Brown leaves to form The Arthur Brown Set with keyboard player Robin Short,
guitarist Martin Kenny and bass player Barry Dean. Together with a young
drummer, the band moves to Paris, France and takes up a lengthy residence at the
Moulin Rouge where the musicians perform with strippers and naked transvestites!
The drummer finds the whole experience too much and French drummer Christian
Deveaux takes over. The Arthur Brown Set provides two tracks – Baby You Know
What You’re Doing and Don’t Tell Me to Roger Vadim’s film, La Cure, which
is released in the US as The Game Is Over. When The Arthur Brown Set splits up
that summer, the singer moves to Spain for a few months to front a British
R&B group before returning to the UK.
Brown organises a rehearsal at Marquee Studios with horn players Lyn Dobson and
Henry Lowther with the intention of forming a new group to return to France to
play club residencies. Brown invites Drachen Theaker (b. John “Drachen”
Theaker; d. 1992), who he met in September after answering an advert that the
drummer placed in Melody Maker. Theaker has previously played briefly with
Manchester groups, The Measels and The Wheels before doing equally short stints
with Jimmy Powell and Wynder K Frog.
(5) Brown’s group (billed as Crazy World of Arthur Brown) is advertised as
providing support for The Herd at the Marquee in London.
Brown debuts with The Vincent Crane Combo at a gig in Brighton where Drachen
Theaker is in the audience. Short of work, however, the band breaks up before
the year is out. Intrigued by each other’s musical ideas, Brown and Crane
forge plans to work together on a more ambitious project in the near future, but
in the meantime, hook up with other groups in order to make a living. Crane
joins ailing pop group Hedgehoppers Anonymous for a few months.
Brown hooks up with The Ramong Sound (which later finds fame as The
Foundations), working with the group for a month before reuniting with Crane in
the aptly named, Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
The ambitious new group is completed with the addition of Drachen Theaker and
Crane’s old friend, Peter Gifford, who departs early on.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown debuts at the 7 ½ club in Shepherd’s Market,
Mayfair, where they are spotted by producer Joe Boyd, who invites the group to
appear at the underground club, UFO in London’s Tottenham Court Road.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown make their debut at the UFO with The Alberts in
(14) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appear at the UFO club with The Social
The newly formed band makes one of its first major appearances at 14-Hour
Technicolour Dream event, held at the Alexandra Place in London.
(5) Returning to the UFO, they play on a bill with The Soft Machine.
Back at the UFO, they perform on a bill that also includes Tomorrow and The
(16) The group plays at the UFO with The Soft Machine and The People’s Blues
(1) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at the 117 club with Apostolic
They appear at Tiles in London.
Back at the UFO, the band is joined by Alexis Korner and Victor Brox. Joe Boyd
expresses an interest in signing the band but instead it attracts the attention
of Who guitarist Pete Townsend, who records some tracks at his home studio,
which are subsequently used in the film, The
Committee. Later in the month, Townsend encourages his managers Chris Stamp
and Kit Lambert to sign the band to the Track label.
(11) The group plays at Tiles in London.
(13) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appears at the 7th National Jazz
Pop Ballads and Blues Festival, Balloon Meadow, Royal Windsor Racecourse,
Windsor, Berkshire with Cream, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The
Jeff Beck Group, Denny Laine’s Electric String Band, The Pentangle and many
others. Bass player Sean Nicholas (aka Nick Greenwood) joins the band for
further concert dates and also appears on sessions for the band’s debut album
alongside drummer John Marshall, who is brought in to replace Theaker on some
tracks. The resulting album is not released until spring 1968.
Another show at the UFO finds the group sharing the bill with The Incredible
The band makes its Marquee debut in London with The Studio Six in support.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at Saville Theatre with The Jimi Hendrix
Experience, Tomorrow, Georgie Fame, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Denny
Laine’s Electric String Band, Dantalion’s Chariot and others.
(28) The band play on the bill of a Bank Holiday Festival at Hastings Stadium.
