Deep Purple almost lost the legendary Smoke on the Water riff because of armed police storming their studio

Ritchie Blackmore
(Image credit: Bob King/Redferns via Getty)

Whenever the conversation of the greatest guitar riffs of all time crops up, it isn’t long before the phrase Smoke on the Water is uttered. Such is the history of this Deep Purple classic, there’s no point wasting time mulling over just how iconic the humble four-note motif has become.

Despite its popularity, though, the world may have been without the hit riff had things panned out slightly differently when the English rock outfit were busy recording their sixth studio effort, Machine Head, back in the early ‘70s.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.