This is the fifth installment of a series. Due to the subjective nature of what quantifies a One Hit Wonder, how much of the band must be dead to be a One Hit Wonder With Dead Guys, etc., etc., etc., there will be some shifting of the goal posts across these essays. Such is life and rock ‘n
Goal Post Shift 1: Arthur Brown is not dead. But, c’mon, FLAMING HELMET.
Arthur Brown was born into his Crazy World June 24, 1944, in Whitby, Yorkshire. His 1968 debut, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, actually made the Top 10, and the single “Fire” reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the States. (The record was produced by Pete Townshend, whom we last ran into with his other Who side project, Thunderclap Newman. 1968 was a fruitful year!)
So Arthur Brown had the look, establishing the horror-kabuki theme that would be co-opted by Alice Cooper and KISS (who are, in my humble opinion, a bunch of disco-sucking hacks in comparison). But he also had a brilliant falsetto and scream, and a tight band (Fire! Horn kicks!) with brilliant organ. You can hear the Arthur Brown sound in heavy metal contemporaries Deep Purple and Uriah Heap. A million records sold and a million points of influence on future progeny. Not bad.
So what became of Arthur Brown? A little of this, a little of that. He formed a band called Kingdom Come in the early ‘70s, put out a few solo records, played The Priest in the film version of The Who’s “Tommy”, moved to Texas and earned a masters in counseling, worked as a painter and carpenter, moved back to the UK and recorded spoken word albums, formed an acoustic band, re-formed Kingdom Come…
And did I mention FLAMING HELMET?