Claude Nobs

Claude Nobs, the man behind the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival passed away on January 10 after a skiing accident during Christmas.

Nobs co-founded the jazz festival in 1967 with pianist Geo Voumard and journalist Rene Langel and with backing from Atlantic Records President, Nesuhi Erteguen.

Rock fans will know Nobs as Funky Claude from Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water,” which recalls a fire at the Montreaux festival in 1971.

Quincy Jones tweeted: "There are no words to express the deep sorrow and hollowness in my heart that comes with news of Claude Nobs.”

Keith Emerson, told Progrockmag.com: “Claude was responsible for turning a sleepy Swiss village, once a year, into a haven of jazz, blues, rock and even classical. Every artist that meant anything almost begged to be there.

Read Claude Nobs’s account of the story behind “Smoke on the Water” here.