[Around Prog #1] Atomic Rooster

After the split-up of the Psychedelic Rock band “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” in 1969, Vincent Crane (Keyboards) and Carl Palmer (Drum) decided to found a new one. Crane thus hires a third element: Nick Graham (Bass and Voice), thus giving life to Atomic Rooster, a much-appreciated band by Heavy Prog fans. With this lineup, they published in 1970 their self-titled album, characterized by a strong presence of the keyboards, Hammond organ overall, as well as the excellent technique of the English trio. Despite a good public and critical response, Graham and Palmer decided to leave the band, the first to join Skin Alley and the second will become a founding member If Emerson Lake and Palmer, one of the best progressive bands of all time. Crane engages in Paul Hammond (Drum) and John DuCann (Guitars and Lead Voice), so the band is deprived of a bassist and Crane modifying the hammond playing pedals and with left hand the bass notes on keyboard, a technique used also by Doors keyboards player Ray Manzarek. The band records the second album “Death Walk Behind You” in the same year, where the keyboards duet as well with guitar that give a more heavy touch at the sound. In fact, the record gets excellent feedback, thanks also to the great live performances that show the excellent qualities of the musicians. With the addition of Peter French (Solo Voice), Atomic Rooster recorded their third work “In Hearing Of…” one of their successful production, it’s even said that this was the best lineup. Despite the notoriety and the good number of concerts, Crane, finds himself forced again to change elements, the abandonment is mainly due to character problems. DuCann and Hammond form Hard Stuff and after a tour French enter in Cactus. Chris Farlowe (Solo Voice), Steve Bolton (Guitars) and Rick Parnell (Drum) are engaged. This lineup was recorded “Made in England” in 1972, but the work doesn’t get the same success of the previous albums and the sound was no longer the same grit. Bolton leaves the band to join Brand X, replaced by John “Mandala” Goodsall (Guitars). The band back in the studio to record “Nice ‘n’ Greasy in 1973, which like the previous one doesn’t have the right push, even if it is still a good job, but the fans that appreciates them for their heavier sound remains a little bit out of the way. In the following two years they produced only a work with a tiny success, on behalf of Vincent Crane’ Atomic Rooster, which the only memberremained is the keyboardist. In fact, in 1975, the Dawn Record label decided to break off relations with the band, and in the following years, Crane published some albums completely unobserved by public and critics. Five years after their split up, the first official reunion of the band takes place, which involves Crane, DuCann and Preston Heymann (Drum). Also in 1980, they recorded ” Atomic Rooster ’80”, a good album but not at the level of their early works, but that allows oh resume a good live activity. In fact from ’80 to ’82 with the addition of John McCoy (Bass) the band was active on the scene and recorded some minor singles for Polydor Records. After three years of concerts around the world, Crane is again forced to hire other musicians, he calls Paul Hammond (Drum), the”duo” recruited some guests including David Gilmour (Guitar) to complete the lineup and record the last Atomic Rooster’sofficial album: Headline News in 1983. For the rest of the ’80s there is nothing else to report and when Progressive music returns in vogue with the advent of the CD and the first reissues, the labels and the fans claim for a reunion. Unfortunately never happened cause the premature death of Vincent Crane on St. Valentine’s Day 1989, creating a great among the Prog fans. Only in 2016, with the approval of Crane’s Widow,French and Bolton reform Atomic Rooster with Christian Madden (Keyboards) to replace the leader of the band. However, this reunion has the only purpose of offering a series of concerts, without recording studio materials. A well-known band by HeavyProg and Hard Rock fans, their sound is a Hammond driven Progressive Rock with guitar solos and great vocal parts. Text talk about obscure and dark themes like Black Sabbath or BlackWidow. All the musicians that passed in the AtomicRooster various lineups contributed to maintain the band one of the best in early ’70s Prog Music.

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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