Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Oldies - Fire by Swing West

We have to swing east to find Swing West, the rock group from Japan who made this great cover of the 1968 ground-breaking hit by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown.

Here's Fire by Swing West on Union 5205 from 1969:

These guys started out doing rockabilly using a name that translates to Wagon Wheel. They electrified the guitars in 1964 and started making records in Japan. They disbanded in 1970 after failing to make any big hits. The band was led by Keiichi Teramoto Hori Takeo on vocals, and included Notarou Sakawa, Mori Hiroshi, Yubara Masayuki, Showa Ueda, Kyoshi Nisiguti Hiro, Takashi Ida, Hiroshi Yokoyama, and Takashi Sakamoto.

If you can read Japanese (which I cannot), you can learn more about them by clicking here.

Fire was the only song by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown to make it into Billboard's Hot 100. It was a #2 hit nationally and in Canada, but made it to #1 in England and on many local American radio station playlists. It peaked at #3 in Germany, #8 in Ireland, and #28 in Australia. Despite the success of this ground-breaking record, the group failed to produce another hit record. They made two more appearances in Billboard's Bubbling Under The Hot 100 charts with a cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins tune, I Put A Spell On You, and once more with a song called Nightmare. Pete Townshend of The Who had a hand in producing this English group. The drummer was Carl Palmer, who later became part of the supergroup that sounds more like a law firm, Emerson Lake And Palmer. Arthur Brown was born Arthur Wilton in Whitby on 24 June 1944. In 1992 he started a music therapy practice recognizing that music can contribute to the healing process. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, with their almost Satanic sound and theatrical stage presence, inspired many new acts, virtually paving the way for the Glam Rock scene.

Radio stations didn't play the complete version of Fire back in 1968. Would you like to hear it now? I thought so! From their self-titled album, issued on Atlantic in America, here's the complete version of Fire by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown:

There are about 300 Japanese rock and pop songs from the 1950's and 1960's on MusicMaster Oldies, with more being added all the time. They're hard to find in America, but worth the effort.

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