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Smoke on the Water, Redux : Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” Goes Super Deluxe in October for 40th Anniversary

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So…the super deluxe box sets just keep on coming!

The latest addition to the growing array of titles is a 40th anniversary of Deep Purple’s 1972 Machine Head album.  EMI promises to explore every nook and cranny of this stone-cold hard rock classic, considered by many as a benchmark in the development of the metal genre.  It remains the British band’s most successful album, having topped the charts in the U.K. and reached a Top 10 placing in the U.S., and introduced the hit single “Smoke on the Water.”  Due on October 8 in the U.K., Its five discs (four CDs and one DVD) will be laid out as follows:

  • CD 1: Original Album Remaster (2012)
  • CD 2: 25th Anniversary Remix by Roger Glover (1997)
  • CD 3: Original Album Quad SQ Stereo Remaster (2012)
  • CD 4: In Concert ‘72 (Recorded live at Paris Theatre, London on March 9, 1972) (2012 Mix)
  • DVD: 2012 High-resolution Remaster and Surround Mix (2012)

The story of Machine Head begins at Switzerland’s Montreux Casino, where the band planned to record its upcoming album using the Rolling Stones’ mobile truck.  The venue was set to close for refurbishment over the winter months following a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention on December 4, 1971.  During that period of closure, Deep Purple would have usage for recording purposes.  While Zappa and the Mothers were performing the composer’s grand “King Kong,” an audience member fired a flare into the building’s ceiling.  The roof caught fire, which quickly spread.  The building burnt down as chronicled in “Smoke on the Water,” the song which would open Side Two of the album later christened Machine Head: “We all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline / To make records with a mobile, we didn’t have much time / Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around / But some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground / Smoke on the water, fire in the sky…”

Following the devastating fire, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice regrouped, and the album was recorded instead at Montreux’s Grand Hotel between December 6 and 21.  It was released in March 1972 on EMI’s Purple label, and hit the top spot on the British charts within one week of its release.  Machine Head remained there for two weeks before returning in May for a further week.  It did almost as well in the U.S., where it was released on Warner Bros. Records and reached No. 7.  It remained on the charts for two years.

Hit the jump for a run-down on the box set’s contents and how the upcoming edition compares to past reissues!

Machine Head has been oft-reissued over the years.  The most lavish version to date was a 1997 2-CD set, which contained a second disc of bassist Roger Glover’s remixed version of the album, plus the B-side “When a Blind Man Cries” (the flip of “Never Before”) and two quadraphonic tracks mixed down to stereo: “Maybe I’m a Leo” and “Lazy.”  This edition arrived in the U.K. from EMI and in America from Warner Bros. Records and Rhino.  In 2001, Rhino released Machine Head in the DVD-Audio format; the DVD-A’s 5.1 mix was subsequently reissued by the label’s Japanese arm in 2011 on a hybrid SACD.  A 2003 U.K. SACD offered the original four-channel quadraphonic mix (and the stereo mix in high-resolution).  In 2010, Audio Fidelity reissued the original album on 24K Gold CD, mastered by Steve Hoffman.

The new box set includes a 2012 remaster of the original album and the stereo version of the quadraphonic mix, each on a separate CD.  A third CD offers the 1997 remix as heard on the 25th anniversary edition.  (No word yet on whether B-side “When a Blind Man Cries,” from that edition, will be included on one of the discs here.)  A fourth CD offers a new mix of Deep Purple’s March 9, 1972 London concert, previously issued as Deep Purple in Concert on a truncated LP and complete CD (as of this writing available for less dough than some beverages at your local coffeehouse!), and as Live on the BBC on SACD.  The DVD promises the new high-resolution remaster as well as a surround mix.  As of yet, it’s not clear whether the surround mix will be a new one, and whether it will be in DVD-Audio format.  It’s all housed in a box with a 60-page hardback book including essays from Roger Glover, journalist Phil Alexander and photographer Didi Zill, whose photographs of the recording sessions are included.

The 40th Anniversary Machine Head is set for release on October 8 anc can be ordered below!

Deep Purple, Machine Head: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI U.K., 2012)

The Original Album (CD 1, 2, 3, DVD – see above for further information)

  1. Highway Star
  2. Maybe I’m a Leo
  3. Pictures of Home
  4. Never Before
  5. Smoke on the Water
  6. Lazy
  7. Space Truckin’

In Concert ’72 (CD 4)

  1. Highway Star
  2. Strange Kind of Woman
  3. Maybe I’m a Leo
  4. Never Before
  5. Lazy
  6. Space Truckin’
  7. Smoke on the Water
  8. Lucille

Written by Joe Marchese

August 13, 2012 at 10:48

Posted in Box Sets, Deep Purple, News

7 Responses

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  1. Recycled material in a new package. Pass.


    August 13, 2012 at 11:25

  2. Any word on the 25th Anniversary edition of the DP comeback album Perfect Strangers which is supposed to be expanded to a 3 disc deluxe edition?

    The 40th anniversary of Machine Head looks cool but I would have to think about it. I think the 2 disc 25th annivesary edition is enough.


    August 13, 2012 at 15:45

    • As for the “Perfect Strangers” expanded edition and the proposed expanded editions of Rainbow’s “On Stage” & “Long Live Rock n’Roll”, the reason that they haven’t been released(and may never be released) is because Ritchie Blackmore is very difficult to negotiate with. In fact, most Deep Purple or Deep Purple-related expanded editions take(typically) 2 years from conception to release because of the difficulty of getting Blackmore’s permission. This all started when EMI proceeded without asking Blackmore for permission for the 1997 2-CD “Machine Head”. Blackmore had some grievance, likely because he heard alternate guitar solos on the new stereo remixes of some songs(and those alternate solos had been there on the 1970’s quadraphonic mix). Apparently, the reason for that, is because after the original stereo mixes had been completed, Ritchie Blackmore decided that perhaps he could improve on the recordings by re-recording several of his guitar solos. In the end, it was decided that the solos in the original mixes were best after all. But, for several songs, Ritchie Blackmore’s “improved” re-recorded solos are the only ones that exist on the 16-track tapes today. Those re-recorded solos are heard on any & every remixes, whether stereo, quadraphonic or 5.1 surround.
      But ever since Blackmore complained about the 1997 2-CD set, it has been highly difficult to get Blackmore’s permission for any release. EMI & other labels releasing Blackmore or Deep Purple recordings now bend over backwards to get Blackmore’s permission.

      Philip Cohen

      August 13, 2012 at 22:18

      • He always was a moody sod!

        Simon Franklin

        August 14, 2012 at 08:46

  3. Never mind this one album. How about a box set of Purple’s entire EMI/Harvest catalogue inc. live albums etc. There was a 10 CD set from Japan some years ago which now changes hands for silly money. If EMI can do it for Whitesnake a la the excellent Box Of Snakes collection, then they can surely do the same for Purple…

    Simon Franklin

    August 13, 2012 at 18:12

  4. How does the 2003 quad SACD compare to the 2001 DVD-audio?


    August 14, 2012 at 08:46

  5. I think you (or someone!) means “25th Anniversary Remix”…


    August 22, 2012 at 00:34

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