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Break a leg, Frank

The much touted video for the remix of Smoke on the Water has arrived.

Thanks to Uwe Hornung and Mike Whiteley for the heads-up.

44 Comments to “Break a leg, Frank”:

  1. 1
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    A nice little production. Ironically, Frank Zappa did end up breaking his leg shortly thereafter when a crazy fan attacked him on stage, right? Someone correct me on that.

  2. 2
    mike whiteley says:

    Spot on animation,but it’s a “one and done” curiosity for me.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Video killed the radio star, video killed the radio star! I cannot listen to this, that mix is absolutely terrible. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    To all ye naysayers: That mix is vibrant as fuck!

  5. 5
    Wiktor says:

    Great video! The remix sounds good..very good.. and the last minute of seeing them all live from 1973 was a great touch.
    having said that… we all know that the best version ever of SOTW can be found on Made in Japan.

  6. 6
    Armando says:

    Greatest production.

  7. 7
    John M. says:

    The 8pm GMT premiere had a short intro with both Ian’s and Roger introducing it separately. That part doesn’t seem to be available online.

  8. 8
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @1: Yes, he did and that is what IG is referring to with that comment.

  9. 9
    EyalOl says:

    Does anyone know the original length of the song? What are the different lengths of each version? How many versions are there for this song? I remember the original on the album that came out was less than five minutes, Roger Glover made it a little longer and this makes it even longer. Am I right ? I would appreciate an answer from one of you.

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I hadn‘t known that! And it was apparently a very close call, not just a broken leg:

    “Frank Zappa’s live shows, much like his albums, were regarded as much for their irreverent playfulness as their technical virtuosity: They were wildly unpredictable, genre-hopping musical sideshows that united freaks and misfits of all varieties.

    But on Dec. 10, 1971, that chaotic unpredictability turned ugly, when disgruntled fan Trevor Charles Howell pushed Zappa off the stage.

    The band thought I was dead,” Zappa later recalled in his 1989 autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book. “My head was over on my shoulder, and my neck was bent like it was broken. I had a gash in my chin, a hole in the back of my head, a broken rib, and a fractured leg. One arm was paralyzed.”

    The vicious attack forced the band to cancel the remaining dates of their tour, leaving Zappa wheelchair-bound for nearly a year. Though he would eventually recover from his injuries, he did suffer chronic back pain throughout his life – and many fans suspect Zappa’s crushed larynx was the ultimate reason for his switch to a deeper, huskier vocal delivery. His next two studio albums, 1972’s Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, were full of richly layered jazz-fusion instrumentals.”


    I assume that Ian when he quipped that line was unaware of how serious the injuries were. Anyway, the family Zappa seems to have forgiven him.

  11. 11
    Chris99 says:

    Each Remix takes us away from that dynamic studio performance that was magically captured and presented to us (non-digitally) on vinyl.

    This Remix admitedly, sounds pretty good through the 7mm speaker on my phone. It however sounds really poor played next to the original on my hi-fi system.

    On the new super deluxe MH release there is also a “2024 Remaster”, apparently, maybe that will sound good? Afterall the 2018 “In Rock” vinyl Remaster sounds amazing, for those who’ve not heard it yet.

    Note – there is also a 2016 vinyl version of “In Rock” – don’t confuse it with the 2018 one!

  12. 12
    Friedhelm says:

    I really like the video. Reminds of the video of “The Surprising”, which I lover also.

  13. 13
    Kevin S says:

    I watched because there’s been so much said about it, won’t bother again, not that bothered about music videos seen enough to forget most.
    As for the new mix, awful! What have they/he done to Ritchie’s guitar, it’s all fuzzed and phased, dreadfully and at points Jon’s keyboards sound tiny and plinky plonk. Two years late, and not worth the wait.

  14. 14
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    @8 In the concert version in March 1972, yes. But my question is, during the original recording when Gillan said, “Break a leg, Frank!”, whether Zappa had already broken his leg. I realize that, on the Machine Head album, you don’t hear Gillan saying that, because producer Martin Birch did not include it. But on other mixes from that same, original recording you can hear Gillan say “Break a leg, Frank!”. I know the bed track for ‘Smoke on the Water’ had already been recorded a day or two after the fire. But the vocals were recorded a few days later at a different location – pretty close to the time Frank Zappa was pulled off the stage by a crazed fan and broke his leg.

