Smoke on the Water at the Montreux Casino

October 12, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

A View of Lake Geneva. Photo courtesy of bortescristian via Flickr.

A View of Lake Geneva. Photo courtesy of bortescristian via Flickr.

Music-lovers who find themselves in Switzerland should be sure to avail themselves of the Montreux Casino, the location that inspired the English rock band Deep Purple’s song “Smoke on the Water.” Fans of the group are sure to be amused by the visit, as well as impressed with the lovely accommodations and beautiful surroundings of Montreux.

Built in 1881, the lakeside casino in the city of the same name has long played host to many musical talents, and in the mid-1960s, was appointed as the site for the Montreux Jazz Festival. The Festival went on to include blues, soul and rock artists in the 1970s, and featured artists such as Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa. It was during a concert of the latter artist in 1971 that the casino burned down, caused by an overly enthusiastic fan setting off a flare gun.

Deep Purple, the members of which were in attendance that evening, describe the effect of the fire on the lake in the song’s lines, “We all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline / To make records with a mobile – We didn’t have much time / Frank Zappa & 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, fire in the sky.”

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Visitors to the Vaud canton who wish to take in a piece of musical history while enjoying the lovely ambiance of Lake Geneva will not be disappointed by a visit to the Montreux Casino, and should not miss it.

- John Reality

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