Hawkwind are an English space-rock band, originally led by guitarist Dave Brock and reedist Nik Turner. They released six albums on United Artists, including the popular 1971–75 titles In Search of Space, Doremi Fasol Latido, Hall of the Mountain Grill, Warrior on the Edge of Time, and the singles “Silver Machine” and “Urban Guerrilla.” Their live set — featuring light displays, projections, poetry, and painted strippers — was documented on the 1973 live double-album Space Ritual.
Robert Calvert fronted Hawkwind on the 1976–79 Charisma albums Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music, Quark Strangeness and Charm, 25 Years On (released as Hawklords), and PXR5. After the 1980 Bronze titles Live Seventy Nine and Levitation, a four-piece Hawkwind issued the 1982 RCA albums Church of Hawkwind and Choose Your Masques. Further releases appeared on Flicknife, including the 1985 concept album The Chronicle of the Black Sword, based on the work of sci-fi author and occasional lyricist Michael Moorcock.
Members: Dave Brock (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Nik Turner (saxophone, flute, vocals, 1969-76, 1982-85), Terry Ollis (drums, 1969-72), DikMik [Michael Davies] (keyboards, 1969-71, 1971-73), John Harrison (bass, 1969-70), Mick Slattery (guitar, 1969), Huw Lloyd-Langton (guitar, 1969-71, 1979-88), Thomas Crimble (bass, 1970-71), Dave Anderson (bass, 1971-72), Del Dettmar (keyboards, 1971-74), Robert Calvert (vocals, poetry, 1972-73, 1975-78), Lemmy (bass, vocals, 1972-75), Simon King (drums, 1972-80), Simon House (violin, keyboards, 1973-78, 1989-91), Alan Powell (drums, 1974-76), Paul Rudolph (bass, 1975-76), Adrian Shaw (bass, 1976-78), Harvey Bainbridge (bass, keyboards, 1979-91), Tim Blake (keyboards, 1979-80, 2008-present), Ginger Baker (drums, 1980-81), Keith Hale (keyboards, 1980-81), Martin Griffin (drums, 1980-83), Andy Anderson (drums, 1983), Rob Heaton (drums, 1983), Dead Fred (keyboards, violin, 1983-84), Rick Martinez (drums, 1983), Clive Deamer (drums, 1983-85), Alan Davey (bass, 1984-96)
Hawkwind was founded in 1969 in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, by guitarist/singer Dave Brock and guitarist Mick Slattery. Both hailed from the power-trio Famous Cure, which cut a blues-rock/psych cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Dealing With the Devil” in 1967. The new project came about when they met bassist John Harrison and discovered a shared affinity for electronic music, which they wanted to fuse with hard rock. Through an ad in a music weekly, they found teenage drummer Terry Ollis. Roadies Nik Turner and Michael “Dik Mik” Davies were brought into the band on saxophone and electronics, respectively.
Lacking a name or material, the nascent band (dubbed “Group X”) gatecrashed an August 29, 1969, talent show at Notting Hill’s All Saints Hall, where they performed a 20-minute version of “Eight Miles High” (The Byrds). Among the attendees was BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who urged music manager Douglas Smith to keep tabs on the band. Smith got them signed to Liberty Records in conjunction with a deal he was setting up for rustic-rockers Cochise.
Group X changed its name to Hawkwind Zoo before settling on Hawkwind. On December 4, they played the Haverstock Hill Country Club, London, opening for East of Eden.
At Abbey Road Studios, they demoed the Brock originals “Hurry On Sundown” and “Kiss of the Velvet Whip,” plus two covers, “Cymbaline” (Pink Floyd) and “Bring It On Home” (Willie Dixon). Immediately afterwards, Slattery cleared way for busker and music-shop clerk Huw Lloyd-Langton, a longtime acquaintance of Brock.
Hawkwind played 40 documented gigs during the first half of 1970, primarily on the English club and college circuit with jaunts to France (for the March 29 Evolution Festival at Exhibition Park, Paris) and Sweden (for the June 19 Festival of the Midnight Sun at Racing Circuit, Mantorps).
