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Fire (Arthur Brown song)
|Single by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown|
|from the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown|
|B-side||"Rest Cure" (2:44)|
|Released||June 1968 (UK)
September 1968 (US)
|Label||Track (UK) 604022
|Songwriter(s)||Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver, Peter Ker|
|Producer(s)||Kit Lambert, Pete Townshend|
|The Crazy World of Arthur Brown singles chronology|
"Fire" is a 1968 song written by Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker. 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.
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.
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 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".
The single reached number one in the United Kingdom in August 1968 and in Canada in October. Also 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.
In Ronnie Wood's radioshow of 14 November 2011, both Wood and Alice Cooper claim that the bass is performed by Ron Wood, but Polly Marshall's biography of Arthur Brown states that "According to the-faces.com, 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]." There is no bass guitar on the recording, only bass pedals.
- Yuya Uchida & The Flowers recorded a cover during sessions for their 1969 album Challenge!, but it was not released until it was included as a bonus track on a 2007 limited edition.
- Pete Townshend, the single's associate producer, covered the song (with The Who) on his album The Iron Man: A Musical (1989).
- Heavy metal band Cirith Ungol covered the song on their album Paradise Lost (1991).
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer covered the song on their compilation album The Return of the Manticore (1993).
- British doom metal band Cathedral covered the song on their 1996 EP "Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)".
- Industrial metal band Die Krupps collaborated with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown on a cover which appeared on their album Paradise Now (1997).
- Experimental Hip-Hop group Death Grips sampled the opening clip of the song on their track "Lord of the Game" (featuring Mexican Girl), from their debut mixtape Exmilitary (2011).
- Lizzy Mercier Descloux recorded a disco-punk version of the song for her 1979 album Press Color.
- "10 Actually Great One-Hit Wonders". NME. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- 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.
- Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 60
- the pounding bass was made with bass pedals played by Vincent Crane
- John Kutner & Spencer Leigh (2005). The 1000 UK Number One Hits: p.142
- "RPM Top 100 Singles - October 21, 1968" (PDF).
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Show 81". Ronnie Wood Radio. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- Polly Marshall, The God of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 64
- Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 63
- "内田裕也とフラワーズ : CHALLENGE!". Amazon.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-04-24.
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