The Austin Chronicle

Hot August Nights: Hot

, August 28, 2015, Music

"Fire," The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

In 1968 England, blokes called Arthur Brown played cricket on Sunday. They didn't proclaim "I am the God of Hellfire" with a burning crown on their head. Pre-Alice Cooper, pre-Marilyn Manson theatrics, plus a massive orchestral psychedelia summoned by Vincent Crane's roaring Hammond organ, set Europe alight and gave producer Pete Townshend his first No. 1 in the UK – much to the chagrin of the rest of the Who. – Richard Whittaker

Hot August Night, Neil Diamond

"The stage," muses Neil Diamond in the gatefold of Hot August Night, "she is the God-damnedest woman you ever saw." Titled for the opening line of "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," this 2-LP set was recorded Aug. 24, 1972, during a 10-night stand at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. No accident modern-day ND shows, including an April shower at the Erwin Center, still rely heavily on this double-platinum template. – Greg Beets

"Hot Fun in the Summertime," Sly & the Family Stone

In January, Denton-born Sylvester Stewart, 72, was awarded $5 million in back royalties after a five-year court battle. That includes 1969 psychedelic soul single "Hot Fun in the Summertime," which peaked at No. 2 after the band's performance at Woodstock. Sticky, but sultry like the tropics, the tune and its conceptual cousins "Everybody Is a Star" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" all debuted on LP for 1970's Greatest Hits. – William Harries Graham

"Lake of Fire," Meat Puppets

Inclusion on Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged performance boosted this chthonic cut's acclaim a decade after the then-Arizonans' sophomore LP, Meat Puppets II. The New Testament's Book of Revelation posits the "lake of fire" as torment and nonexistence – "second death," technically. Now-Austinite Curt Kirkwood penned it after refusing to join his costumed bandmates at a Halloween party. – Neph Basedow

"The Heat Is On," Glenn Frey

Beverly Hills Cop wasted all box offices in 1984, and its opening salvo, written by music supervisor Harold Faltermeyer – also author of its synth standard "Axel F" – settled for No. 2. Careening through Detroit, Eddie Murphy swinging in the back of a semi, Motor City son and Eagles co-beak Glenn Frey reeds vocally to a sax flare melting the Christmas of Ronald Reagan's re-election year. – Raoul Hernandez

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