The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(ARTHUR BROWN, Vincent Crane)

Atlantic 2556

No. 2   October 19, 1968 

 “Crazy world” may be a marked understatement when it comes to describing the realm that Arthur Brown

has inhabited.


Believe it or not, the genesis of “Fire” as well as  Brown’s pioneering rock theatrics (i. e. moving stage, out-

landish costumes, hideously-painted face, and hel­meted head ablaze) was Brown’s deep involvement with ..

philosophy!    “Ah, philosophy will never touch reali­ty,” Brown mused to Blitzs’ Allan Vorda. “It always

describes it.   It’s an idea of what reality is.   But reality isn’t an idea.”


Arthur Wilton was born on June 24, 1944, in Whit­by, Yorkshire.   He studied philosophy and law at both

Reading University and Yorkshire University, and reportedly was a school teacher when the Who’s Pete

Townshend offered him the chance to act out his deep­est and darkest dreams.   For years, Brown had been

soaking up the sounds of Sinatra, Elvis, Delta blues, New Orleans jazz,  Scottish folk tunes, and classical

music.   Brown and his band–keyboardist Vincent Crane and drummer Drachian Theaker–were indulging

in their special brand of musical and visual lunacy at the underground UFO Pub when Townshend spotted

the act.   He persuaded his manager, the owner of Track Records, to record The Crazy World of Arthur

Brown (in 1989, Townshend even included a cover version of “Fire” on his Iron Man album).


“Fire” was Brown and company’s first release, and their only charting single here or abroad. Success came

upon them too fast–constant touring, plus the ingestion of large amounts of mind-altering  sub-stances, took

a hefty toll on the band.   As Brown told the Chicago Tribune’s Dave Hoekstra, Crane was dosed with LSD at

a party:  “For a long number of years, he never came back. He talked in numbers for a day and a half.   He

had to return to England for men­tal attention.” Drachian Theaker “used to kick his drums offstage during an

act; he would run by hotels, pressing his vital parts against the windows! After that, we became unman-



Yes, after that, the Crazy World blew apart. Crane and his tour replacement, Carl Palmer, formed Atomic

Rooster; Palmer would later join Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER.   Theaker,

after a stint with Arthur Lee’s LOVE, worked as a percussionist with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and

has toured Europe with a traveling band of Indian artists.


And Brown?   Well, Arthur has been keeping busy with an unusual project or two.   After three LPs of

increasingly electronic excursions with a new outfit, Kingdom Come, Brown did studio work with Alan

Par­sons, appeared in the Who’s Tommy (1975) flick, had some obscure solo albums issued in Europe on the

Gold label, and spent some years recording and touring with the technologically-attuned Klaus Schulze. Not

one to remain rooted in any one reality for too long,   Brown lived in the late  ’70s  in Burundi, Africa, where

he reportedly taught music history and directed the Burundi National Orchestra.  In the ’80s, Arthur took

guitar lessons from King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, then moved to Austin, Texas, to form a keyboard-based

band.   When the latter activity proved unfulfilling, he formed a carpentry and painting concern with ex­-

Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black.


Did the flaky flavor of “Fire” typecast Art Brown as a nut and a novelty act?   “Yeah, it was like that.  They

just thought I made fun records.   Most of them still do.   I look at it as being extremely lucky, however.

Here I am, 20 years after [now nearly 45 years after] l’ve had a hit, and I’m still in line to get a big record

deal.   In between, I’ve been making albums.   I’ve got 15 out, and they vary between sheer electronic,

industrial electronic, and electronic synthesizer.”


The pending “big record deal” of which Brown spoke was said to possibly involve Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel,

Carl Palmer, Alan Parsons, and African juju man King Sunny Ade.   Release was slated for 1990; nothing of

the sort has been spotted in the states.   Currently available via Blue Wave Records is a collaboration with

Jimmy Carl Black entitled Brown, Black, and Blues.   There is also an anti-nuclear Arthur Brown LP,


Requiem, available on the Republic label.   “It’s not something with a heavy message,” Art explained to Fred

Dellar in Where Did You Go to, My Lovely?   “There’s a conversation between an ant and a cockroach who

meet after the world’s blown up.”