Arthur Brown (b. June 24, 1942) is a pioneering and veteran English avant-garde rock singer and songwriter with powerful operatic vocals and a hair-raising onstage persona who became famous during the late 1960s. Best known for the demonic psychedelic pop classic, "Fire" (1968), he was dubbed "The God of Hellfire" in reference to his signature song's shouted opening line. With his blood-curdling high pitched screams and eye-catching costumes featuring flaming metal helmets, Brown was a forerunner to such genres as shock rock, glam rock, and heavy metal.
Born Arthur Wilton in Whitby in North Yorkshire, he formed his first band while in college, and beginning in late 1966, he served for a time as a member of The Ramong Sound that would later become The Foundations (of "Build Me Up Buttercup" fame). Brown soon after formed The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown whose members also included Vincent Crane (organ, piano, vibes), Nick Greenwood (bass guitar), and Drachen Theaker (drums). By mid 1968, the band had released its eponymous debut album which peaked at #2 in the U.K. and #7 in the U.S.
Arthur Brown debuted in 1968 with "Fire," which topped the charts in the U.K. and Canada, reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and went on to become a million seller. He also had two minor hits later that year in the U.S. with "Nightmare" (1968) and a cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" (1968) before The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown disbanded in 1969.
Since his commercial peak in the late 1960s, Arthur Brown has continued to perform and record actively to the present day, both solo and in collaboration with other performing artists. He has been a significant influence on such artists as Alice Cooper, David Bowie, KISS, George Clinton, and Marilyn Manson. His numerous projects over the years include portraying The Priest in the 1975 movie adaptation of The Who's rock opera, "Tommy." He also has a Masters in Counseling from Southwest Texas State University, and in the early 1990s, he established a music therapy practice.
- For more info about Arthur Brown, visit thegodofhellfire.com.
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The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
- Fire 1968
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