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.
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. 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, Kiss, Mercyful Fate's King Diamond and Marilyn Manson.
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. 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".
Brown's incendiary stage act sometimes caused trouble, even getting him kicked off a tour with Jimi Hendrix. 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.
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.
The line-up practically dissolved on 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 (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.
Arthur Brown - vocals (1967-1970, 2000-present),
Jim Mortimore - bass, guitars, backing vocals (2000-present),
Samuel Walker - drums, backing vocals (2000-present),
Lucie Rejchrtova - keyboards (2000-present),
Nina Gromniak - guitars (2011-present),
Malcolm Dick - digital artist, video projection (2000-present),
Z-Star - vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion (2000-present),
Angel Fallon - dancer (2000-present),
Neeta Pedersen - design, artwork (2000-present),
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)
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