Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown "Fire"

I was listening to the Sound Opinions podcast, and they were discussing Halloween-appropriate songs.  There are several I enjoy, but my favorite has got to be one of the wackiest hit songs ever, "Fire" by the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown from 1968.

To begin, it has perhaps the greatest spoken opening to a song ever, "I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE! AND I BRING YOU..." right into him singing "Fire/ I'll take you to burn."  Brown screams it in a way that makes it sound like the needles on the audio equipment were into the red almost to the breaking point.  The music is brutally simple psychedelic garage rock anchored by a demented organ lead, which is something all brutally simple psychedelic garage rock ought to have.

Brown is simultaneously sinister and campy, like Vincent Price leading a rock band.  If you watch a performance of the song it's obvious that Alice Cooper was watching too.  Before Cooper, before Kiss, before Marilyn Manson, there was Arthur Brown, performing in pubs where his flaming headdress would have to be put out with pints of lager after setting his hair alight.  Many shock performers give the audience a bit of a knowing wink to let 'em know that it's all an act for their entertainment.  Brown, despite being a bit campy, seems totally, insanely committed to what he's doing, which is why I never get tired of this song.

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