Feb 14, 1989 – Vincent Crane – (Atomic Rooster) was born Vincent Rodney Cheesman on 21 May 1943 in Reading, Berkshire, England.
He taught himself boogie woogie piano as a teenager before attending Trinity College of Music between 1961 and 1964. Influenced by Graham Bond, he took up Hammond organ and in 1967 and teamed up with Arthur Brown in The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Their eponymous debut album, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968) contained the song “Fire”, a chart-topping hit single in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, with Crane’s organ and brass arrangement to the fore.
During their first tour of the USA in 1968, Crane suffered a nervous breakdown and returned to the UK where he spent 3 or 4 months in the mental hospital at Banstead.
Crane rejoined the band but on a subsequent tour of the USA, the band disintegrated in June 1969 when Arthur Brown temporarily disappeared to a commune and Crane and drummer Carl Palmer (later of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) left to form Atomic Rooster, playing their first concert at the Lyceum in London on 29 August headlining over Deep Purple. Atomic Rooster enjoyed success in 1971 with two hit singles, “Tomorrow Night”, and “Devil’s Answer”. Crane was the one constant member of the band through their almost constantly changing lineups, and wrote a slim majority of their material.
Crane suffered from bipolar disorder from at least 1968 onwards, periodically necessitating treatment at both out- and inpatient mental health treatment facilities.
He collaborated with other musicians on a number of albums, including Rory Gallagher (Rory Gallagher, 1971), Arthur Brown (Faster Than The Speed Of Light, 1979), Peter Green, Richard Wahnfried and Dexys Midnight Runners (Don’t Stand Me Down, 1985). In 1983 he was part of the one-off blues outfit, Katmandu, with Ray Dorset, Len Surtees and Peter Green, who recorded the album A Case for the Blues.
Crane died of a deliberate overdose of Anadin tablets in 1989 at the age of 45.
Influenced by Graham Bond, in 1967 he teamed up with Arthur Brown in The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Their self-titled album in 1968 contained the song “Fire”, a chart-topping hit single in the UK, Canada, and the US, with Vincent’s organ on the leads. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown practically dissolved on tour in the U.S.A., when Crane and drummer Carl Palmer left to form Atomic Rooster in late 1969. They enjoyed success in 1971 with two hit singles, “Tomorrow Night”, and “Devil’s Answer”.
In 1983 he was part of the one-off blues outfit, Katmandu, with Ray Dorset and Green, who recorded the album A Case For The Blues
Crane lost his fight against manic depression with an overdose of painkillers on Valentine’s Day, 14 Feb. 1989. He was 45.