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When an earthquake decimated parts of Armenia and killing between 25,000 to 50,000 people in 1988, the world was in shock. The USSR earmarked the equivalent of billions of dollars to help rebuild, the U.S. sent medical aid and search dogs, and people from all over Europe came to help. Perhaps the most surprising fundraising effort, though, came from a who’s who of rock and metal legends calling themselves Rock Aid Armenia. The supergroup, which featured Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Queen’s Brian May and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, among many others, recorded a cover of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” which made it into the U.K. Top 40.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the recording, Iommi and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, along with Rock Aid Armenia organizer Jon Dee, are traveling to Yerevan, Armenia. A documentary about the recording of “Smoke on the Water” will be screened, and the country’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, will be present at the gala. While there, they will also visit the Gyumri Musical School, which was built in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the charity single.


We all came out to Montereax,

On the Lake Geneva shoreline.

To make records with a mobile,

We didn't have much time.

But 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 and fire in the sky.

Smoke on the water...

They burned down the gambling house,

It died with an awful sound.

(Uh) Funky Claude was running in and out,

Pulling kids out the ground.

When it all was over,

We had to find another place.

But Swiss time was running out,

It seemed that we would lose the race.

Smoke on the water and fire in the sky.

Smoke on the water...

We ended up at the Grand Hotel.

It was empty cold and bare.

But with the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside,

Making our music there.

With a few red lights, a few old beds,

We made a place to sweat.

No matter what we get out of this,

I know I know we'll never forget.

Smoke on the water and fire in the sky.

Smoke on the water...


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