the crazy world of the arthur brown


On this day in music history: August 16, 1968 - “Fire” by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown is released. Written by Vincent Crane, Arthur Brown, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker, it is the second single (US debut) and biggest hit for the rock band from London, UK. Formed in 1967, original line up of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown consists of Arthur Brown (lead vocals), Vincent Crane (organ), Sean Nicholas Greenwood (bass) and Drachen Theaker (drums). The band quickly attract attention not only for their music, but for the antics of their flamboyant front man. Boasting an impressive vocal range of four octaves, Brown also becomes known for outlandish on stage theatrics, inspired in part by American R&B singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. He dresses in long flowing robes, either wearing heavy ghoulish make up or metallic masks covering much of his face. Then for an even more striking touch, wearing a metal helmet that is doused in lighter fluid and set on fire. The band are signed to Track Records in the UK, after Pete Townshend sees them at the UFO Club in London. Having grown up in post-war England, Brown comes to know many people who were adversely affected by the horrors and hardships brought on by war, including post traumatic stress disorder. The band compose a cycle of songs about a man facing his inner demons, forming a loose concept for the album. “Fire” is written as the centerpiece of “Tales From the Neurotic Nights Of Hieronymous Anonymous” aka the “Fire Suite”. “Fire” features Brown on vocals, Crane on organ and organ bass pedals and Theaker on drums. After its completed, Lambert and Stamp seek US distribution for the record. They play it for Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records, who immediately loves the music and concept of the band, but notices drummer Theaker’s problems with keeping time. Lambert and Crane add horns and strings to make the tracks sound fuller, and in many cases cover up the scattershot drumming. Released in the UK first on June 14, 1968, “Fire” is an immediate sensation, leaping to number one within a month. Issued in the US a month later, the single follows a similar trajectory. Entering the Hot 100 at #81 on September 7, 1968, it rockets to #2 six weeks later on October 19, 1968, unable to budge The Beatles’ epic “Hey Jude” from the top spot. In spite of this major success, the band does not reach the charts again. Their second album “Strangelands” is shelved after the band implodes in June of 1969. Though their time in the spotlight is brief, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s influence endures, inspiring future shock rockers like Alice Cooper, KISS, Mercyful Fate and Marilyn Manson. The song later adds co-writing credits for Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker, when they discover “Fire” uses part of the melody of their song “Baby You’re A Long Way Behind”. “Fire” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.


“Fire” - The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (Top of the Pops 1968)


FLEETWOOD MAC - Oh Well (1969 UK TV Performance) ~ HIGH QUALITY HQ ~

dont ask me bout the shape im in/ i cant sing/i aint pretty and my legs are thin…when i tawked to god i knew he’d understand / said stick by me i’ll be ur guiding hand/ but dont ask me what i think of you/ you not get the answer that you want me to…

ifn i remember otto korrectly - this wuz the 1st music vid i posted on @ajttk  

peter green’s fleetwood mac wuz the 1st concert i went to - they were 3rd on the bill w the crazy world of arthur brown and the who headlining 

Bands and musicians I have seen (for hobbitsville56)...

Jimi Hendrix Experience…Fat Mattress (Noel Redding’s band)…the Beach Boys…Jethro Tull…Fleetwood Mac…Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young…the Ventures…Dick Dale…Link Wray…Stereolab…Souxie and the Banshees…X…REM…Ramones…the Clash…the Pixies…the Breeders…Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet…DOA…the Subhumans…Savage Republic…Scenic…John Fahey…Leo Kottke…Robbie Basho…Peter Lang…the Monkees…the Cramps…Bob Log III…Doo Rag…Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys…the Flunkees…Andres Segovia…Julian Bream…Roy Bookbinder…the Mothers of Invention…Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen…Captain Beefheart…Jose Feliciano…Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks…Mainline…Atomic Rooster…Goose Creek Symphony…Doc and Merle Watson…Simple Minds…Steve Goodman…Gordon Lightfoot…John Prine…Arlo Guthrie…the Surf Punks…Buffy Sainte Marie…Bob Dylan…Tom Petty… the Dentists…Beastie Boys…Shonen Knife… Huey Lewis and the News…Chris Houston’s Evil Twang…New Vaudeville Band…Beck… No Means No Clone the Ramones…Zappa Meets Varese…the Violent Femmes…Taj Mahal…Martha and the Muffins…Blue Northern (featuring Billy Cowsill of the Cowsills)…Frank Wakefield…Garnet and Stan Rogers…Spiritualized…Pipedream… Cub…the Dandy Warhols…R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders…Bob Brozman…Eire Apparent…the B-52s…Frank Frink Five…the Crazy World of Arthur Brown…DOA…the Subhumans…the Pointed Sticks…Visible Targets…


WARNING: Long Post. I apologise, those words are written from the deapths of my heart.

I wanted to mark this day. 14th of May.
This day had, basically, changed me.
Just a year ago, I was a whole different person.
Just a year ago, I was stuck - musically, emotionally, I just didn’t know what to do with myself.
I handled things completely differently.
I coped less - I ran away more.
I haven’t been sitting and working until it physically hurt - I gave up and stayed with bitter frustration burning within me.
Just a year ago, I was in a distance of a single spit from quitting music, from putting down my bass and signing forms to leave the class at school.
I felt so low. Nothing was right.
And on May 14th, in a single snap, in that flashing shine - it has all changed.

So, if you’ve made it this far on my ramble without getting too bored, you probably ask yourself - what happened on that day?

It was just another day; I sat in front of my laptop, feeling bored and empty as usual. Searching some music on my phone, I believe it was, led me to come across this band. On E’.
Had some of their music on my phone already, but I’ve been listening to other things back then; some playlist of random songs I just didn’t bother to switch.
So I started playing these songs, and in the meantime googled “Emerson Lake and Palmer”.