On May 23, 1970, Hawkwind performed at the Afan Lido Sports Centre in Port Talbot, Wales, as part of Afan Festival No. 2, an event that also featured performances by Atomic Rooster, Gypsy, Keef Hartley Big Band, Skin Alley, Taste, Writing On the Wall, and Yes. On June 16, they played London’s Night Angel club with Stray and Daddy Long Legs.
Meanwhile, Hawkwind recorded their first album at Trident Studios, London, with Dick Taylor, a founding member of The Rolling Stones and the 1963–69 guitarist of The Pretty Things.
Hawkwind released their self-titled debut album on August 14, 1970, on Liberty (UK, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa). It starts with “Hurry On Sundown” and runs through five ‘songs’ culled from a live in-studio jam. These songs include “Be Yourself” (8:09), “Mirror of Illusion” (6:58) and the lengthy “Seeing It as You Really Are” (10:43). Another track, “Paranoia,” starts at the end of side one, then slows down as if the turntable lost its power. The track resumes on side two.
Taylor recorded Hawkwind in one take in hopes of capturing their live sound on record. The studio jam, in its undivided form, was dubbed “Sunshine Special.” Hawkwind is one of only four credits in Taylor’s initial foray into production. He also worked on 1969/70 titles by Skin Alley, Dr. Z (“Lady Ladybird”), and the eponymous debut by Cochise. By the time Hawkwind hit stores, Harrison made way for ex-Skin Alley bassist Thomas Crimble.
Hawkwind is housed in a gatefold with an illustration that depicts long-tailed, human-armed lizards crawling to the foreground, apparently formed by falling leaves from the band’s green, leafy nameplate. On back, these lizards weave through shrubbery around the credits. The inner-spread presents a psych-tinted infrared performance shot of the band, lined with shrubbery.
Liberty issued “Hurry On Sundown” as a single, backed with a 2:35 edit of “Mirror of Illusion.” The a-side appears on the 1970 French Liberty comp Entrez Dans le Monde du Pop, a two-record set with cuts by Amon Düül II, Boffalongo, Brinsley Schwarz, Bonzo Dog Band, Fantasy, Groundhogs, High Tide, Jean-Luc Ponty, Krokodil, and Sugarloaf. The song also appears on the German Liberty comp Electric Rock 71 (Idee 2000) with many of the same artists, plus Can, Damnation of Adam Blessing, Man, Popol Vuh, and War. “Paranoia (Part 2)” appears on the French Liberty comp Pop 2000.
Hawkwind played more than 50 documented gigs during the second half of 1970, including the third and final Isle of Wight Festival, a five-day August event on Afton Down with 52 acts, including Cactus, Chicago, Fairfield Parlour, Family, Gracious, Heaven, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Lighthouse, Mighty Baby, Miles Davis, The Moody Blues, Pentangle, Supertramp, and Taste. Hawkwind played on day two (Thursday the 27th) in ‘Canvas City,’ a tent adjacent to the main stage. The tent was also used by T2 and the Pink Fairies.
The Isle event signaled two changes. Lloyd-Langton left after having a bad acid trip at the festival. Stacia Blake, a busty 6’2″ performance artist, approached Turner with an offer to be their dancer. She appeared on stage with Hawkwind frequently over the next five years, typically stripped down in body paint.
On October 9, Hawkwind played Liverpool University with Roy Harper. The following month, they supported the Pink Fairies at Mothers in Birmingham. On January 8, 1971, Hawkwind headlined over Genesis at Slough College.
Months later, Hawkwind appeared in the US on United Artists Records. Crimble cleared out for bassist Dave Anderson, who played on the 1969/70 Amon Düül II albums Phallus Dei and Yeti.
