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4 December 2009

On this day in history: Montreux Casino fire, 1971

The Montreux Casino opened in November 1881 to provide entertainment for visitors to the Swiss resort on the shores of Lake Geneva. The casino developed a reputation as a music venue, attracting Stravinsky and Ravel. In the late 1960s, it also started hosting concerts by jazz, blues and rock artists, becoming the venue for the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967, under the direction of Claude Nobs.

On 3rd December 1971, Frank Zappa and the Mothers were playing a concert in the casino's ballroom when one of the audience fired a flare gun at the ceiling. The flare ignited the rattan covering of the ceiling and the fire soon spread, destroying the entire casino complex. Claude Nobs rescued several young people who had been sheltering in the casino. Fortunately, the fire caused only a few injuries and no fatalities.

The incident inspired Deep Purple to write "Smoke on the Water". They were in Montreux at the time, intending to record their new album in the casino using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio as the tourist season ended. The band eventually managed to record their album, Machine Head, which included "Smoke on the Water" at the Montreux Grand Hotel. The rebuilt Montreux Casino reopened in 1975 with its place in rock history assured.

Related posts
Great Fire of London destroyed St. Paul`s Cathedral: 4th September 1666
Stockholm Castle fire: 6th May 1697
Riot at premiere of Stravinsky`s Rite of Spring: 29th May 1913
King`s Cross Fire: 18th November 1987

8 comments:

Nami Dalufin said...

That was one of the interesting to know about the history of one of casino in the world. At least the casino was still rebuild and continue to serve people in Geneva.

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Celebrity Casino Gambler said...

The day when the Montreux Casino was on fire was really a shocking scene from the people who close to the area. The casino was popular not only in its casino gaming but also as a place where concerts are being held. I'm sure even if people are visiting more the online casino they still recognize and acknowledge the place where history took place.

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