  15. 15
    Kalle says:

    The original ist the original and I love it – but this mix is really great, punchy and powerful, with a nice ending and a very prominent bass!
    Well done. I like the Viny-crackles in the beginnign.

    I like it more then the 1997 remix, which has some weird Blackmore fills.

    Nice Gillan scrams at the ending, too.

    And a very well done animated video with nice homamge to Claude Nobs and Martin Birch.

  16. 16
    Gregster says:


    I don’t know what all the complaints are about, as the mix only has a far clearer bass, & keyboards. It doesn’t sound too different from the original, so I suggest those that dislike it, give MH a spin…

    The animation is very-well-one, congratulations ! Always good to see JL grooving-out, even as a cartoon yo !

    Peace !

  17. 17
    jens says:

    On fire!

  18. 18
    Andrew M says:

    Did anyone notice the references to at least two album covers–Fireball and then The Battle Rages On?

    Also, has any previous version run to the very end of the studio tapes as this one does? I liked that all of Jon’s soloing at the end is included.

  19. 19
    Jet Auto Jerry says:

    Yeah, watched the video today and gotta agree w/Gregster that it doesn’t sound that much different (at least until the end), but I was only listening with the TV soundbar. It’s a decent sounding unit, but it’s still only a soundbar system so I will reserve judgement until I can give it a better listen.

  20. 20
    janbl says:

    “Did anyone notice the references to at least two album covers–Fireball and then The Battle Rages On?”

    Yes, and “Space Truckin'”.

  21. 21
    john hogg says:

    Love it, punchy, bright and alive

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    janbl @20: Sure I noticed, but what is the deeper meaning to both Ritchie and Roger playing non-Strats, i.e. non-Rics in the beginning, yet by the time they perform on the lorry bed Ritchie has his trusted Strat and Roger his Rickenbacker 4001?

    No bass other than his Ric was used by Roger on MH (and his classic Ric sound permeates the album as it does Made In Japan and Who Do We Think We Are). And while the album’s name-inspiring head stock with machine heads*** pictured on the back belongs to a Fender Precision,



    no Fender bass was actually used on the album. [A Ric headstock with machine heads would have looked like this:


    https://www.vintage-guitar.de/img/vintage/2192/Rickenbacker-4001-1978_fireglow-006.JPG ]

    If I’m honest, the fact that I much prefer the sound of MH, MIJ and WDWTWA to the one of In Rock and Fireball has a hell of a lot to do with Roger finding his sonic calling with the Ric 4001. Neither his bass sound on In Rock (Fender Precision) nor on Fireball (Fender Mustang) are something to write home about, they are at best okay’is, but once he got his hands on a Ric he just bloomed and it became an immediately distinguishable component of the classic Mk II sound.

    ***Incidentally, are you all aware how lucky we got that the Mk II guys were British? Had they been Yanks, that album would NOT have been imposingly called “Machine Head”, but – what a letdown – somewhat anticlimactic “tuner” 🤣, i.e. the nondescript US term for “machine head”.

    Which leads me to the further question: Who on earth had the idea to name the album after the (meanwhile archaic) English term for a piece of guitar/bass mechanical hardware? Did Roger use the term “machine head” while tuning up at one point and the others liked how it sounded? Or did they first do a sketch of the cover shoot for MH before having arrived at an album name and Roger made a comment in passing on the envisaged back sleeve and they only then decided to emboss “MACHINE HEAD” on the front sleeves metal sheet background? Maybe the 50th Anniversary release will let us know?

    I always dug the name of the album, but I believe that very few people outside of (older, the term isn’t used much anymore, “tuner” is much more prevalent today) guitar and bass players know what a “machine head” actually is.



  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    Oh come on Uwe, even us drummers know they are called machine heads! Sheeesh a little credit every now & then would be nice, he he he. Seriously I have never heard them called ‘tuners’. Maybe living under this rock all the way out here some could assume we are out of touch, but I doubt it. Myself I have always thought the album title (well after a little while as a youngster & I learnt what a machine head actually was) that it could represent precision or finely tuned or something along those lines. Not bad eh & that thought was well before I turned into a’drummer’. Cheers.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    For any ‘uninitiated’ bass guitarists out there, well one in particular who resides in Germany somewhere. Perhaps the DP album from 1972 could have been named something else. After all it isn’t only guitars that have machined parts as such. This could get ‘complicated’ but hopefully not. Cheers.


