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DEEP PURPLE's 'Machine Head' Released 45 Years Ago...

The LP remains a 'Cornerstone' of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal.

March 27, 2017

DEEP PURPLE's "Machine Head" album just turned 45 years old, and the 6th studio album from the English Hard Rockers remains as part of the 'foundation' of 'Hard Rock/Heavy Metal.' Of course, the centerpiece of that album, "Smoke On The Water," remains the band's identifying & defining track, but the LP also featured their other immortal songs, "Highway Star," "Lazy," & "Space Truckin."  The album is often considered a major influence on the Heavy Metal music genre, and it is still the band's most successful album in a very long career. (A new album, "InFinite" is due in mid-April) Following it's release, it became the #1 album in the UK and topped the charts in a number of other foreign countries, and it peaked at #7 in the U.S., spending a total of 118 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. Of course, the origin of their biggest song, "Smoke On The Water," is all rooted in fact: In Montreaux, Switzerland to record their new album in an old casino theater (Montreaux Casino) that was set for refurbishment. The band had expected to start the recording after a final concert at the venue by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention. But, just as it is recalled in the song, at the end of the show, "some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground," and while it became a memorable lyric in the song, it also necessitated a change of recording plans for Deep Purple. But they did find another location in Switzerland, and the recording got started. The members of Deep Purple watched from their hotel as the casino burned, and the image stuck in the subconsious of singer, IAN GILLAN, who upon awakening the next morning, had the phrase 'smoke on the water' running through his brain. The band 'fleshed out' the remainder of the song based on that title. For the recording of the album, DEEP PURPLE had secured the use of The Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, and it was not what anyone would consider a 'simple' set-up to record...here is RITCHIE BLACKMORE's recollection of how things went: "We had the Rolling Stones' mobile recording unit sitting outside in the snow, but to get there we had to run cable through two doors in the corridor into a room, through a bathroom and into another room, from which it went across a bed and out the veranda window, then ran along the balcony for about 100 feet and came back in through another bedroom window. It then went through that room's bathroom and into another corridor, then all the way down a marble staircase to the foyer reception area of the hotel, out the front door, across the courtyard and up the steps into the back of the mobile unit. I think that setup led to capturing some spontaneity, because once we got to the truck for a playback, even if we didn't think it was a perfect take, we'd go, 'Yeah, that's good enough.' Because we just couldn't stand going back again."

The supporting tour for "Machine Head" took the band all over the world, including Japan, where they recorded the show for release as their definitive "Live" album, "Made In Japan." In addition to "Smoke On The Water," there are performances of "Lazy," "Space Truckin', " & "Highway Star" also included in the live set. For the inside gatefold of the live album, the band included a picture of the Montreaux Casino on fire...