Atomic Rooster was a British prog-rock group formed in 1969 with an initial line-up of Vincent Crane (real name Vincent Cheesman) and Carl Palmer – both from The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – and Nick Graham. Their debut album, Atomic Rooster, hit #49 in the UK in June 1970, after which Graham and Palmer quit the group.
Crane maintained the name and recruited guitarist/singer John Du Cann, and drummer Paul Hammond for the second album, Death Walks Behind You (1971), which hit #12 in the UK. This album also featured the #11 single Tomorrow Night.
Pete French of Cactus assisted in the third album, In Hearing Of, which featured the UK #4 single The Devil’s Answer, and reached #18 on the British album charts. Then the group split up again.
Again Crane assembled a new version of the band, this time with singer Chris Farlowe, guitarist Steve Bolton, bassist Bill Smith and drummer Ric Parnell.
Made In England reached #149 in the US in 1972 but by 1974 the group had split once again. Crane fronted line-ups of Atomic Rooster into the 80s before taking up with Dexy’s Midnight Runners in 1983.
‘Atomic Rooster’ isn’t a name that’s travelled well over the ages. Presumably, on their inception, it suggested untold mystery and infinite possibility. Then again, maybe not. Considering that Vincent Crane once led an outfit called The Vincent Cheesman Trio, maybe he was just crap at the name thing . . .
Crane (who had a history of manic depression) killed himself in 1989.
John Du Cann