  25. 25
    MacGregor says:

    A ‘image’ of Blackmore with Abba. Cheers.


  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    A mustached eye witness of the Casino burning – prior to breaking a leg …


  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    Break a leg is an old showbiz saying meaning ‘good luck’ etc. Gillan being into double entendre’s most probably meant it either way. Treading the boards etc. I cannot imagine the Zappa family ever having an issue with that at all. Does humour belong in music? That is why I said it a few weeks back in regards to Dweezil mixing the Machine Head album. Good luck with that Dweezil, you are treading the boards there in more ways than one, he he he. Cheers.

  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    So there you have it Uwe, the ‘new’ DP album back then could have been called ‘LUG’ as in a essential machined drum accessory of enduring quality. As we know that word can mean a few different things but as the band were touring incessantly, it could relate to them ‘lugging’ all their equipment around the planet continually. The two guitarist must have persuaded the others that a machine head was much more akin to their own scenario. Cue Jon Lord ‘I am over lugging this Hammond around, my back is killing me’. Ian Paice ‘your back, I have to lug all these drums around plus the cymbals & stands’. Blackmore & Glover ‘stop your whinging we have to lug all these Marshall’s around & stack them sky high every night’. Of course Ian Gillan is relaxing enjoying a cup of tea & the daily crossword & wearing that wry grin he is known for, ‘shut up all of you, what about me I have to lug this mike around & also the stand’. The bongos I have passed off to Paicey as their drum related’. So the new DP album in 1972 should have been called LUG. Cheers.

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That MacGregor character, sigh, a constant source of disruptive mischief …

    It figures that you as a subject of His Majesty and (voluntary or non-voluntary) inhabitant of one of his more remote former penal colonies would advocate ‘machine head’ over ‘tuner’, but to most Yanks it’s as alien a word as saying “scratch plate” instead of “pick guard” on a guitar or “lorry” instead of “truck”.

    And no, “Machine Head” (the album) does not refer to the tension rods of a drum head that push or pull the lugs on the drum body to tune the skins, but to in fact what is otherwise known as a guitar or bass tuner (or tuning machine): Roger Glover once confirmed so, in the same interview where he clarified that the machine heads pictured on the back sleeve of MH do not belong to the Rickenbacker 4001 bass he used for the recording, but to his Fender Precision Bass (he had owned one since Episode Six days, but never liked how it recorded with Purple).

    “Break a leg” is indeed artist speak, but also has an interesting German-Jewish background. How so? It’s a translation from the German “Hals- und Beinbruch!”,

    pronounced “hullz oont bine-brooch” (the ‘ch’-ending as in the guttural ‘ach’ sound)


    and literally meaning: ‘neck and leg break!’, a similar idiom of wishing someone luck in the arts or sports.

    But the origins of “Hals- und Beinbruch!” go back to the Yiddish “hatslokhe un brokhe” which in turn is derived from the Hebrew “hazlacha uwracha” – both meaning “success and blessings!”. Now if you pronounce “hazlacha uwracha” sloppily, you arrive at something that sounds phonetically like the above “Hals- und Beinbruch” in German. So a Hebrew blessing morphed into a spoofily-phonetic German idiom (supposedly confusing ill spirits by wishing something negative) and from there was translated into English eventually. Lost & found in translation so to say.

    Yup, you can call me a cunning linguist – slurp! 😜 (= our daily dose of double entendres, Tasmanian …)

  30. 30
    Uwe Hornung says:

    janbl wrote:

    “He’s not in this clip though, but who cares?


    True, he’d only distract me from Frida’s and Agnetha’s skirt lengths – or the absence thereof. Very sustainable these Swedes, saving on silk raw material exactly where it counts!


    Ritchie digging ABBA is an old hat, he came out with it as early as 1979/80 when he mentioned it in interviews while promoting Down To Earth and his (then newly discovered?) love for good pop + hummable melodies. He mentioned Blondie in that same interview too.

    It doesn’t surprise me one bit: ABBA and Deep Purple share pronounced European song structures, a healthy does of neo-classical influences and an overarching penchant for neatly engineered, streamlined arrangements.

