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Guttenberg requests Deep Purple send-off

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Guttenberg requests Deep Purple send-off
Da da da, da da da daa, da da da, da daa! Photo: DPA
16:16 CET+01:00
Germany's former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg plans to leave office with characteristic flair on Thursday night. The aristocratic rock fan has requested Deep Purple's classic song “Smoke on the Water” be played at his military send-off ceremony.

A spokesperson for the Bundeswehr's elite military brass band confirmed to daily Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine that the legendary guitar riff from the 1972 hit would be played between two classic marches.

Guttenberg, a baron known for his love of hard rock group AC/DC, will be honoured for his service to the German military during the ceremony, known as a Zapfenstreich.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to attend the heavy metal affair, which also traditionally includes servicemen carrying torches. But other politicians will be conspicuously absent, including Education Minister Annette Schavan, who said she had been “embarrassed” by the plagiarism scandal that brought him down.

The 39-year-old isn't the first outgoing politician to request an unexpected tune at a Zapfenstreich - one of the German military's highest honours.

In 2005 former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said his goodbye with Frank Sinatra's "My Way," while former President Horst Köhler took leave of his duties to the tune of William Hardy's “St. Louis Blues.”

Conservative Christian Social Union member Guttenberg resigned from his cabinet post on March 1 following allegations that he plagiarized large portions of his doctoral dissertation.

Guttenberg was replaced by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, whose post was filled by CSU member Hans-Peter Friedrich.

The Local/DPA/ka

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