Claude Nobs died on January 10th 2013. He had been in a coma in hospital following a fall during a skiing holiday on Christmas Eve.
While the media are rightly concentrating on his amazing work for the town of Montreux over the last fifty years, not least the founding and running of the town’s famous Jazz Festival, within the world of Deep Purple, he will forever be ‘Funky Claude’, immortalised by Ian Gillan in the lyrics of their best known recording Smoke On The Water. Without Claude’s expertise and local knowledge, Deep Purple would probably have had to abandon their December 1971 recording session, which produced the Machine Head album. Having organised time in the Montreux Casino, following the fire which destroyed the building, Claude (snapped helping man the fire hoses during the inferno) put aside his own immediate worries to help them make alternative arrangements within the Grand Hotel. Smoke On The Water was penned by Gillan to document the whole experience. In recent years Deep Purple have been regular performers at the festival, which grew to encompass all genre’s of popular music. Claude reminisced about his experiences during the Machine Head period in the Classic Rock Machine Head special recently.
February 4, 1936 – January 10, 2013
SR. Thanks also to Tim Summers and Martin Ashberry. Photo courtesy of the official history of the Jazz festival.