    And I always found that Jon Lord, in his more pastoral English classical music moments (sometimes bordering on twee) wasn’t that far removed from Benny Andersson’s Nordic melodicism …


    Jon’s ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’ TV series soundtrack from 1984 sure sounded ABBA’esque to me:




  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Seeing Jon as a cartoon figure somehow reminded me of this here:


    I know, it’s only a diminutive ‘monument’, but we’ve all been told repeatedly that size doesn’t matter. Supposedly.

  32. 32
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Part II of Uwe confusing threads, what I posted in #30 above belongs to “Ritchie at alcoholic ease in the tavern”, while this his belongs here:

    Two stray finds while I was looking for Jon’s Country Diary music:


    Jon with Hayley Westenra, a Kiwi lass no less, but here on German telefffishün in 2004:


  33. 33
    MacGregor says:

    Splitting hairs again? With respect Uwe I din’t advocate the wording of machine head, as I said that is what I know them as, as all the other guitarists I have known also called them that. I have never heard them called ‘tuners’, not to my memory at least which is still rather good. I did say I was hoping this wouldn’t get ‘complicated’. Looking the wording up just now & it appears both are still used widely in todays musical world, no matter which ‘side’ you are on. In regards to the Machine Head album cover, the Lug would have to appear on the cover to enable such a thing. A nice shimmering slightly distorted image perhaps. I respect that it wouldn’t look as musical as such, but someone has to put the boot in for the drumming fraternity & also other musicians. “I always dug the name of the album, but I believe that very few people outside of (older, the term isn’t used much anymore, “tuner” is much more prevalent today) guitar and bass players know what a “machine head” actually is”. Cheers.

  34. 34
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Well they could have always packed the coming 50th Anniversary set into one of Paicey’s behemoth live use bass drums. Makes a nice coffee table too.

    But really, drumming equipment is a bit like gynecologist instruments, yes, they’re needed, but do you really want to take a closer look? 🤦‍♂️

  35. 35
    Michael Lorentzen says:

    @ 30 Uwe, have you been to The ABBA museum in Stockholm? A woman of mine dragged me there a few years back and to my surprice Ritchie have his own corner there, quite nice actually. Most members of ABBA have said they liked deep purple back in the day. Also people like Janne Schaffer have praised Purple.

  36. 36
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I haven’t, Michael, unfortunately, but I heard about the temporary rock guitar exhibition there a few years ago, Blackmore being featured as well.

    Not surprised about ABBA liking Purple either, as I’ve written before there are similarities in the music. And in Scandinavia – much like in Germany – in the early 70ies, who did not like or at least appreciate Purple?! They could do no wrong back then.

    One listen to the first track ‘Halkans Affair’ of Janne Schaffer’s excellent debut album from 1973 tells you that the man must have had an ear for Ritchie’s work.


    But he must have also listened to Tommy Bolin on Billy Cobham’s Spectrum, just listen to the second track ‘No Registration’.

  37. 37
    Micke says:

    @ 36 I got the impression that Ritchie was a fixed piece of the museum..? I saw Janne Schaffer play with Bjorn J:son Lindh at my school (high school) in the late seventies.. 🙂
    Just about all of the people I knew in those days had plentiful of Purple albums. ABBA was frowned on for a long time, but eventually I got around to buy some of their albums. Purple had three no 1 albums in Sweden despite the big sellers In Rock, Machine Head and Made in Japan never got that high in those days.

  38. 38
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Micke, your knowledge of the museum is obviously better than mine, I bow to you!

    I was smitten by ABBA – visually and musically – the moment I first saw and heard them at the Brighton ESC. “Waterloo” was to me a glam rock classic with elements of Wizzard/Roy Wood and Elton John.

    What I appreciated the most about them was how they evolved and changed their style – often from single to single -, yet were always immediately recognizable. I taped their 1975 “ABBA” 2nd album and their 1976 “Arrival” third LP for home use at the same time as I was immersing myself in DP and Status Quo (by the way: ABBA fans as well!).

    And appreciation of them was not just limited to me as a hard rock kid: “Arrival” was positively reviewed by the New Musical Express in the Summer of Punk! They sniffed a little at the lyrics (“not fully mastered the finer points of the English language yet” – you know how those arrogant, non-bilingual Brits are 😜 …), but saw it as a mature work promising things for the future of the band. By the latish 70ies, German musician magazines like the “Fachblatt” (otherwise committed to bands like Weather Report or Return To Forever) would write things like “no matter what you think of them, there is profound musicality in their songs”.

