The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

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The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Origin London, England
Genres Psychedelic rock[1]
Years active 1967–1970, 2000–present
Labels Voiceprint, Track, Zoho Music
Associated acts Atomic Rooster
Members Arthur Brown
Jim Mortimore
Samuel Walker
Lucie Rejchrtova
Nina Gromniak
Malcolm Dick
Z-Star
Past members Sean Nicholas Greenwood
Vincent Crane
Drachen Theaker
Carl Palmer
Jeff Cutler
Dick Heninghem
Pete Solley

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown are an English psychedelic rock band formed by singer Arthur Brown in 1967. The band included Vincent Crane (Hammond organ and piano), Drachen Theaker (drums), and Nick Greenwood (bass).

Their song "Fire" (released in 1968 as a single) was one of the one-hit wonders in the United Kingdom and United States in the 1960s. "Fire" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2]

History[edit]

Brown quickly earned a reputation for both his powerful voice (which spanned four octaves) and his outlandish performances, including the use of a burning metal helmet, which led to occasional mishaps. During an early appearance at the Windsor Festival in 1967, Brown wore a colander on his head soaked in methanol. The fuel poured over his head by accident and caught fire; two bystanders doused the flames by pouring beer on Brown’s head, preventing any serious injury.[3] The flaming head then became an Arthur Brown signature. On occasion he also stripped naked while performing, most notably in Italy, where, after setting his hair on fire, he was arrested and deported.[4] He was also notable for the extreme make-up he wore onstage, which would later be reflected in the stage acts of Alice Cooper,[5] Peter Gabriel,[6], George Clinton,[7] and Bruce Dickinson[8] among others.

By 1968, the debut album, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Produced by The Who's manager Kit Lambert, and executive-produced by Pete Townshend on Track Records, the label begun by Lambert and Chris Stamp, it spun off an equally surprising hit single, "Fire", and contained a version of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screaming Jay Hawkins, a similarly bizarre showman. "Fire" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2] The song has since seen its opening line "I am the God of Hellfire" sampled in numerous other places, most notably in The Prodigy's 1992 rave anthem "Fire", and more recently in Death Grips' "Lord of the Game", from 2011.

Brown's incendiary stage act sometimes caused trouble, even getting him kicked off a tour with Jimi Hendrix.[citation needed] On one tour, Brown waited until sunset, when his band was playing, and then he had a winch lower him onto the middle of the stage from above, wearing a suit and helmet welded from sheet metal. Parts of the suit were completely lit in lighter fluid and sparklers. In due course, Brown created a perception that he was always on the verge of setting fire to the stage, leading some concert organizers to demand he post a bond with them, if he could not show he was adequately insured against uncontrollable fire and fire damages.[citation needed]

Theaker was replaced because of his aviophobia in 1968 by drummer Carl Palmer, later of Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia for the band's second American tour in 1969, on which keyboardist Vincent Crane also left—although he soon returned.[9]

The lineup practically dissolved on the band's US tour in June 1969. Crane and Palmer left to form Atomic Rooster, Greenwood (known as Sean Nicholas during his stay in CWOAB) went on to Khan[10] (as Nick Greenwood), Theaker to Love and then Rustic Hinge, and Brown to Kingdom Come.

The band re-formed in 2000 and released Tantric Lover.[11]

Members[edit]

Current members
  • Arthur Brown – lead vocals (1967–1970, 2000–present)
  • Z-Star – lead and backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion (2000–present)
  • Lucie Rejchrtova – keyboards (2000–present)
  • Jim Mortimore – bass, backing vocals, guitars (2000–present)
  • Samuel Walker – drums, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Malcolm Dick – digital artist, video projection (2000–present)
  • Nina Gromniak – guitars (2011–present)
Additional personnel
  • Angel Fallon – dancer (2000–present)
  • Neeta Pedersen – design, artwork (2000–present)
Former members
  • Sean Nicholas Greenwood – bass guitar (1967–1970)
  • Vincent Crane – organ, organ bass pedals (1967–1969; died 1989)
  • Drachen Theaker – drums (1967–1968; died 1992)
  • Carl Palmer – drums (1968–1969)
  • Jeff Cutler – drums (1969–1970)
  • Dick Heninghem – organ (1969)
  • Pete Solley – organ (1969–1970)

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums
Live albums
  • 1993: Order From Chaos
  • 2011: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Live At High Voltage (vinyl only release, limited edition of 1000, recorded at the High Voltage Festival)
Singles[15][16][17][18]
Year Song Peak chart positions Release
UK US BEL SWI GER NETH AUS
1967 "Devil's Grip"
b/w "Give Him a Flower"
Track 604008 UK
1968 "Fire"
b/w "Rest Cure"
1 2 3 3 3 4 7 Track 604022 UK
Atlantic 2556 US
"Nightmare"
b/w "Music Man"
(aka "What's Happening")
Track 604026 UK
"I Put a Spell on You"
b/w "Nightmare"
Track 2582 US
Music Videos
Year Song Director
2016 "The Formless Depths" John Byron Hanby IV[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries – Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-1846090912. 
  2. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ Peisner, David (February 2007). "Rock Stars Who've Caught Fire Onstage!". Blender Magazine Online. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  4. ^ Marshall, Polly. "The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown". SAF Publishing. ISBN 0-946719-77-2. 
  5. ^ Marshall 2005, pp. 85 and 153.
  6. ^ Marshall 2005, p. 175.
  7. ^ Marshall 2005, p. 172.
  8. ^ Marshall 2005, p. 103.
  9. ^ Larkin C, Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (Muze UK Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X, page 77
  10. ^ "Nicholas Greenwood". Prog Archives. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "Arthur Brown – Tantric Lover CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 13 Jan 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – Vampire Suite CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Arthur Brown – Voice of Love CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  14. ^ The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  15. ^ "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown Discography at Discogs: Singles and EPs - Releases". 
  16. ^ "CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". 
  17. ^ "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Billboard". 
  18. ^ "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Fire - hitparade.ch". 
  19. ^ "Music Videos". Retrieved 7 August 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

Marshall, Polly. The God of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown. SAF Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-946719-77-2.