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

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, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

We ended up at the Grand Hotel
It was empty cold and bare
But with the Rolling-truck-Stones-thing just outside, ha
Making our music there
With a few red lights, a few old beds, huh
We made a place to sweat
No matter what we get out of this, ha
I know, I know we'll never forget

Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water

Lyrics submitted by alisaifee, edited by colin57, kirkhammettforprez, ironside, miked97, thomasjeb, LHGL

Smoke On The Water Lyrics as written by Ian Gillan Ritchie Blackmore

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Smoke on the Water song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +9
    General Comment

    Is everyone on here a nine year old with a head full of rocks? Can we not do some research?

    Here is the real meaning of this song:

    So, Deep Purple, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, and a few other bands came out to Montreaux, a town in Switzerland to record tha album "Machine Head" with a mobile recording studio that Deep Purple had rented from the Rolling Stones. During a concert held at the Casino on the shoreline of Lake Geneva, "some stupid with a flare gun" shot a flare into the roof and started a fire. After the evacuation started, the flames spread out across Lake Geneva, bringing in the chorus of "Smoke on the Water, Fire in the sky.". Soon, it was realized that not everyone made in out, but no one was willing to go back in except Claude Nobs, or "Funky Claude", who ran in and out of the burning casino, pulling burning kids out of the rubble. After it was all said and done, they had to move the recordings and concert to another place.

    WolfMoccasinon July 27, 2016   Link
  • +8
    General Comment

    Strangely enough, this song was written about its own recording.

    They were making the Machine Head album when their hotel burned down.

    It was a time when bands wrote and recorded songs simultaneously, with no idea how it would result.

    maharishion January 07, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    The intro of all intros!

    askewchanon January 15, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    our marching band is playing this and using it as the drumline feature...^_^

    WhenFiresWhisperon August 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    Basically, we all know what the song is about, right??

    Too many people commenting on the riff... stop wasting space!!!

    Anyway, for me, this song reminds me of the Gleneagle Hotel... which is in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. Normally, I would visit there every New Years to celebrate the New Year. However, for the past two years now, that hasn't happened.

    The song reminds me of myself and all the friends I've made while visiting the Gleneagle over the years. Seriously, we used to just wreck the place!!!! Being the youths that we were, it's only natural. Anyway, that's what this song is about, for me. Just my opinion.

    CARNLOUon September 06, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i figured this song would have a few idiots giving they're dumb opinions.. i was right, wasn't shocked tho. Marharishi is right about that song, and everyone else is just dellusional.

    Ford Ron March 10, 2020   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    no its not......its about a fire at the casino in montreux, switzerland....but its an inspiration to smokin dope

    pimpin__stoneron September 17, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i can see why he'd say it's about bong hits... pot smoke is on top of the water in the chamber. but no, it clearly tells the story of them making the album.

    AeroLed286on May 02, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i dont have anything to back this up but a friend told me that aside from the story being told in the song about the casino burning down that smoke on the water was actually an expression for dropping acid.... hmm.... and smoke on the water is a lot like a bong hit :)

    dazdnconfuzd420on May 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is about Deep Purplegoing to Montreux to make a records... but "some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground." They burned down the casino there too, so the band had to stay at the Grand Hotel (which was empty cold and bare).

    Fortunately for Deep Purple, there was a truck (WITH A RECORDING STUDIO) for Rolling Stones which made their music. That's the story of Smoke on the Water- plus with the great riffs... it's just INCREDIBLE!!!

    Smoke on the water is linked with drugs in the Simpsons- go watch.

    CLASSICROCKFANon June 18, 2003   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Standing On The Edge Of Summer
In regards to the meaning of this song: Before a live performance on the EP Five Stories Falling, Geoff states “It’s about the last time I went to visit my grandmother in Columbus, and I saw that she was dying and it was the last time I was going to see her. It is about realizing how young you are, but how quickly you can go.” That’s the thing about Geoff and his sublime poetry, you think it’s about one thing, but really it’s about something entirely different. But the lyrics are still universal and omnipresent, ubiquitous, even. So relatable. That’s one thing I love about this band. I also love their live performances, raw energy and Geoff’s beautiful, imperfectly perfect vocals. His voice soothes my aching soul.
Album art
Fast Car
Tracy Chapman
"Fast car" is kind of a continuation of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." It has all the clawing your way to a better life, but in this case the protagonist never makes it with her love; in fact she is dragged back down by him. There is still an amazing amount of hope and will in the lyrics; and the lyrics themselve rank and easy five. If only music was stronger it would be one of those great radio songs that you hear once a week 20 years after it was released. The imagery is almost tear-jerking ("City lights lay out before us", "Speeds so fast felt like I was drunk"), and the idea of starting from nothing and just driving and working and denigrating yourself for a chance at being just above poverty, then losing in the end is just painful and inspiring at the same time.
Album art
No Surprises
Same ideas expressed in Fitter, Happier are expressed in this song. We're told to strive for some sort of ideal life, which includes getting a good job, being kind to everyone, finding a partner, getting married, having a couple kids, living in a quiet neighborhood in a nice big house, etc. But in Fitter, Happier the narrator(?) realizes that it's incredibly robotic to live this life. People are being used by those in power "like a pig in a cage on antibiotics"--being pacified with things like new phones and cool gadgets and houses while being sucked dry. On No Surprises, the narrator is realizing how this life is killing him slowly. In the video, his helmet is slowly filling up with water, drowning him. But he's so complacent with it. This is a good summary of the song. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. politicians and businessmen, perhaps) is not the way to live. But there is seemingly no way out but death. He'd rather die peacefully right now than live in this cage. While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. that is going on in the world, often run by huge yet nearly invisible organizations, corporations, and 'leaders'. It's a very hopeless song because it reflects real life.
Album art
Just A Little Lovin'
Dusty Springfield
I don't think it's necessarily about sex. It's about wanting to start the day with some love and affection. Maybe a warm cuddle. I'm not alone in interpreting it that way! For example: "'Just a Little Lovin’ is a timeless country song originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1954. The song, written by Eddie Miller and Jimmy Campbell, explores the delicate nuances of love and showcases Arnold’s emotive vocals. It delves into the universal theme of love and how even the smallest gesture of affection can have a profound impact on our lives." https://oldtimemusic.com/the-meaning-behind-the-song-just-a-little-lovin-by-eddy-arnold/
Album art
American Town
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran shares a short story of reconnecting with an old flame on “American Town.” The track is about a holiday Ed Sheeran spends with his countrywoman who resides in America. The two are back together after a long period apart, and get around to enjoying a bunch of fun activities while rekindling the flames of their romance.