Atomic Rooster

Original Period (1969-1975)

Atomic Rooster was a British early 1970s touring heavy prog rock band which continued on and off for a decade. Having disintegrated The Crazy World of Arthur Brown after their sole album and their worldwide hit Fire (I am the god of hellfire), Vincent Crane (responsible for the music of that album) and Carl Palmer founded Atomic Rooster with Nick Graham on bass and vocals.
Vincent Crane was the only constant member, and wrote the majority of their material. The history of the band is defined by two periods, in the early 1970s and the early 1980s. Their first LP, Atomic Roooster was released in February 1970, along with a single, "Friday the 13th".

Friday the 13th


By March, Crane felt it was best, that they add a guitarist, and recruited John Du Cann from acid/progressive rock band Andromeda. However, just as Du Cann joined, basist/vocalist Graham left. Du Cann (who played guitar and sang for Andromeda) took over vocal duties, whilst Crane overdubbed the bass lines on his Hammond Organ with a combination of left hand and foot pedals. Atomic Rooster resumed gigging until the end of June 1970, when Carl Palmer announced his departure to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Ric Parnell filled the drum spot until August, when the young Paul Hammond was recruited from Farm to the drum spot.

Then they recorded their second album, Death Walks Behind You, released in September 1970. Originally it was not commercially successful, as with the first album, but by February 1971, the single, "Tomorrow Night" reached No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart, with the album reaching No. 12 in the UK Albums Chart. Atomic Rooster made an appearance on the Top of the Pops, and toured to support their music.

Nobody Else

Tomorrow night

I can't take no more

In June 1971, the single "Devils Answer" hit No. 4 in the UK. Atomic Rooster saw considerable popularity, and singer Pete French was brought in at the end of June. They began recording In Hearing of Atomic Rooster (UK No. 18). Du Cann and Vincent had arguments over who should run the band so Vincent sacked him, and so consequently Paul Hammond followed John and left the band after the album was released to form Daemon (with John Gustafson) and Hard Stuff, respectively. The latest Atomic Rooster line up featuring Pete French on vocals, Steve Bolton on guitar, Rik Parnell on drums, and of course Vincent on the keys toured Italy, right across America & Canada. This line-up ended their international tour to appear at benefit gig in September 1971 at the Oval cricket ground appearing in front of some 65,000 people, supporting The Faces and The Who.

A spoonful of bromide

It was after this concert, that French moved on to sign with Atlantic records and to join the American rock band Cactus and record their album 'Ot 'N' Sweaty (1972). Crane then recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe in February 1972, at that time in Colosseum, to take the place of French. They went on tour and recorded another album in spring 1972. They released the album Made in England along with the single "Stand by Me", now on Dawn Records. They were more into soul at this point, and all the progressive and heavy rock leanings from the other releases had receded. The single did not chart, and the album just barely caught any attention, but touring followed through.

Guitarist Steve Bolton left at the end of 1972, and was replaced by John Goodsall, under the name Johnny Mandala. They released the album Nice 'n' Greasy in 1973 with the single "Save Me", a re-working of "Friday the 13th". This time, it was in a complete funk style. After nearly two years without any hits, Dawn Records dropped the group and Atomic Rooster began to split. After a tour, Farlowe, Mandala and Parnell left. The single "Tell Your Story, Sing Your Song" was released in March 1974 as "Vincent Crane's Atomic Rooster" on Decca. All subsequent gigs were played by Crane along with members of the blues band Sam Apple Pie. A final concert was played in February 1975, a benefit gig for the RSPCA. Afterwards, Crane disbanded Atomic Rooster.

Reformation period (1980-1983)

During 1980, Crane contacted Du Cann and after some discussion, got an Atomic Rooster reformation under way. They recruited session drummer Preston Heyman and recorded an album, along with one 7/12" single, on EMI Records. The 1980 album, Atomic Rooster, was followed by a tour, however in October Heyman left and Paul Hammond was once again in the drum seat after Ginger Baker filled in for two weeks. They continued touring and released two singles in 1981 and 1982. However, before their performance at the Reading Festival, Du Cann became absent without official leave. The band (i.e. Crane and Hammond) used Mick Hawkesworth (ex-Andromeda) as a stand-in. John McCoy later stepped in on bass. With Du Cann gone, Crane set about a new form of Atomic Rooster. Paul Hammond stayed on and played drums for the following album Headline News (1983), recorded in late 1982. Several guitarists played on the album, including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Bernie Torme of Gillan and John Mizarolli. Crane added vocals to the album along with his wife adding backing vocals. A tour of Germany and Italy included Bernie Torme on guitar. Mizarolli played guitar for several U.K. dates. Headline News was released in June 1983, and featured a completely different sound from anything they had ever done, including electronics and synthesizers. The album was completely written by Vincent Crane, leading some to perceive it as a Crane solo album. Crane disbanded Atomic Rooster once again at the end of 1983 and intended to reform it with Du Cann once again. A German tour was planned for 1989 but Crane died on 14 February 1989. Paul Hammond died in 1992.

(UK albums)

Atomic Roooster (1970):

1.Friday the 13th
2.And So to Bed
4.Decline and Fall
7.Broken Wings
8.Before Tomorrow (aka Shabooloo)

Death Walks Behind You (1970):

1.Death Walks Behind You
3.Tomorrow Night
4.Seven Lonely Streets
5.Sleeping For Years
6.I Can't Take No More
7.Nobody Else

In Hearing of Atomic Rooster (1971):

2.Break the Ice
4.A Spoonful of Bromide Helps the Pulse Rate Go Down
5.Black Snake
6.Head in the Sky
7.The Rock
8.The Price

Made in England (1972):

1.Time Take My Life
2.Stand by Me
3.Little Bit of Inner Air
4.Don't Know What Went Wrong
5.Never to Lose
6.Introduction (indexed together with "Breathless" on all CDs)
8.Space Cowboy
9.People You Can't Trust
10.All in Satan's Name
11.Close Your Eyes

Nice 'n' Greasy (1973):

1.All Across the Country
2.Save Me (rerecorded, retitled version of Friday the 13th)
3.Voodoo in You
4.Goodbye Planet Earth
5.Take One Toke
6.Can't Find a Reason
7.Ear in the Snow
8.Satan's Wheel

Atomic Rooster (1980):

1.They Took Control of You
2.She's My Woman
3.He Did It Again
4.Where's the Show?
5.In the Shadows
6.Do You Know Who's Looking for You?
7.Don't Lose Your Mind
8.Watch Out!
9.I Can't Stand It
10.Lost in Space

Headline News (1983):

1.Hold Your Fire
2.Headline News
3.Taking a Chance
4.Metal Minds
5.Land of Freedom
7.Dance of Death