1971: In Search of Space
Hawkwind released their second album, In Search of Space, on October 8, 1971, on United Artists (worldwide). Side one contains “You Shouldn’t Do That” (15:41), an epic credited to Turner–Brock with a bassline developed by Crimble during his eight-month tenure. The pair also wrote “Master of the Universe,” the opener on side two. The album also contains two songs by Brock (“You Know You’re Only Dreaming,” “We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago”), the Turner–Anderson “Children of the Sun,” and the group-written “Adjust Me.”
In Search of Space was co-produced by the band and George Chkiantz at Olympic Studios. This was after a stalled week of sessions at AIR Studios, where staff grew weary of Hawkwind over the purported hi-jinks of the band’s entourage. Chkiantz also worked on 1970/71 albums by Day of Phoenix, Fat Mattress, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Horse, Quintessence, Slade, Stone the Crows, and Ten Years After. The assistant engineer, Rufus Cartwright, worked on contemporary titles by Fuzzy Duck, Supertramp, and ex-Eire Apparent frontman Ernie Graham.
In Search of Space is housed in a die-cut, three-fold cover designed by Barney Bubbles. It shows a star-haloed, flaming mandala with a rainbow-fin-eared head (center). The circle is lined with the name and title in multiple colors. A zigzag cut at the center opens to a photo layout of each member, which opens vertically to a T-shape. The inner-spread features lyrics and a b&w collage of group, performance, and member pics. The back cover shows a blurred performance shot of Brock.
Original copies contain a 24-page booklet, The Hawkwind Log, designed by Bubbles with photos by Phil Franks and space-age poetry by Robert Calvert (1945–1988), who joined Hawkwind as a singer and lyricist after this release.
Calvert, a native of South Africa, hailed from the theatre group Street Dada Nihilismus and wrote poetry for the sci-fi magazine New Worlds. (He is not to be confused with saxophonist Robert Calvert of Vertigo jazz-psychsters Catapilla.)
Hawkwind preceded the album with an appearance at the 1971 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Shepton Mallet. The five-day event (June 20–24) also featured sets by Arthur Brown, David Bowie, Edgar Broughton Band, Fairport Convention, Gong, Help Yourself, Henry Cow, Terry Reid, and Traffic.
By the time In Search of Space appeared, Anderson cleared out for bassist Lemmy Kilmister, formerly of the psych bands Sam Gopal and Opal Butterfly. When Ollis quit soon after, Lemmy roped in Opal drummer Simon King.
1972: “Silver Machine”
On February 13, 1972, Hawkwind played London’s Roundhouse as part of the Greasy Truckers Party, which also featured sets by Brinsley Schwarz and Man. An unreleased song from Hawkwind’s set, the Brock–Calvert number “Silver Machine,” was overdubbed and mixed at Morgan Studios and released as a single on June 9. On this and the b-side, “Seven By Seven,” Brock is credited under the pseudonym Sylvia Macmanus. He produced the single under a second alias, Dr. Technical.
“Silver Machine” reached No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart. Top of the Pops aired a performance clip of Hawkwind at Dunstable Civic Hall, overdubbed with the version on record.
Meanwhile, Hawkwind played the Bickershaw Festival, a May 5–7 event at Wigan, Lancashire, with sets by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Captain Beyond, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Donovan, The Incredible String Band, Jonathan Kelly, The Kinks, Linda Lewis, Mike Westbrook, Sam Apple Pie, and Wishbone Ash.
On September 16, Hawkwind appeared at the Oval Cricket Ground in Kensington for Rock at the Oval alongside Frank Zappa and Beck Bogert & Appice. Sessions for their third album commenced that month at Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales.
Doremi Fasol Latido
Hawkwind released their third album, Doremi Fasol Latido, on November 24, 1972, on UA. Side one consists of Turner’s epic “Brainstorm” (11:33), Brock’s “Space Is Deep,” and Dettmar’s interlude “One Change.” Three Brock numbers — “Down Through the Night” and the lengthy “Lord of Light” and “Time We Left This World Today” — comprise the bulk of side two, which wraps with Lemmy’s “The Watcher.”
