Saturday, March 17, 2007

242. Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972)

Track Listing

1. Highway Star
2. Maybe I'm A Leo
3. Pictures Of Home
4. Never Before
5. Smoke On The Water
6. Lazy
7. Space Truckin'


This is an album which has lost a lot with time, not because of the quality of the album itself but the way in which it was appropriated. I am sure that in 1972 this would have been something else, but after decades of Smoke On The Water it becomes little more than a parody of itself. Not only that but even other good tracks here like Highway Star have so many things that were later taken up by hair bands in the 80's that it just becomes funny.

Of course the album itself is impressive if you go back to 1972 in a time machine,and it is still a lot of fun to listen to today, it has a lot of kitsch value indeed, and when Smoke On The Water comes on it's always a highlight, but then you get lyrics like those in Space Truckin' and you can't help but smirk. Maybe they were just simpler times when we weren't all jaded and cynical.

So there is a lot of fun to be had here, but also a lot of embarrasment it is nearly impossible to take this seriously, and that is also a measure of how influential the album was. Nonetheless In Rock was the better album, maybe because it wasn't so influential... give me Child In Time over Smoke on The Water anyday. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Smoke On The Water
2. Highway Star
3. Lazy
4. Never Before

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Smoke on the Water" was included on Machine Head, which was released in early 1972, but was not released as a single until nearly a year later (the band has said that they did not expect the song to be a hit); the single would reach #4 on the Billboard pop single chart in the U.S. in the summer of 1973, and propel the album to the top 10. Live performance of the tune, featuring extended interplay between Blackmore's guitar and Jon Lord's Hammond organ would become a centerpiece of Deep Purple's live shows, and a version of the song from the live album Made in Japan became a minor hit on its own later in 1973.

The principal song-writers understandably included the song within their subsequent solo endeavours after Deep Purple split up. Ian Gillan in particular performed a jazz-influnced version in early solo concerts. The band Gillan adopted a feedback-soaked approach, courtesy of Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme.The song was also featured live by Ritchie Blackmore's post-Deep Purple band Rainbow during their tours 1981-83, and again after Rainbow were resurrected briefly in the mid 1990's.

During Ian Gillan's stint with Black Sabbath in 1983, they performed "Smoke on the Water" as a regular repertoire number on encores during their only tour together.

The song is commonly the first song learned by many beginner guitarists, but Blackmore himself has demonstrated that most who attempt to play it do so improperly. This power chord-driven variation on the main recognisable riff is not difficult and consequently is constantly played by learners. In fact, the song is so popular, that one famous guitar store in Denmark Street, London, used to sport a sign on the wall reading "If auditioning a guitar, please refrain from playing 'Smoke on the Water,' as this is causing our staff mental torture." In the book The Log by Craig Charles, one of the items in the list of things never to do before reaching the age of thirty is learning the riff from 'Smoke on the Water'.

Smoke On The Water:

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