Years: 1966 - 1967
Styles: Experimental Rock, Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Geoff Brown - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966 - 1967)
Len Cox - Bass Guitar (in band: 1966 - 1967)
Carl Palmer - Drums (in band: 1966 - 1967)
Richard Pannell - Lead guitar (in band: 1966 - 1967)
This mod-styled group developed from a popular Birmingham R&B line-up named The King Bees (formerly The Castaways). The Craig recorded an original song called "I Must Be Mad" which is now regarded by many as one of the earliest and best British psychedelic/rock tracks of the 1960s. Craig are also significant in rock music history as one of the earliest bands to feature drummer Carl Palmer who went on to fame and fortune in the progressive rock group Emerson Lake & Palmer.
It was Larry Page's (record producer) decision to change the name of the group from The King Bees to The Craig because of other combos using the name The King Bees. Craig's recording of "A Little Bit Of Soap" made it into the British charts. The group members did not think the record was a good representation of what the band sounded like. Geoff: "I was still at university at the time and we didn't think the record really reflected what the band was about. The record was a minor success, but didn't make the charts".
However, for the second Craig single, the band was given more freedom - both in the studio and in their choice of material. They were allowed to record some original songs that did a far better job of capturing the band's energy and sounded quite revolutionary for a British band. "I Must Be Mad" was indeed high-energy, full-out rock with a sound that can be described as quite psychedelic and ahead of its time. Based around a crude, yet stunningly effective heavy guitar & bass riff, the recording featured Geoff's distinctive bluesy vocal backed with a huge build-up and fantastic explosion of drumming from Carl Palmer.
Unfortunately for Craig, a classic record does not always a hit make, so any hopes the band had of topping the charts soon evaporated.
Carl Palmer went on to join Chris Farlowe's Thunderbirds who already had the number one UK hit "Out Of Time" in June 1966. From there, Carl Palmer got the job of playing drums with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown who had experienced international success with their hit record "Fire" in 1967. Following his stint with Arthur Brown, Carl helped form the acclaimed progressive rock outfit Atomic Rooster with whom he soon became recognized as one of the top drummers in the UK. In 1970, Carl Palmer was invited to join a new 'supergroup' by Keith Emerson - formerly of The Nice. The resulting band consisting of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (from King Crimson on lead vocal & guitar), and Carl Palmer, were titled simply Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Following the demise of Craig, Geoff Brown along with Richard Pannell, went on to form the Brum progressive rock outfit Galliard who made a couple of well-received albums and became very well-known on the club/college circuit. Richard Pannell would later travel the world as sound engineer with the hugely successful Birmingham rock group ELO. Len Cox left the music business to become a vicar (Father Leonard Cox) at St. Martin's in Birmingham. Len: "I can recall many happy memories from those iconic days, about our time together and the various Birmingham musicians and bands who went on to world wide fame. It was a magical period and I am pleased to say Geoff, Richie, Carl and I still keep in touch."
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