Brock and Dettmar produced the album, which identifies the members by forename (Dave, Del, Simon), pseudonym (Captain Nik, Baron Brock, Dik and Mik), and epithet (Lemmy the Lurch).
Bubbles designed the cover and inner-sleeve. The font displays a metal shield in outer space. The back (silver/black) and inner-sleeve (orange/black) depict barbarian warriors in space-age settings. Original copies came with a poster of a hexagram with head shots of the six members.
The title is based on the mnemonic device for the diatonic scale (do–re–mi–fa–so–la–ti) developed by 10th century Italian music theorist Guido d’Arezzo. It also alludes to the 16th century concept of musica universalis (music of the spheres) where the spaces between celestial bodies create harmonic intervals. In that regard, each syllable represents an astronomical object and color: Do (Mars = red), Re (Sun = orange), Mi (Mercury = yellow), Fa (Saturn = green), Sol (Jupiter = blue), La (Venus = Indigo), and Ti (Moon = violet).
Hawkwind followed Doremi‘s release with 23 concerts through the end of 1972, including shows at Liverpool Stadium (Dec. 22) and Brixton Sundown, London (Dec. 30). Their live act, illuminated by lighting specialist Liquid Len, featured mime artist Tony Carrera and two topless painted dancers: Stacia and Miss Renee.
1973: Space Ritual
Hawkwind made multiple UK stops (Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff) during February 1973 before launching a European tour on the 23rd in Bremen. On the 24th, they played Hot Rock Night 1973 at Philipshalle in Dusseldorf along with Focus, Golden Earring, Home, Savoy Brown, Vinegar Joe, and Family (promoting Bandstand).
On May 11, 1973, Hawkwind released the live double-album Space Ritual, culled from the Liverpool and Brixton shows. It features “Brainstorm” and Brock’s Doremi numbers, plus “Master of the Universe,” “Seven By Seven,” and three new songs: Brock’s “Upside Down” and the lengthy Brock–Calvert pieces “Born to Go” (9:56) and “Orgone Accumulator” (9:59).
Space Ritual was engineered by Pye Mobile operator Vic Maile, who also engineered 1973 live albums by Amon Düül II and Man (Back Into the Future).
The music runs continuously across the four sides with a total playing time of 86:55. The songs are interspersed with seven shorter pieces, including the Dik/Del “Electronic No. 1” and the spoken-word interludes “Black Corridor” and “Sonic Attack,” both based on poems by sci-fi author Michael Moorcock. Space Ritual is bookended by Calvert’s prelude/postlude numbers “Earth Calling” and “Welcome to the Future.”
Space Ritual is housed in a six-fold sleeve illustrated by Bubbles under art director Pierre Tubbs. The outer-spread features color illustrations, including a haloed, cat-accompanied depiction of Stacia on the cover. The inner-spread features monochrome images (mostly celestial). Tubbs also worked as a visual conceptualist on 1972–74 albums by Groundhogs (Hogwash), Man (Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics), and Nektar (Down to Earth).
United Artists issued “Sonic Attack” as a one-sided promo single. Space Ritual reached No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart.
Due to time constraints, “Brainstorm” (9:20) and “Time We Left This World Today” (5:47) are edited down from their performance lengths. In 1985, the album was reissued as Space Ritual Volume 2 with both numbers restored to their actual running times of 12:00 and 13:20, respectively. The Volume 2 “Time We” segues into “Paranoia.”
On May 27, 1973, Hawkwind played the Empire Pool, Wembley, supported by multiple acts: Irish art-rockers Fruupp, the Welsh acts Deke Leonard & Iceberg (a Man spinoff) and Danny & the Racing Cars (three years prior to their debut album), and the newly merged English rustic-rock entities the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver. Another act, a guitar-wielding flasher named Magic Michael, was booed off stage. Weeks later, Dik Mik departed Hawkwind and dropped from the music scene.
