2002   UK Classic Albums: Deep Purple - Machine Head
Classic Albums: Deep Purple - Machine Head Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Matthew Longfellow
Studio:Isis Productions
IMDb Rating:7.8 (74 votes)
Genre:Documentary, Music
Duration:55 min
Matthew Longfellow  ...  (Director)
  ...  (Writer)
Ritchie Blackmore  ...  Himself
Chris Charlesworth  ...  Himself
Ian Gillan  ...  Himself
Roger Glover  ...  Himself
Jon Lord  ...  Himself
Ian Paice  ...  Himself
Brad Tolinski  ...  Himself
Chris Welch  ...  Himself
Comments: 1. "Highway Star" – 6:05
2. "Maybe I'm a Leo" – 4:51
3. "Pictures of Home" – 5:03
4. "Never Before" – 3:56
5. "Smoke on the Water" – 5:40
6. "Lazy" – 7:19
7. "Space Truckin'" – 4:31

Summary: Within weeks of Fireball's release, the band was already performing songs planned for the next album. One song (which later became "Highway Star") was performed at the first gig of the Fireball tour, having been written on the bus to a show in Portsmouth, in answer to a journalist's question: "How do you go about writing songs?" Three months later, in December 1971, the band traveled to Switzerland to record Machine Head. The album was due to be recorded at a casino in Montreux, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, but a fire during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gig burned down the casino. The album was actually recorded at the nearby empty Grand Hotel. This incident famously inspired the song "Smoke on the Water." Gillan believes that he witnessed a man fire a flare gun into the ceiling during the concert, prompting Mark Volman of the Mothers to comment: "Arthur Brown in person!"

Continuing from where both previous albums left off, Machine Head has since become one of the band's most famous albums, including tracks that became live classics such as "Highway Star," "Space Truckin'," "Lazy," and "Smoke on the Water." Deep Purple continued to tour and record at a rate that would be rare thirty years on: when Machine Head was recorded, the group had only been together three and a half years, yet it was their seventh LP. Meanwhile the band undertook four US tours in 1972 and the August tour of Japan that led to a double-vinyl live release, Made in Japan. Originally intended as a Japan-only record, its worldwide release saw the double LP become an instant hit. It remains one of rock music's most popular and highest selling live-concert recordings (although at the time it was perhaps seen as less important, as only Glover and Paice turned up to mix it).

Original Recording

The conditions in which the original recordings were made are quite outstanding. Hiring the Rolling Stones Mobile One equipment and studios, the band recorded the entirety of the tracks in a Montreux hotel facility, with no overdubs. The "Smoke on the Water" lyrics' citation "Frank Zappa and the Mothers" refers to Zappa's show at a nearby casino. The casino burned down a few days before the start of scheduled Machine Head recording sessions.

A song entitled "When a Blind Man Cries" was recorded during these sessions, but not included on the album. Instead, it was used as a the B-side on the "Never Before" single. The song appears as a bonus track on the album's 25th anniversary edition.

The supporting tour for Machine Head included a trip to Japan that would later become the double-live Made in Japan album.

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