    But I can very well imagine that in Sweden acceptance of the “prophets in their own land” was a bit more hesitant. You won’t find too many German serious music listeners that will admit tapping their foot to Modern Talking either (for the avoidance of doubt: I’m not in any way saying that Modern Talking is anywhere near ABBA in terms of musicality!). And there’s a lot of people in Germany that find anything by the Scorpions cringeworthy.

    Back to ABBA, I mean they went from “chirpy chirpy cheep”-bubblegum in the Middle of the Road (the Scottish pop band) vein like this in 1973

    (with Janne Schaffer and Rutger Gunnarsson in the vid!)

    to sophisticated compositions like this one here in 1977 (a time span of merely four years):


    where they go through multiple different, yet all brilliantly dramatic music parts before they repeat a musical motif for the first (!) time at 02:06 – among pop singles that is pretty much unheard of. It’s a complex composition, yet at the same time unbelievably catchy and enduring – no mean feat.

    ABBA is a Swedish national treasure alongside Raoul Wallenberg, Volvo, Olof Palme, IKEA, Ingmar Bergman, Wasabröd, Rebecca Ferguson (I’m seeing Dune 2 tonight!), the Saab 35 Draken (of course), Max von Sydow and, yes, Yngwie Malmsteen. OWN UP TO IT! 😎

  39. 39
    Uwe Hornung says:

    PS: Incredible, I forgot Astrid Lindgren and her …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR7ablt3etU ,

    un-for-giv-able, jag ber om ursäkt!!!

  40. 40
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The first link for the ABBA song (Ring Ring) in #38 featuring Janne and Rutger was incomplete:


  41. 41
    Micke says:

    @ 38 I like The Visitors.. Till Lindeman confessed that his first “real” album was.. Stormbringer by.. you probably know who. Rammstein last year in Gothenburg was the best music I’ve seen in years and years together with an old love that actually went with me in 1975 in Gothenburg to the mk III concert there. We had not seen each other since then.. ha ha.

  42. 42
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I like Rammstein too, but their music – perfectly rendered as it is – is a one trick pony. If you leave aside their Third Reich/Leni Riefenstahl visuals (I know the band doesn’t lean politically that way, much to the contrary), I always hear them as a mix of Accept/Judas Priest gargantuan riff-o-rama with elements of DAF’s 80ies dance floor Elektro added.


    I’ve never understood why Rammstein haven’t covered that number, it is so appropriate for them. I guess they are scared of the ensuing uproar if they repeated today DAF’s nihilist “Dance the Mussolini!” and “Dance the Adolf Hitler!” (for the avoidance of doubt, DAF weren’t fascists either, but gay Berlin counter culture).

    And while I found Rammstein’s never-ending quest for taboo-breaking lyrics entertaining at first, that too has become long in the tooth by now. Not sure how apparent that is to non-German speaking international audiences. Whenever a new Rammstein album is announced, I lean back and go: “Ok, what unappetizing subject have they dug out this time?” In a way, they are as predictable as AC/DC.

    Seeing them live is of course an utterly professional overwhelming of the senses, they are rightfully legendary for that and internationally revered.

  43. 43
    Micke says:

    Indeed, the live experience is what I like with Rammstein. I don’t listen much to the albums, I have none. Sometimes at Spotify. But the show was amazing and we felt the heat if you know what I mean.. For those who misinterpret Rammstein they are not nazists, quite the opposite.

  44. 44
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I don’t have issues with their ‘Nürnberg Rally Reichsparteitag’-live aesthetics, it’s tongue in cheek “pulling-the-German-monster-from-underneath-the-bed-for-all-the-world-to-see” and part of their taboo-breaking credo. It just gets a bit samey to me after a while, like seeing KISS live (which you really don’t have to do more than once).

    But I respect Rammstein for having forged an original sound, their longevity, plus Till Lindemann is not a bad poet/lyricist if he really puts his mind to it and forgets about the shock value for a moment. I believe my favorite album of theirs is “Mutter”, ironically the one where they felt they lost the plot a little and strayed too far from their recipe.


    Whenever I put on Rammstein, my wife immediately flees the scene, she can’t stand Lindemann’s martial vocal tone! And finds the Leni Riefenstahl-visuals disconcerting and unsettling.


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