Meanwhile, Hawkwind entered Olympic Studios to cut a new single: the Brock–Calvert “Urban Guerrilla,” backed with Brock’s “Brainbox Pollution.” Released on July 27, “Urban Guerrilla” hit No. 39 on the UK Singles Chart. It may have charted higher had it not been for a BBC ban, provoked by controversy over the song’s lyrics at a time of IRA terrorist attacks. Anton Matthews engineered the single, having recently worked on UA titles by Help Yourself and Man.
“Urban Guerrilla” is the only song with Calvert on lead vocals during his initial time with Hawkwind. Consequently, they dropped it from their live set when he left the band in late 1973 due to issues with bi-polar disorder. During his time away, he made the 1974/75 space-psych albums Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters and Lucky Leif and the Longships, both on UA.
Hawkwind toured the states during November–December 1973, followed by homeland shows into the new year. The lineup now consisted of Brock, Turner, Dettmar, Kilmister, King, and Simon House, who joined the band on keyboards and violin.
House originated in High Tide, which made the 1969/70 UA albums Sea Shanties and High Tide. He then joined the Third Ear Band for their 1972 soundtrack recording Music From Macbeth. He was hired to replace Dettmar, who voiced a desire to leave Hawkwind and emigrate to Canada but ultimately stayed for one more album.
1974: Hall of the Mountain Grill
Hawkwind released their fourth studio album, Hall of the Mountain Grill, on September 4, 1974, on United Artists (Liberty in Japan). Side one contains Turner’s phased “D-Rider” and three Brock numbers: “The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke),” “Wind of Change,” and “Web Weaver.” House submitted the title track, followed on side two by “Lost Johnny,” co-written by Kilmister and ex-Deviants frontman Mick Farren. Side two is bookended by Brock-credited live jams: “You’d Better Believe It” and “Paradox,” both recorded at the Edmonton Sundown in North London on January 24, 1974.
Sessions took place during May–June at Olympic Studios. Dettmar contributed the album’s penultimate interlude, “Goat Willow,” then left Hawkwind after sessions wrapped.
Hall of the Mountain Grill was co-produced between the band and engineer Doug Bennett, a tech hand on 1973/74 albums by Peter Frampton, The Rolling Stones, and Stomu Yamash’ta’s East Wind (One by One). “You’d Better Believe It,” enhanced with studio overdubs, was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, a veteran engineer who recently branched into production work (Lindisfarne, Nazareth, Gasolin’). Concurrently, Baker produced Captain Lockheed, Man’s Rhinos, and the 1974 Queen albums Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack.
Bubbles illustrated the front cover, which shows a tattered spaceship plummeting offshore. The back cover, by artist David A. Hardy, depicts a mountainside river stream under an early morning starry sky. Hardy also did space visuals for 1973/74 albums by the London Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
UA issued a 3:52 single edit of “The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke),” backed with Brock’s “It’s So Easy,” another number from the Edmonton Sundown show.
Lemmy later recut “Lost Johnny” with his subsequent band, Motörhead.
After sessions wrapped, Hawkwind embarked on a June tour of the Continent, where an injured King was deputized by drummer Alan Powell (Chicken Shack, Vinegar Joe). When King recovered, the band performed with both drummers and decided to keep the arrangement. Hawkwind headed stateside for a September–November round of dates, including a 9/13 show with Kansas at Cincinnati’s Albee Theater and two October dates with Rush at Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, and Memorial Hall, Kansas City.
Hawkwind rounded out 1975 with five UK dates with UA’s latest signing, Dr. Feelgood.
1975: Warrior on the Edge of Time
In January 1975, Hawkwind entered Olympic to cut a new single: “Kings of Speed,” a Brock composition with lyrics by Moorcock. Lemmy wrote the b-side, “Motorhead,” the eponym for his soon-to-form band. The single appeared on March 14 on United Artists in all territories except Japan (Liberty) and the US, where the band signed a deal with ATCO.