Hey, don’t get me wrong; I had a background. I’ve been admiring Pink Floyd almost fanatically since 9th grade; something like two and a half years. Getting into Pink Floyd, I’ve read a lot about Prog - I knew Genesis, I knew Yes, I knew King Crimson (who didn’t, actually?), I knew Emerson Lake and Palmer. I knew who they were, I just didn’t dig in deep enough into their works.
I knew King Crimson; my friend introduced me to them and I was ADDICTED to In the Court of the Crimson King - I was so stunned by the whole album, by Greg Lake’s voice and his insane bass playing - for me it was a top. I was like, fuck, this is how I want to play.
I didn’t know Atomic Rooster, but I knew ‘Fire’ by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. I knew Ozzy Osbourne’s cover. In fact, I realised it was originally Arthur Brown’s when I started watching the doco ‘Birth of a Band’, I heard it there for the first time and was like “OMG?@?!?! IS THIS FIRE?!?!?@#^^#@&”. Yeah, a big shock.
The Nice I knew only theoretically - I’ve read about them, I knew they worked for themselves and also with P. P. Arnold.

I don’t rmemeber it all to details, but I remember at first being confused by their names; they weren’t so familiar to me, as Roger or David, or… Mike, for example. I don’t know. I remembered thinking, “shit, it’ll take me years to remember those names”. {Psst; It didn’t.}
I’ve read about them, started listening to more than just ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘From the Beginning’. I started digging in more and more - another song, another album - “omg, another pic!!! aaa!!!!” and about my love for Greg Lake,,, I won’t even open it up here. It will take for you miles of scrolling to read about it, I’ll try to save your time.
I don’t know if any of you are familiar with this, but I’ll try a bit to explain what happened on that day, that was so significant for me.
When I was looking at pictures of them - recognising some from my 9th grade research - I just felt… Some kind of… heat? Warmth? some kind of a positive feeling. I knew I have found SOMETHING. Something unique. Something that isn’t just listening to a new band, but that it will lead me to something different. A powerful sense in the stomach? Some kind of… I don’t know exactly how to explain. Like you just KNOW it’s going to be so significant.
You know you fell for them.
I knew that I just fell for them.

I don’t know why I turned a fan only so shortly ago. I mean, I knew them. I knew them 2 years preior. What was different between 9th and 11th grade?
Maybe back then, it wasn’t the right momemt. Maybe I was less open-minded; maybe I’d try to listen to them more back then and wouldn’t like it. Maybe I would have gotten a bad impression, and would never listen to them again. I believe that they came just at the right moment for me.

So, yeah, rediscovering Emerson Lake and Palmer has been a turning point for me. It changed my perspective on many things.
True, I’m not perfect, it hasn’t cured my fucked up traits and defects, but being honest, ELP in a way saved me from a deteriorating pattern of self destruction and abandonment of all hope. They gave me something to strive for. They motivated me to start playing the keyboards I bought 3 years ago and barely touched. Listening to them pushed me to improve myself as a bassist, to set myself higher targets and standarts (Unfortunately as a perfectionist it’s sometimes very painful, but I can say the result was good) - But still, I can see a huge change in my playing, in my confident and in my sound.  
 I have gotten over one of the biggest fears I had - it was literally causing me panic attacks - to sing in front of other people. I actually do it now. Not 100% confidently, but think how big is the different - I’d start shaking and crying and just nvjfrnghfijfid all around, and just a month ago I stood onstage with my bass, singing fucking Lucky Man. I still cannot believe it. All of it would never happened without ELP. 
I will not regret a single thing I did related to them.
I’m not perfect, but thanks to tham - I will strive for better. For the best I can.

Must add, as I’ve forgotten to mark it - Emerson Lake and Palmer had taught me to listen to classical music and to acutally love it. I have improved my grade in Music History class at school from a poor 60 to a fucking 90, just because I actually connected the music to this band I love so much. Even my flute player friend, who is a classical nerd, is impressed by my knowledge in classical music now. It’s fucking terrific. I love classical music so much - just a year ago I got fucking bored of it. And today I have a 14 HOURS LONG PLAYLIST ON MY PHONE. (Same length as the ELP playlist tbh) +shitloads on my laptop

Because of ELP I returned to Tumblr - I discovered here amazing people. I’m so happy to have all of you - it isn’t obvious; it’s so important for me to have a place in which I can share my love for this amazing group. I wanted also to thank you all - you are amazing and so supportive, I love you all so much and I am grateful to have each and every one of you
It’s true that now for me things aren’t the easiest, but it’s okay. It’s okay because there is something to work for. There is still hope.

This is my message to you all - even if things seem icky and useless, if everything is a long loathing drag, if you feel like there’s nothing to do anymore - it’s not true. There’s always something better for you, and it waits for the right moment to be found.


Crazy World of Arthur Brown, ‘Fire’ - ToTP 1968. 😈🔥


“Anyway, we all went back to Syd’s mother’s house and smoked spliffs. We discussed the Arthur C Clarke science fiction book Childhood’s End, which was quite a cult book among acid heads, especially the bit where the children dance themselves into a state of oblivion. We felt, right then, that we were the children of the future, and Syd was certainly at the tipping end of that. He was bright, beautiful, a visionary… and very friendly. I took a great many moody pictures of him, but really, my abiding memory of Syd is that he laughed a lot. I was still at college when Syd moved to London – but I used to go visit him down there. I’d see him at places like the old UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road – Pink Floyd playing alongside Soft Machine and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. I’d sleep over at his various flats, including the one in Richmond Hill. There was a lot of crashing went on back then, amid our small circle of chemical dependents!

- Mick Rock.