Known for his face paint, flaming helmet and 1968 hit Fire, the 78-year-old is back with a molten-hot manifesto for music in the pandemic era

‘I am the God of Hellfire!” proclaimed Arthur Brown at the start of Fire, the 1968 UK No 1 by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, an international smash in the psychedelic era. Such commercial heights weren’t scaled again, but the singer’s flaming helmet, pre-Kiss face paint and mix of pop, opera, progressive rock and proto-heavy metal have become influential. Alice Cooper admits, “without Arthur Brown, there’d be no Alice Cooper”, and other stars who have paid homage range from Iron Maiden to Elton John.

“About 12 years ago I got a call from Robert Plant’s agent,” chuckles the singer. “He told me that Robert would love to get someone like Arthur Brown to sing with on tour and asked if I could recommend anyone. I said, ‘I’m pretty like me and I’d love to do it.’”

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