I once spoke to Kim Fowley on the phone, he was in Chicago, I was on the other side of the world. “Can you play the guitar, can you sing – then get over here right now”. That about sums him up although his reach extended way beyond the realms of ordinary men. His 1968 album Outrageous was a manic masterpiece dismissed by the world’s most respected Rock critic Robert Christgau as rubbish – it really says it all about critics, Rock music and respect. A line from one of the songs – “I just woke up next to Adolph Hitler’s dead body” – says it all too.
To run through Fowley’s achievements is a daunting task – singer, songwriter, producer, Svengali? Ariel Pink’s latest album The Haunted Graffiti 2014 features five songs written by Kim Fowley from his hospital bed. But from Hollywood Argyles 1960 US No.1 hit Alley Oop via B. Bumble And The Stingers 1962 UK No.1 hit Nut Rocker to a whole series of failed solo albums, inventing The Runaways, working with Helen Reddy and dating Candice Bergen – he really did it all without anyone in normal land ever really noticing – what a beautiful legacy that is. We miss you already Kim, long may your genius endure.
A fascinating life, below you have links to read all about it – The Independent’s and The Guardian’s obituaries, Fowley’s website, Julian Cope’s review of Outrageous and Wikipedia.
Note: The album cover featured on this video, Animal God Of The Streets 1975 is not the album that Animal Man comes from, it should be Outrageous 1968.