Atomic Rooster was a British early 1970s touring hard rock/progressive rock band which continued on and off for a decade. The band was founded by the late British blues pianist Vincent Crane (21 May 1943 – 14 February 1989), originally with British drummer Carl Palmer, after Crane left The Crazy World of Arthur Brown which he had co-founded in 1966.
Crane found himself in America in 1968 on his first American Tour supporting The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's "Fire" single and "Fire" album which topped the USA charts. The single was number one in England and Europe, and the album top five. The band headlined at that year's Reading Festival. In 1969 they returned to America playing Fillmore East and Madison Square Garden. By the end of the year and after a third U.S. tour, various problems had set in. Crane lived in New York for three months and finally returned to England with Palmer. During 1970 they formed Atomic Rooster as decided in New York, and the band's first gig was headlining at the Lyceum, London, with Deep Purple as support. The first Atomic Roster single was "Friday the 13th", and the first album wasAtomic Ro-o-oster.
In 1971 John Du Cann (born John Cann, 1950 – 22 September 2011) joined Atomic Rooster and added guitar to the American version of Atomic Ro-O-oster. Palmer left to join ELP and Paul Hammond joined the band as drummer. That year saw the band's first hit single "Tomorrow Night", and their first top-ten album Death Walks behind You, followed by a second hit single "Devil's Answer". The band also played the Reading Festival.
In 1972 Pete French joined the band on vocals and they played the Oval with The Who headlining. A third album was released, In Hearing of... This was the year of Atomic Rooster’s first U.S. tour, playing the Troubadour, L.A. and Fillmore East, N.Y. Du Cann and Hammond left the band to form Hard Stuff with Johnny Gustaveston, and Ric Parnell and Steve Bolton joined. French left to join Cactus with Carl Minnaplice, replaced in Atomic Rooster by Chris Farlowe .The band then went on to release their fourth album, Made in England, and their first compilation was released, Atomic Rooster Assortment. The second tour took in the L.A. Amphitheatre, the Texas 'Rose Bowl', and the Dusseldorf 'Rock Festival' with Deep Purple and Free. A third single was released, "Stand By Me".
In 1974 the fifth Atomic Rooster album was released, Nice & Greasy, and a second compilation, Home to Roost. The band left Gaff Management and toured Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, and Portugal. In 1975, after a tour of Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain, Crane stopped touring and took the band off the road.
1980 saw the reforming of Atomic Rooster, and Crane working again with DuCann. Finally came an EMI deal, a secret warm-up tour, and the release of a new album Atomic Rooster and a single "Do You Know Who's Looking for You"; Preston Heyman did the honours on drums, but by the time of the 1981 three-month tour of the U.K., Paul Hammond was back on drums. This year, saw the release of the first two Atomic Rooster 12" singles, "Play It Again" and "End of the Day". The band played the Reading Festival; with DuCann mysteriously AWOL, Big John McCoy stepped in on bass. DuCann had decided to retire again, and subsequent tours of Germany and Italy were with Bernie Torme on guitar.
1983 saw a new style of Atomic Rooster album, Headline News, with a 12" single "Land of Freedom", featuring guitarists David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Torme, and John Mizarolli. Torme subsequently toured with the band to Germany and Italy.
In 1984, Crane disbanded Atomic Rooster.
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