Roger Glover Recalls Deep Purple’s False Prediction About ‘Smoke On The Water’

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Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover opened up about a famous song’s creation and recording process in his previous interview with Stephen Tow for his book. Glover admitted that they couldn’t guess the success and popularity of that track in the beginning.

On March 25, 1972, Deep Purple released their sixth studio album titled ‘Machine Head,’ receiving positive reviews from rock music lovers and critics. The band members gained worldwide fame and commercial success with the album’s sales and well-crafted sounds and lyrics. Most Deep Purple fans described it as their best work, and the songs from the record, such as ‘Smoke on the Water,’ was their favorite.

For Stephen Tow’s book ‘London, Reign Over Me: How England’s Capital Built Classic Rock,’ which came out on February 15, 2020, Glover spoke to him along with many artists, such as Ian Anderson, Jon Anderson, Peter Frampton, Dave Davies, and countless others. The bassist talked about working on ‘Smoke On The Water’ and revealed that they found the track as a mid-tempo and boring one without knowing what would happen next.

Glover highlighted that their predictions were wrong after ‘Smoke On The Water’ became one of their greatest songs of all time while the other one, ‘Never Before,’ couldn’t reach its success. The bass player said they worked hard to make that song perfect, but it wasn’t enough for their fans. Glover added that guitarist Ritchie Blackmore resembled their work to Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No. 5.’

As reported by Classic Rock, Glover said:

“We never thought for a minute it was going to have the kind of future it was going to have. We didn’t think that much of it. We thought, ‘Mid-tempo, slightly boring.’ We put all our efforts into another song on the album, ‘Never Before.’ We thought that was going to be the single. But it wasn’t us that chose ‘Smoke On The Water.’

It was, first of all, some DJs, and then the public turned it into the song it’s become. Now, listening to it, it’s obvious. The riff is so simple and yet so different from anything else. Ritchie has said it’s like Beethoven in a way, Beethoven’s fifth.

What Beethoven does with very few notes, that riff does it with very few notes, too. But it’s got a hint of Eastern mysticism, just by the semitone lift; instantly recognizable and yet nothing like anything else. In retrospect, ‘Smoke On The Water’ is pretty hilarious. It’s like writing a song about any mundane daily activity: ‘I went to the grocery store / To buy some cheese.'”

You can listen to the song below.