Claude Nobs, who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967 and built it into an international phenomenon far more famous than the small Swiss resort town where it was held — and far more musically inclusive than the term “jazz festival” would suggest — died last week.
Claude of course, was known by rock fans as "Funky Claude" who was "running in and out" in the second verse of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water," a song that contains arguably the most familiar guitar riff in rock.
The song’s lyric was based on an incident in December 1971, when the Montreux Casino caught fire during a performance by Frank Zappa. (The members of Deep Purple were in Montreux at the time to record and perform, and witnessed the fire from their hotel.) Mr. Nobs helped members of the audience evacuate the casino, and his actions were acknowledged in the lyric.
This version of the song is live from Montreaux in 2006.