On December 4, 1971, Deep Purple was in the Swiss seaside town to record the Machine Head album using a mobile recording studio, rented by the Rolling Stones and known as the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.
On the eve of the recording, Frank Zappa gave a concert at the Casino Theater. During the performance, a member of the audience threw a flare on the roof of the building. Although the audience was initially unaware of the incident, about an hour after the shooting, people began to see flames emerging. The administration ordered a controlled evacuation. Shortly after evacuating everyone safely, the building caught fire.
Deep Purple looked for other recording locations and settled in the Grand Hotel, on the edge of Montreux, with the mobile studio parked at the main entrance. These events, and especially the casino fire, became the inspiration for the song “Smoke on the Water”.