Hawkwind spent March recording their fifth studio album at Rockfield Studios with engineer Dave Charles, a studio tech and drummer on Man-related projects (Iceberg, The Neutrons). The tapes were mixed at Olympic with engineers Steve Owen (Moonrider) and Phil Chapman, who also worked on 1973–75 albums by Brian Eno (Here Come the Warm Jets), Heavy Metal Kids, Jack the Lad, and Kilburn & the High Roads.
The resulting Warrior on the Edge of Time appeared on May 9, 1975, on ATCO (US), Liberty (Japan), Festival (New Zealand), and UA (everywhere else). It features four new Brock numbers: “Assault and Battery (Part 1),” “The Golden Void (Part 2),” “The Demented Man,” and “Magnu.” Powell and King co-wrote “Opa-Loka” and collaborated with House and Moorcock on “The Wizard Blew His Horn,” “Standing at the Edge,” and “Warriors.” Side two contains lone-writes from House (“Spiral Galaxy 28948,” the number referencing his date of birth) and Turner (“Dying Seas”). “Kings of Speed” closes the set.
House’s arsenal on Warrior on the Edge of Time includes Mellotron and VCS3 portable analog synthesizer. Moorcock sings on “The Wizard” and “Warriors.” As Warrior came together, Moorcock cut his own album with backing by House, King, and Powell. The album, The New Worlds Fair, appeared in March 1975 on UA under the name Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix.
Warrior on the Edge of Time sports a four-fold sleeve designed by Comte Pierre D’Auvergne (aka Tubbs) and Eddie Brash (aka Bubbles). It unfolds horizontally at the center and vertically at the bottom. The two bottom gates are die-cut to the outline of the image on the inner-spread: a bronze badge engraved with the letters CHAOS. The outer-spread depicts mirroring grassy precipices with a deep drop (center) to a yellow valley. White clouds, night sky, mirroring pink moons, and tidal-wave blue clouds loom overhead.
Just prior to Warrior‘s release, Hawkwind embarked on a US tour that was plagued by Lemmy’s drug bust at the US/Canadian border. The band replaced him on bass with Paul Rudolph, a one-time guitarist in The Deviants who played on the first two albums by the Pink Fairies. Lemmy teamed with another Fairies guitarist, Larry Wallis, in the power-trio Motörhead.
Hawkwind headlined Reading Rock Festival 1975, an August 22–24 event with performances by Alan Stivell, Babe Ruth, Caravan, Climax Blues Band, Heavy Metal Kids, Joan Armatrading, Kursaal Flyers, Kokomo, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Snafu, Soft Machine, String Driven Thing, UFO, Wally, Wishbone Ash, and Yes (with Patrick Moraz).
Days later, Hawkwind appeared at the Watchfield Free Festival, an eight-day event with sets by Baker Gurvitz Army, Byzantium, East of Eden, Gong, Jonathan Kelly, Steve Winwood, Stonefield Tramp, Strife, Visitor 2035, Zorch, and numerous unsigned acts, including The 101ers and The Stranglers.
Calvert rejoined Hawkwind at the Reading event. Stacia retired from performance to become a visual artist.
1976: Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music
For their sixth album, Hawkwind signed to Charisma Records, a leading UK indie of the post-psych era. They debuted on the label with the July 1976 single “Kerb Crawler,” a Brock–Calvert composition backed with the group-written “Honky Dorky.”
The parent album, Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music, appeared on August 27, 1976, on Charisma (worldwide). Side one contains two lengthy Brock–Calvert numbers: “Reefer Madness” (6:03) and “Steppenwolf” (9:46). House contributed “Chronoglide Skyway” and co-wrote “Kadu Flyer” with Turner. The album also contains a song apiece by Powell (“City of Lagoons”) and Rudolph (“The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon”). The pre-released a-side appears on side two, remixed by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
Hawkwind co-produced Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music during February–March 1976 at Roundhouse Studios with engineer Mark Dearnley, who also worked on concurrent titles by J.A.L.N. Band, Osibisa, Water, and the soundtrack to season one of the ITV musical drama Rock Follies.