The band’s debut single, Devil’s Grip is released but does not chart.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown participate in the UFO festival, held at the UFO
club, with Pink Floyd, The Soft Machine, Tomorrow and Denny Laine’s Electric
The group performs at Pearce Hall, Maidenhead, Berkshire.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown travel to Nottingham for a
show at the
Britannia Rowing Club before returning
Following the success of its Marquee debut, the band returns for another show
with Ten Years After in support.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at the Ricky Tick in Hounslow.
The group returns to the Marquee the following week for a show with The Nite
People in support.
The band appears at the Corn Exchange in Chelmsford, Essex.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown make another appearance at London’s famous
Marquee club backed again by The Studio Six.
(1) They appear at Middle Earth with Exploding Galaxy, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop
With Ron Wood from The Jeff Beck Group on bass, the band records its debut show
for John Peel’s BBC radio show. The session, which comprises recordings of
Witch Doctor, Nightmare, Devil’s Grip, I Put A Spell On You and Time, is
broadcast later that month.
November (10) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at the Carlton Ballroom in Birmingham.
December (9) The band appear at Middle Earth, supported by Rainbow Reflections and The Misfits.
January (5) The band appear at Middle Earth again.
(20) The group appears at the End of Rag charity event, held at the Roundhouse,
Chalk Farm, London with Fleetwood Mac, The Move, Fairport Convention and others.
(9) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown support Cream at Leicester University Arts
March (2) The band play a gig at St Mary's Borough Road College, Isleworth, supported by At Last The 1958 Rock 'N' Roll Show and Ways and Means.
(8) A second John Peel session is recorded with the tracks Fire, I Put A Spell
On You, Child Of My Kingdom and Come And Buy captured on tape.
The band plays at the Marquee in London with Timebox. With Greenwood as
permanent bass player, the band undertakes a brief Italian tour.
(29) The band are at Middle Earth to play their last date before leaving for the USA.
(3-4) On its debut US tour, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown open for Jefferson
Airplane at the Fillmore East in New York.
Canadian Jeff Cutler (b. Rowland Jefferies Cutler, September 8, 1941, Toronto,
Ontario), previously a member of Toronto R&B outfit, Jon and Lee & The
Checkmates and New York-based David Clayton-Thomas & The Phoenix, takes over
from Drachen Theaker who is suffering from nervous exhaustion. Cutler has
recently subbed for Spencer Dryden in Jefferson Airplane on some New Jersey area
dates and was playing with that group when it headlined over The Crazy World of
Arthur Brown at New York’s Fillmore East. Theaker leaves and heads for Los
Angeles where he subsequently does session work for Love, appearing on Four
Sail, before backing Warren Zevon. Theaker will return to the UK in
mid-1969 and reunite with Arthur Brown in a new version of the group.
Cutler makes his debut with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at Cobo Arena,
Detroit, Michigan where the band appears with The Doors, James Cotton Blues Band
and Jagged Edge. During the show, Crane attacks Brown and Cutler on stage and
has to be restrained.
The group plays at the Miami Pop Festival, Gulfstream Racetrack with The Mothers
Of Invention, Blue Cheer, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, John Lee Hooker, Chuck
Berry and others.
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown appear at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit,
– June (1) The band joins Love for a show at the Grande Ballroom.
(13) The group is supported by Big Brother & The Holding Company at San
Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.
The band performs at San Francisco’s Winterland with Big Brother & The
(18-20) The band appear at the Fillmore Auditorium alongside The Chambers Brothers and It's a Beautiful Day as part of Bill Graham's "Summer Series" of shows.
The group plays at the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles with The Byrds and Fruminous
Bandersnatch. Crane returns to England and British keyboard player Dick
Henningham is drafted in to fulfil the remaining tour dates.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown join The Who, Fleetwood Mac (and for the second
night only) The Steve Miller Band for a show at the Shrine Auditorium, Los
Angeles. Brown breaks two bones in his foot after falling unexpectedly in the
lighting pit and only plays one set.
