Machine Head (the band) yesterday, Machine Head (the album) today – and you might think the band was named after the album but you’d be wrong: Machine Head singer Robb Flynn just thought the name ‘Machine Head’ sounded cool. It’s probably why Deep Purple chose the name as well.

Machine Head (the album) turns fifty this week. It’s actually got an interesting story behind it: the band had planned to record the album at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland (home of the famed Montreux Jazz Festival) using a mobile recording studio after a final show by Frank Zappa. However, the casino burnt to the ground after a Zappa fan fired a flare into the ceiling.

Deep Purple relocated to the Grand Hotel, on the edge of Montreux, and subsequently wrote arguably their most famous song, “Smoke On The Water” about the experience; it leads off Side B of this record.

Machine Head is one of those albums that any rock or metal fan has heard a dozen times. Opener “Highway Star” is a hard rock classic (and a piece of sheer genius), aforementioned “Smoke On The Water” is a rite of passage for any guitar player, and closer “Space Truckin'” – with its refrain of ‘Come on! Come on! Come on!’ – is instantly recognisable, and features a virtuoso drum performance (courtesy of Ian Paice). This is a brilliant album.

CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.