Fire (Arthur Brown song)

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"Fire"
Single by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
from the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
B-side"Rest Cure" (2:44)
ReleasedJune 1968 (UK)
September 1968 (US)
Format7" single
RecordedLondon, 1968
GenrePsychedelic rock
Length2:54
LabelTrack (UK) 604022[1]
Atlantic (US)
Writer(s)Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver, Peter Ker[1]
Producer(s)Kit Lambert[1]
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown singles chronology
"Devil's Grip"
(1967)
"Fire"
(1968)
"Nightmare"
(1968)
 
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"Fire"
Single by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
from the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
B-side"Rest Cure" (2:44)
ReleasedJune 1968 (UK)
September 1968 (US)
Format7" single
RecordedLondon, 1968
GenrePsychedelic rock
Length2:54
LabelTrack (UK) 604022[1]
Atlantic (US)
Writer(s)Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver, Peter Ker[1]
Producer(s)Kit Lambert[1]
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown singles chronology
"Devil's Grip"
(1967)
"Fire"
(1968)
"Nightmare"
(1968)

"Fire" is a 1968 song written by Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker.[1] Performed by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, it was released as a single and on the band's debut album, also called The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The single reached no.1 in the UK (in August 1968)[1] and in Canada. In October, it reached no.2 in the US Billboard charts and no.19 in Australia. It also got to no.3 in Germany, no.4 in France, no.6 in the Netherlands, no.7 in Austria, no.8 in Ireland and no.18 in Finland. "Fire" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2]

The song is an example of the psychedelic rock of the period, though its lack of guitars or bass guitar[3] distinguished it from many of its contemporaries. The lead instrument in this case was Vincent Crane's Hammond electronic organ, augmented by an orchestral section featuring prominent brass. The singer's opening proclamation of himself as "the god of hellfire" became a lasting catchphrase. The song ends with the sound of a wind from hell.

During live performances and in the black and white promotional television clip, Brown performed the song wearing a burning helmet. The helmet was improvised with a leather skull cap onto which was bolted a metal dish that held lighter fluid or petrol. As the cap was not insulated, the heat from the burning fuel quickly conducted through the fixing bolt to the top of Brown's head, causing him considerable pain.[4]

Two studio mixes of "Fire" have been officially released, one in stereo and one in mono. The mono mix features no brass. Both versions are included on the CD reissue of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The single B-side, "Rest Cure", was another track from the album.

Credit for the composition of "Fire" on the original vinyl single was to Arthur Brown and Vincent Crane only; however, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker successfully sued for co-credit and royalties based on melodic similarities to their song "Baby, You're a Long Way Behind".[5]

In Ronnie Wood's radioshow of 14 November 2011, both Wood and Alice Cooper claim that the bass is performed by Ron Wood,[6] but Polly Marshall's biography of Arthur Brown states that "According to the-faces.com, Ronnie claims he played on the Track Records studio sessions recording Fire, but he must have confused it with the BBC session [of 8 April 1968]."[7] There is no bass guitar on the recording, only bass pedals.

The song is briefly featured in the films Hot Fuzz (2007) and The Boat That Rocked (2009). It is also referenced in Julie Hearn's debut novel Follow Me Down, used in the episode "Burn Victim" of My Name Is Earl, and sampled by experimental hip hop group Death Grips in their song "Lord of the Game" from their mixtape Exmilitary.[citation needed]

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 119. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 236. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ the pounding bass was made with bass pedals played by Vincent Crane
  4. ^ Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 60
  5. ^ John Kutner & Spencer Leigh (2005). The 1000 UK Number One Hits: p.142
  6. ^ "Show 81". Ronnie Wood Radio. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  7. ^ Polly Marshall, The God Of Hellfire, the Crazy Life and Times of Arthur Brown, ISBN 0-946719-77-2, SAF Publishing, 2005, page 64

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Mony Mony" by Tommy James & the Shondells
UK number-one single
14 August 1968
Succeeded by
"Mony Mony" by Tommy James & the Shondells