While on tour in the United States, the group’s second single, Fire, tops the
UK charts and subsequently hits #2 on the US Billboard charts. The band’s
debut album, named after the single also tops the UK charts.
At the band’s final gig at the Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles, it shares the bill
with Love and Rhinoceros (featuring Jeff Cutler’s former Jon & Lee and The
Checkmates’ band mates, John Finley and Michael Fonfara).
The group returns to the UK where former Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds
drummer Carl Palmer (b. 20 March 1950, Handsworth, Birmingham, England) takes
over from Cutler. Palmer’s colleague from Chris Farlowe & The
Thunderbirds, keyboard player Pete Solley (b. 19 October 1948, London) takes
over from Henningham. Cutler and his New York partner Marvin Sylvor buy
Brown’s contract following the US tour and together take on the task of
representing, managing, negotiating, handling finances and booking gigs for the
band. They also help visually develop, design and fabricate Brown’s North
American tour later that year. The new line up begins work on recording a second
album, provisionally titled, The Trials Of The Magician.
(2) The band play a gig at Torquay Town Hall.
With Palmer on drums and Solley on keyboards, the band records a BBC session for
The Saturday Club.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at the Marquee in London with East of Eden
The new line up headlines the second night at the National Jazz & Blues
Festival held at Kempton Racecourse, Sunbury, Middlesex with The Nice and many
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown records another BBC session for The Parade of
(16) The band appear at Tavistock Town Hall
The band performs at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London. Later that evening,
it also appears at the Middle Earth club with The Writing on The Wall and Sam
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, Middlesex.
They perform at Dunstable’s California Ballroom.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appear at the Isle of Wight Festival, held at
Fishbourne with The Move, T-Rex, Fairport Convention, The Pretty Things and many
others. On the same day, the group records a live show for the German TV
programme, Beat Club.
(7) The band returns for a show at the Roundhouse, sharing the bill with The
Doors, Terry Reid, Jefferson Airplane and Blonde on Blonde.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appear at the Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s
(25) The band appear at The Bal Tabarin in Bromley, Kent.
(12) They appear at Sheffield University with The Who.
(18) They appear at Brunel University with The Who, Alan Bown, Elmer Gantry and Skip Bifferty. The same day, the group also appears at the Lyceum in London.
Vincent Crane returns to the line up replacing temporary fill-in, Pete Solley
who joins Terry Reid’s group.
The reshuffled line up plays at Eel Pie Island with July and Proteus in support.
(7) They appear at Porchester Hall, London.
The band kicks off a UK tour supporting the Who alongside The Small Faces, Joe
Cocker and The Mindbenders at the Granada Cinema, Walthamstow, London.
The tour takes in Slough Adelphi, Slough.
The Who tour moves on to Bristol for a show at Colston Hall.
As part of the tour, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play the Middle Earth at
The group plays at the Birmingham Theatre as part of The Who tour.
The tour moves on to Northeast for a show at Newcastle City Hall.
On the penultimate night, the package tour arrives in Glasgow for a show at
Paisley Ice Rink.
The final night of the tour is a show at the Liverpool Empire.
(15) Back Stateside for the second US tour, the group joins Fleetwood Mac for a
show at the Music Hall, Houston, Texas.
The band plays at Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan with MC5, SRC and The
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown appear at New York’s Fillmore East with The
Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield’s Supersession and
(4-5) The group appears at the Saugatuck, Michigan with The MC5, The SRC, The
Stooges, Procol Harum and others.
27) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown perform at the Royal Albert Hall with Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Spooky Tooth, Free and Smile.
March (8) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at The Polytechnic, Little Titchfield St, London, supported by Killing Floor.
(17) The band play a gig at the King's Hall, Romford.
(23) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appear at Mothers, Birmingham.
(31) The band appears at the Rock Pile in Toronto with Raven.
June (20-22) The band appears for three nights at The Kinetic Playground in Chicago with The Youngbloods.
