newly remixed original album, the super deluxe edition of Machine Head features two live performances, including one recorded on March 9, 1972, at the Paris Theatre in London during the Machine Head Tour. The second previously unreleased concert was recorded in April 1971 at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland, before the events depicted in “Smoke on the Water.”

Photo: Daniel Liebl/Getty Images

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

5 Fascinating Facts About Joan Jett