The Story of Funky Claude (“Smoke on the Water” Fans, Pay Attention)

If you’ve ever paid attention to the lyrics of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” you may know that it’s based on a true story of a recording session gone wrong at a casino complex in Switzerland.

The song contains the line “Funky Claude was running in and out/Pulling kids out of the ground,” a description of the chaos that followed when a fire started as the result of a flare gun going off in the audience.

Claude was a real person.  Claude Nobs was a co-founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival.  He died last week after a skiing accident that left him in a coma.

Classic Rock has more on Claude here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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