I am THE God of Hell Fire
For fifty years we have journeyed together on a trip exploring the heart of the ‘God of Hellfire’ and the dimensions under his domain.
“Fire” the hit single and ” The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”, the hit album were the power behind the revelation we experienced during this wild adventure. What has not changed in this time is my love of performing , and of communication with you, the audience. Thankyou for making this possible. I thank the musicians with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage.
Let us hope we have many more times where our “separateness” drops away and we musicians and audience are left sharing joy and love together.
I would also like to thank those who have helped to put this on a business footing.
“Now there’s a man who was ahead of his time”
“Without Arthur Brown, there would be no Alice Cooper”
“Arthur Brown has the Voice of Death”
BRUCE DICKINSON – IRON MAIDEN
“Arthur Brown is as much a dancer as he is a singer”
The Crazy World of
MUSIC VIDEO – OF MANY LIVE SHOWS put to “Radiance” from the new CD
MUSIC VIDEO – Arthur Brown –
The Formless Depths of
ZIM ZAM ZIM
The Iconic God of Hell Fire – Arthur Brown
Arthur Brown – the “Fire” album – 1968
As we are in the 50th Anniversary of the “Fire” album, recorded by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and released in 1968, I am going to make the case for this master-work to finally be accorded the status and attention that it has deserved, yet been denied, for the last 40 years.
In the last 20 years, or so, most of the culturally significant (although not always commercially significant at the time) class of ’68 albums have been massively re-appraised and re-evaluated, with some significant results.
Commercially unsuccessful (if cult-acclaimed) recordings such as “SF Sorrow” by The Pretty Things, “Forever Changes” by Love and even “Odyssey & Oracle’ by the Zombies (although this was a hit in the US), have been accorded huge critical and mythological status and all of these three records (for example), have been totally re-evaluated and restored into the canon of visible and recommended listening by all the major media. SF Sorrow has re-built The Pretty Things career, and the same can be said for the other two records, which I have referred to.
This cannot be said of the “Fire” album. This is very strange, because the statistics made it a far more significant recording at the time. Depending on which charts you favour, it was simultaneously listed at No. 1 in the album and singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The sales of the album and lead single – “Fire” outsold all of the commercial competition at the time and the record was, wholly unexpectedly, the commercial success of the year.
Perhaps it is that very success which has held the great and good of the critical fraternity back from really digging down and examining the phenomenon of the record and the band, for that year and on…. Perhaps it’s worth considering that…
The “Fire” album was a hugely unexpected commercial success from an artist who had built a cast-iron reputation as the performance King of the psychedelic, counter-culture of the Summer of Love in 1967. If The Pink Floyd were always the obvious commercial choice for the briefly emerging psychedelic movement, it was always Arthur Brown that was the unchallenged and accepted spiritual fountainhead of the movement, Middle Earth, UFO, The Temple, the introduction of Hendrix to the cognoscenti at The Speakeasy, it was always Arthur, in his original Hippie Godfather “Give Him A Flower” incarnation that was the fundament of that movement on the ground.
What then, were the odds on Arthur Brown – the Crazy Hippie Godfather returning from The Summer of Love in 1967, to be re-born as the most accurate and absolute representation of the cosmic time-shift into the Winter of Discontent that was 1968? The God of Hellfire, (although now possibly a only seen as caricature), was an absolute reality for not just the London cool, but for an emerging generation of ordinary young people and concerned citizens the world over. Vietnam was in its most intense period, (just look at the news photo’s) The Invasion of Czechoslovakia was all over the world’s press, The UK had embraced a more subversive counter culture, with Oz, International Times, The Attica Bookshop and Tariq Ali, sweeping the sunshine hippies from the press and popular media. And the record which was at the eye of this vitriolic storm and caught the mood and the moment more perfectly than anything else released was – The “Fire” album, Arthur’s masterpiece.
Politically spiritually, musically, psychologically, artistically and commercially – this was the recording that was the musical embodiment of that huge year of change – and people – ordinary people, working class people, the intelligentsia, middle America, the music industry – everyone, in fact –were all caught up and swept along by its power, energy and relevance. Read the actual statistics, look at the real facts. It was a huge hit on both sides of The Atlantic. It was a fundament of Vietnam Radio and a mainstay of Radio One.
It is, and remains the commercial, musical artery that wound its way through the devastating changes that 1968 brought to us all. It marked the end of the sixties and the beginning of something darker and more immediate, that we haven’t seen the back of yet.
Everyone was listening to that record and talking about it – it influenced God knows how many mini-me’s from then to now – and it was the last meaningful sign of the artistic counter-culture to hit the mainstream charts, by 1969, it was Bubblegum Pop music and the window for the counter-culture in popular music was done.
This record was more influential, more authentically of it’s time and for more relevant to that dark period than any of its more critically-acclaimed contemporaries. That needs addressing and, as we move towards 2018, 50 years after the darkness fell. It is beyond time to look hard at exactly why The God of Hellfire was an authentic figurehead and mouthpiece for the fears and concerns of a generation, in a way that the post-psychedelic whimsy of the
Records we now applaud and favour from that era, will ever be.
Arthur Brown – “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” – do the research, run the numbers and see what’s staring you in the face. 50 years on, we’re not so very far away from the global unrest and emerging violence that started this phase of our history.
Mark St. John.