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Song Stories

“Fire”

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown | 1968

From its opening declaration "I am the god of hellfire," "Fire" was one of the strangest one-shot psychedelic rock hits, Arthur Brown alternating between croons and operatic squeals as he sang his ode to raging blazes amid demented organ swirls. Brown performed the song onstage in a helmet of fire, which led to a life-threatening situation when a crewman poured lighter fluid over the singer at the 1967 Windsor Jazz Festival. "When he lit it, I commenced to incinerate," he reminisced in Rolling Stone. "People from the audience had to pour beer over me to put out the flames."

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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