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The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Performing in 2014
|Years active||1967–1970, 2000–present|
|Labels||Voiceprint, Track, Zoho Roots|
|Associated acts||Atomic Rooster, Kingdom Come|
|Past members||Sean Nicholas Greenwood
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown are an English psychedelic rock band formed by singer Arthur Brown in 1967. The original band included Vincent Crane (Hammond organ and piano), Drachen Theaker (drums), and Nick Greenwood (bass). This early incarnation were noted for Crane's organ and brass arrangements and Brown's voice and the burning helmet he used to wear during live shows.
Their song "Fire" (released in 1968 as a single) sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart and Canada, and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 as well as its parent album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown which reached number 2 on the UK album charts and number 7 in the US.
In the late 1960s, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's popularity was such that the group shared bills with the Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Mothers of Invention, the Doors, the Small Faces, and Joe Cocker, among others.
Following the success of the single "Fire", the press would often refer to Brown as "The God of Hellfire", in reference to the opening shouted line of the song, a moniker that exists to this day.
Brown quickly earned a reputation for both his powerful operatic 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 caught fire; two bystanders doused the flames by pouring beer on Brown’s head, preventing any serious injury. 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. He was also notable for the extreme make-up he wore onstage, which would later be reflected in the stage acts of Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, George Clinton, and Bruce Dickinson 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" written by Screaming Jay Hawkins, a similarly bizarre showman. "Fire" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. 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.
Theaker was replaced because of his aviophobia in 1968 by Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds 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. The band recorded a second album, titled Strangelands, intended for release in 1969 but shelved by their label over concerns that it lacked sales potential. The album featured a more experimental and avant-garde sound that shed the pop sensibilities of the Crazy World's debut. Strangelands was not issued until 1988.
The new 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 time in the band, went on to Khan where he performed under the name Nick Greenwood. Theaker went to join Love and then Rustic Hinge, and Arthur Brown eventually joined Kingdom Come.
The band re-formed in 2000 and released Tantric Lover.
- 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)
- Studio albums
- 1968: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (#7 US)
- 1988: Strangelands [The long lost 2nd album] (recorded 1969)
- 2000: Tantric Lover (CD, UK, Voiceprint Records)
- 2003: Vampire Suite (CD, UK, Track Records)
- 2007: Voice of Love (CD, Zoho Music)
- 2013: Zim Zam Zim (released as the result of a pledge campaign)
- 2019: Gypsy Voodoo
- 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)
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Release|
b/w "Give Him a Flower"
|—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Track 604008 UK|
b/w "Rest Cure"
|1||2||3||3||3||4||7||1||Track 604022 UK
Atlantic 2556 US
Polydor 541.012 Can
b/w "Music Man"
(aka "What's Happening")
|—||107||—||—||—||—||—||—||Track 604026 UK|
|"I Put a Spell on You"
|—||111||—||—||—||—||—||—||Track 2582 US|
- Music Videos
|2016||"The Formless Depths"||John Byron Hanby IV|
- Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries – Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-1846090912.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Official UK Singles Top 100 – 16th February 2013 | Official UK Top 40 | music charts | Official Singles Chart". Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Richie Unterberger (2014). "Urban Spacemen & Wayfaring Strangers [Revised & Expanded Ebook Edition]: Overlooked Innovators & Eccentric Visionaries of '60s Rock". BookBaby
- Echard 2005, p. 43. sfn error: no target: CITEREFEchard2005 (help)
- Unterberger, Richie. Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers, p. 46.
- Peisner, David (February 2007). "Rock Stars Who've Caught Fire Onstage!". Blender Magazine Online. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Marshall, Polly (2005). "The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown". SAF Publishing. ISBN 0-946719-77-2.
- Marshall 2005, pp. 85 and 153.
- Marshall 2005, p. 175.
- Marshall 2005, p. 172.
- Marshall 2005, p. 103.
- Larkin C, Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (Muze UK Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X, page 77
- "Nicholas Greenwood". Prog Archives. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
- "Arthur Brown – Tantric Lover CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 13 January 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- Whyte, Woodrow (29 August 2014). "The Life of Arthur Brown and 'Zim Zam Zim'". Drowned in Sound.
- "Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – Vampire Suite CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- "Arthur Brown – Voice of Love CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown". Discogs.
- "CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
- "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Chart history | Billboard". www.billboard.com.
- "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - Fire - hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch.
- "Music Videos". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
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