“From The Ashes A Fire Shall Be Woken”

There could hardly be a more significant date in the history of rock music than December 4, 1971.

That’s when the Montreux Casino in Switzerland burnt to the ground during a Frank Zappa’s concert.

This incident was to be immortalised in “Deep Purple”s “Smoke On The Water”, which is kind of a rock Bible and anthem and the most frequent tuning motif for any garage band ever.

The influence of this song is so great that we wouldn’t dare to try analysing it in a couple of hundred words. Nor can we count all the musicians and bands who claimed this song showed them the hows and whys of their careers. There are literally thousands of young guitar players who made their first baby steps on their instruments by playing this song.

Here’s what Ritchie Blackmore had to say about how they made the most famous riff he has ever played. “We were in this big ballroom, and Paice and I started playing the riff and a chord progression. Then, the police arrived to tell us to stop, because we were playing so loud that there were complaints. We kept the door locked so that we could keep recording that particular take. The police were hammering on the door during the final take in the last three minutes of the recording session. Had the Montreux police had their way, we never would’ve recorded Smoke On The Water – so, no thanks to them!”

Probably the most famous version of the song was made for the project “Rock Aid Armenia”. It aimed at helping the victims of 1988 Armenian earthquake. This recording rounded up some of the biggest names in rock music: Bryan Adams, Ritchie Blackmore, Bruce Dickinson, Keith Emerson, Ian Gillan, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Brian May, Paul Rodgers, Roger Taylor…

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So, happy anniversary to a burning of a casino the song that has changed the entire history of music. It will surely be needed even more in times to come.

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