Gillan to sing Smoke with 1000s of guitarists

Deep Purple's Ian Gillan is backing a world record attempt for the most number of amateur guitarists playing at the same time.

The singer will take a break from Deep Purple’s world tour to front Guitars On The Beach, the massive attempt on the world record for the greatest number of guitarists simultaneously playing one song together – with the band’s classic Smoke On The Water one of the songs being performed.

It will take place on Lyme Regis beach on Saturday, September 6. Gillan – who has sold more than 100 million albums and has a home in the Dorset seaside town – astonished organisers by volunteering to take part.

After hearing that organisers were planning to include the Deep Purple hit in the set of songs for the giant beach band to perform, he sent them a note saying: “I hear you might be doing Smoke with the massed guitars and if that is the case I thought I’d offer my services if you need a singer.”

Guitars On The Beach organiser Geoff Baker says: “My jaw hit the floor. This is sensational news.”

The event was launched last year and drew 2267 guitarists of all ages and abilities to Lyme from all over the UK, setting a record as Britain’s biggest band as they performed Buddy Holly’s hit Rave On.

This year organisers are planning to make it even bigger. More guitarists are signing up every day to join the enormous band who will make the record attempt playing three songs – Rave On, the Status Quo hit Rocking All Over The World and Smoke On The Water.

Baker adds: “Clearly Smoke On The Water will now be the main event for many. It’s the classic guitar riff and not difficult to play. Massed guitar bands in America, Germany, Canada and Poland have all had a crack at the world record playing Smoke – but none of them has ever been led by Ian Gillan before.

“This is going to be amazing, and many more people will now want to take part. It’s quite something to write home about, that you once played with Ian Gillan in a band with thousands of guitarists.”

The current world record has been held since 2009 by an event in Poland, which amassed 6546 guitarists.

To take part, sign up at the event website.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.