Fire (Arthur Brown song)

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Single by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
from the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
B-side"Rest Cure" (2:44)
ReleasedJune 1968 (UK)
September 1968 (US)
Format7" single
RecordedLondon, 1968
GenrePsychedelic rock[1]
LabelTrack (UK) 604022[2]
Atlantic (US)
Songwriter(s)Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver, Peter Ker[2]
Producer(s)Kit Lambert,[2] Pete Townshend
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown singles chronology
"Devil's Grip"

"Fire" is a 1968 song written by Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker.[2] Performed by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, it was released as a single and on the band's debut album, also called The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The single reached number one in the United Kingdom in August 1968[2] and in Canada. In October, it reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 (behind "Hey Jude" by The Beatles) and number 19 in Australia. It also reached number three in Germany, number four in France, number six in the Netherlands, number seven in Austria, number eight in Ireland and number 18 in Finland. "Fire" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[3]


During live performances and in the black and white promotional television clip, Brown performed the song wearing a burning helmet. The helmet was improvised with a leather skull cap onto which was bolted a metal dish that held lighter fluid or petrol. As the cap was not insulated, the heat from the burning fuel quickly conducted through the fixing bolt to the top of Brown's head, causing him considerable pain.[4]


Two studio mixes of "Fire" have been officially released, one in stereo and one in mono. The mono mix features no brass. Both versions are included on the CD reissue of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The single B-side, "Rest Cure", was another track from the album.


The song is an example of the psychedelic rock of the period, though its lack of guitars or bass guitar[5] distinguished it from many of its contemporaries. The lead instrument in this case was Vincent Crane's Hammond organ, augmented by an orchestral section featuring prominent brass. The singer's opening proclamation "I am the God of Hellfire" became a lasting catchphrase. The song ends with the sound of a wind from Hell along with one of Brown's trademark banshee screams.

Credit for the composition of "Fire" on the original vinyl single was to Arthur Brown and Vincent Crane only; however, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker successfully sued for co-credit and royalties based on melodic similarities to their song "Baby, You're a Long Way Behind".[6]


In Ronnie Wood's radioshow of 14 November 2011, both Wood and Alice Cooper claim that the bass is performed by Ron Wood,[7] but Polly Marshall's biography of Arthur Brown states that "According to, Ronnie claims he played on the Track Records studio sessions recording Fire, but he must have confused it with the BBC session [of 8 April 1968]."[8] There is no bass guitar on the recording, only bass pedals.[8]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "10 Actually Great One-Hit Wonders". NME. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 119. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 60
  5. ^ the pounding bass was made with bass pedals played by Vincent Crane
  6. ^ John Kutner & Spencer Leigh (2005). The 1000 UK Number One Hits: p.142
  7. ^ "Show 81". Ronnie Wood Radio. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  8. ^ a b Polly Marshall, The God of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 64
  9. ^ Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 63
  10. ^ "内田裕也とフラワーズ : CHALLENGE!". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-04-24.

External links[edit]