Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Rolling Truck Stones Thing"

Surely you know the story of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" by now, right? If you don't, go ahead and read this bit of history on the subject. What you may not know is that the band thought the song had no commercial potential and it took a year after the release of the album Machine Head for a single to be issued. This seems amazing in retrospect, but there's at least one bit of evidence in the song itself.

I'm referring to the line that serves as this entry's title: "Rolling truck Stones thing." My capitalization there may give you a hint that it refers to the Rolling Stones, and more specifically, the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. The "mobile" has a story at least as interesting as that behind "Smoke on the Water" itself. That phrasing, though - it's a bit odd, isn't it? The Rolling truck Stones thing?!?

I tend to think Ian Gillan was originally supposed to sing "Rolling Stones truck thing." I mean, that's logical, isn't it? Maybe he transposed the words in singing it, and since nobody considered the song anything other than a bonus, this was left intact. Why go to the trouble of fixing it?

What Deep Purple couldn't have known was that "Smoke on the Water" was their ticket to immortality. And as a result, the phrase "Rolling truck Stones thing" has become the correct version. I am sure it will confuse listeners for many generations to come.

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