(28) While on the third US tour, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown join Rhinoceros
for a show at the Wollman Skating Rink, Central Park, New York, as part of the
Schaefer Music Festival. Crane and Palmer leave the band separately in New York
but meet on the plane home and decide to form a new group, Atomic Rooster, named
after the nickname given to Peter Hodgson, the bass player in Rhinoceros and
Jeff Cutler’s former band mate in Jon and Lee & The Checkmates. Brown is
forced to continue the tour using whatever local band he can recruit that
“fits the bill”. On one occasion, the singer arrives in Canada to find the
musicians hired have learned all of the numbers he usually plays in the set but
he tells them to forget all of it and after improvising the whole set, the group
is rapturously received.
(4) The band appears at the Saugatuck Pop Festival in Pottawattaimie Beach,
Saugatuck, Michigan with Procol Harum, MC5, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, The
Stooges, The Amboy Jukes, Bob Segar, The Rotary Connection and many others.
(1-3) The group performs at the Atlantic Pop Festival with Chicago, Iron
Butterfly, The Mothers of Invention, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds and many
(31) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown play at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit,
Michigan with The Amboy
Dukes, The Stooges, The Bonzo Dog Band, Pink Floyd,
Alice Cooper, Bob Segar, Teegarden & VanWinkle and many others.
Back in the UK, Brown reunites with former member Drachen Theaker, who has been
working with High Tide since leaving the US. Through Cream lyricist Pete Brown,
the pair meet sax player George Khan and synth player Jonar Mitchell, who are
recruited for a new version of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown alongside bass
player Dennis Taylor, a former roadie for the group during Vincent Crane’s
tenure and then band lightsman during the same period. The new line up, which is
completed with guitarist Andy Rickell, records the album, Strangelands, which is
not released at the time.
(28) The band supports Love at London’s Roundhouse during that group’s debut
UK tour, along with Matthews Southern Comfort, Jody Grind and May Blitz.
March (27) The band plays at the Marquee club for the first time since August 1968, supported by Slade!
May (29) Another appearance at the Marquee, this time supported by Pacific Drift.
(23) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown appear at Commemoration Ball, St Johns
& Trinity Colleges, Oxford with The Moody Blues, Family and Fotheringay. The
group tours France under the managerial guidance of Giorgio Gomelsky but it is a
riotous affair and after returning to the UK, Brown, Theaker and Rickell leave.
The trio rent a farm in Dorset and joined by keyboard player Roy Sharland, they
play various concerts, including the Maryland in Glasgow, using the name The
Puddleton Express. Soon afterwards, Brown leaves to form Kingdom Come with
former member Dennis Taylor while Theaker and Rickell continue with the name
briefly before splitting.
Of Rock - Posters From Presley To Punk, by Paul D Grushkin, Artabras, Cross
River Press Ltd, 1987.
Paytress unravels The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Creators of Fire, article
Brew – Eric Clapton & The British Blues Boom 1965-1970, by Christopher
Hjort, Jawbone Press, 2007
Castle - Love #2, by David Peter Housden, 1993.
Castle - Love #9, by David Peter Housden, 1995.
Peel Sessions, by Ken Gardner, BBC Books, 2007.
Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers, by Richie Unterberger, Miller Freeman Books,
Bicycles by Joe Boyd, Serpent’s Tail, 2008
and Music Echo, 31 August 1968, page 2
July 2, 1969.
The Psychedelic Rock Files by Jerry Lucky, Collector's Guide Publishing, 2002 edition.
thanks to Arthur Brown for his personal recollections. I would also like to
credit Olaf Owre for his work on Drachen Theaker’s early career with
Manchester bands and specially thank Paul Green for his input on Vincent
Crane’s pre-Crazy World of Arthur Brown career. Thanks also to Danny Hardman,
Kersey. Thank you too Jeff Cutler for your personal
insights to the band.
© Nick Warburton, 2009, All Rights Reserved. No
part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any
means, without prior permission from the author
have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there
are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from
anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com