JustClik News and Blogs

Views, news and features about the Goulburn Valley. Showcasing a variety of local writers and their views.

Ludwig Von Beethoven's Hard Rock Legacy

Ludwig Von Beethoven's Hard Rock Legacy

Smoke on the Water is one of rock's most famous riffs and great rock anthems.  Most budding guitarists learn the riff but few realise the core of the song had been inspired by Ludwig Von Beethoven's Fifth.

Ritchie Blackmore wrote in rigid fourths to create the famous riff.  He had listened to Beethoven's Fifth and inverted it. "I should really owe Ludwig a lot of money," Blackmore said.

Another little known fact about the song is that folklore would have us believe it to be a drug song — which, in fact, it is not.  Blackmore had given it a name, "Title No. 1" before the words were created.

Blackmore had the skeleton of the song written thanks to Ludwig. He and Roger Glover (the bass player) often used to write the music first and later find the words. But on this particular day the words weren't coming.

The band had been in Montreux with their producer Claude Nobbs and the Rolling Stones Mobile, ready for the production of their "Machine Head" album.  They heard that Frank Zappa would be playing at the casino.

While watching the concert they saw Frank pause after looking up in the rafters when Frank screamed over the microphone, "Fire!!!"  The building was evacuated and Deep Purple returned to their digs and went to bed.

Roger Glover awoke early and was looking across Lake Geneva to witness the casino devastated and eery plumes of smoke drifting across the lake.  He thought: "Smoke on the Water" and from that the rest of the song is built around the happenings of that night.

"Smoke on the Water" went on to chart strongly around the world, including number two in Canada and number four in the US. The album "Machine Head" was a worldwide number one.  It stayed in the Top 100 for 25 weeks.  To put that into perspective, few albums with the exception of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" did better.

Glover and Blackmore did a simlar lyrics twist with the song "Black Night"  The boys were recording in a spooky place in the wilds of the UK.  It was a dark and stormy night but the words weren't coming, again. Then Glover said "Black Night, Ritchie." "Yes, that's it!"  More booze and some time passed and the rest of the lyrics revealed themselves.

So in simple terms it's about a dark night in a remote and scarey place while getting drunk and "not feeling right".

Many of Deep Purple's songs were written this way and it's great fun to research the riddles inside them.


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Rainbow Reprise — Is it Blackmore's Last Stand?

Rainbow Reprise — Is it Blackmore's Last Stand?

Rock legend Ritchie Blackmore is reforming Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow for what might amount to his last line up of the hard rock, AOR outfit.

The former Deep Purple guitarist who penned the rock classic "Smoke on the Water" is planning a three concert tour of Europe for June in Germany and the UK. No other dates have been announced at this stage.

Blackmore, 70, quit rock 'n' roll in 1997 and formed a medieval rock outfit with Candace Night. Since then Blackmore's Night has released nine studio albums.

"For past few months, Rainbow has been the frequent subject of reunion rumours, with singer Joe Lynn Turner — who fronted Rainbow from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of Purple from 1989 until 1992 — repeatedly claiming that Ritchie was "intching" to play rock music and insisting that he was in talks with the guitarist about a renewed collaboration. In a French newspaper Blackmore announced Rainbow would be doing a short tour, drawing from Deep Purple and Rainbow material.

However, Joe Lynn Turner is not included in the lineup. "I think that Joe will not be part of the adventure, and he doesn't know it yet. He does his thing, I like him, and I made good albums and good songs with him, like 'Street Of Dreams'. But I'm thinking about doing a mixture in the band, with famous people and not so famous ones. That's my state of mind at the moment, and you're the first person I talk to about it."

Blackmore will be joined by Lords of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert "Bob" Curiano, ex-Blackmore's Night).

"I'm doing this for the fans, for the nostalgia, and the singer I've found is very exciting — he's a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Freddy Mercury. So this will mean exposing a new singer to the masses — I'm sure he will become pretty famous because of his voice."

Famous for being the driving force of Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore has had a host of incredible talent surround him over the years.  Some of those names include Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White.  Generally a list of who's who in hard rock.

It will be interesting to see if he takes the new project any further than just the four concerts. Exciting times.

Concert tour


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