Monday, February 28, 2011

Arthur Brown -- "I Put A Spell On You" (1968)

I put a spell on you
Because you're mine

This post brings to a close my series, "29 POSTS IN 28 DAYS."  It was fun putting this series together, but not so much fun that I am looking forward to next February, when I will probably feel compelled to do it again.  

The whole idea was a little bit off the wall, so it is only fitting that we close the series with a cover version of a demented song by an equally demented performer. 

Arthur Brown is responsible for perhaps the most electrifying songs of the 1960s, "Fire," which began this way:

I am the god of hellfire
And I bring you . . . FIRE!

Arthur Brown
Unlike most songs of this era, Brown's version of "Fire" does not utilize any guitars.  Instead, the instrument that dominates the record is our old friend, a Hammond B-3 organ.  The last chorus features some horns, which turns an already frenzied record into an extremely frenzied record.

"Fire" came out of nowhere to hit #1 on the British charts in August 1968, and made it all the way to #2 in the United States a couple of months later.  

Brown's live performances were just a bit over the top.  He sometimes performed wearing a complicated helmet-like contraption on his head that was filled with fuel and set on fire.  The helmet was not terribly high-tech, and sometime things went wrong.  Once his head caught on fire, and the flames extinguished with beer by a couple of audience members.

Here's a video of a television performance by Brown:

Brown released several albums in the seventies and had a part in the Ken Russell movie of the Who's Tommy.  He sings a verse of "Eyesight to the Blind" beginning at about the 2:58 mark of this clip from the movie:

Later, he moved from the UK to Austin, Texas, and got a master's degree in counseling.  He and another counselor co-founded Healing Songs Therapy.  (Brown wrote a song about each of his client's emotional issues, presumably for therapeutic purposes -- or perhaps because it was a good way to attract clients.)

Brown is currently a proponent of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, a mystic and guru whose approach to self-awareness is known as the "Fourth Way."  Click here to read what one skeptic has to say about Gurdjieff and his teachings. 

Click here to read about a biography of Brown titled The God of Hellfire.

"Fire" was on Brown's The Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, which also featured a pretty convincing cover of "I Put A Spell On You."  Here's that song:

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