Yes the riffs are great, the vocals superb but I think not enough respect has been given to the "backing band" For me the best bit of "Smoke on the water" is the bit where the bass kicks in. And so it goes on with some of the best bass, keys and drums around, often lost in the overwhelming praise heaped on Gillan/Coverdale and Blackmore.
So listen to "that" riff once more but get behind it and listen, really listen to the other guys
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