The cover of Astounding Sounds depicts a ginger female shaman, seated before a confluence of grass, clouds, and giant hemp leaves. The album’s title — accompanied by the tagline “THRILLING STORIES OF SCIENCE AND FANTASY!” — is arranged with ’50s-style sci-fi pulp novel fonts. Tony Hyde (aka Ashby), a childhood friend of Calvert, illustrated the cover, having also done visuals on Lucky Leif and the Longships. Bubbles designed the back cover in the style of Soviet poster art. He signed it under the pseudonym GROVE LANE, which he also used on the Kursaal Flyers’ 1975 release Chocs Away!
Just prior to the album’s release, Hawkwind played the Cardiff Castle Festival, a July 24 event with sets by Budgie, Curved Air, Status Quo, and Strawbs. On September 15, they launched the Astounding Sounds Amazing Music Tour, a 17-date UK excursion with support from Tiger. On these shows, Hawkwind de-emphasized external visuals (lighting, screen projections) in favor of theatrical routines centered on Brock and Calvert.
Turner Axed, “Back on the Streets”
After the Astounding Sounds tour, Hawkwind dropped Powell from the lineup. In a more surprise move, they fired Turner, who allegedly played loudly over the other members despite repeated complaints.
Turner teamed with Gong alumni Steve Hillage and Tim Blake in Sphynx, which issued the 1978 Charisma album Xitintoday, inspired by his visit to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Also that year, Sphynx masqueraded as The Radio Actors on the protest single “Nuclear Waste,” featuring vocals by Police frontman Sting. Turner then formed Inner City Unit, which made the 1980/81 post-punk albums Pass Out and The Maximum Effect.
In late 1976, the five-man Hawkwind — Brock, Calvert, House, King, Rudolph — entered AIR Studios and cut the Calvert–Rudolph composition “Back on the Streets,” debuted during the September tour. Charisma issued the single in January 1977, backed with the Brock–King–House number “The Dream of Isis.” Bob Potter, who produced the a-side, also worked on Ramshackled, the 1976 singular solo album by Yes drummer Alan White (actually, the long-awaited album by White’s stand-by band Simpson’s Pure Oxygen).
“Back on the Streets” and “Kerb Crawler” appear on Charisma Festival, a 1977 two-record comp with cuts by Brand X, Clifford T. Ward, and label legends Bo Hansson, Genesis (“Squonk,” “Afterglow”), Lindisfarne (“Meet Me On the Corner”), The Nice, Rare Bird (“As Your Mind Flies By”), and Van Der Graaf (“The Sphinx In the Face”), plus solo tracks by Patrick Moraz (“Out In the Sun”), Peter Gabriel (“Moribund the Burgermeister”), Peter Hammill, and Steve Hackett (“The Shadow of the Hierophant”).
1977: Quark Strangeness and Charm
Hawkwind recorded their seventh studio album during February 1977 at Rockfield. Halfway through the sessions, Rudolph left over musical differences, replaced by bassist Adrian Shaw, a one-time sideman of Keith Christmas.
Quark Strangeness and Charm was released on June 17, 1977, on Charisma (UK, Europe, Canada, Australia) and Sire (US). Side one features two Brock–Calvert numbers (“Spirit of the Age,” “Fable of a Failed Race”) and a third (“Damnation Alley”) co-written by House. The pair also wrote the title track and “Days of the Underground,” both on side two, which includes a track apiece by House (“The Forge of Vulcan”) and King (“The Iron Dream”). Rudolph’s parts, wiped from the final mix, are only heard on “Hassan I Sahba,” his co-write with Calvert.
Quark reunited Hawkwind with engineer Dave Charles, who also worked on 1976/77 albums by Graham Parker, Judas Priest (Sad Wings of Destiny), and Trickster (Find the Lady). House is credited with anvil percussion; Brock and Calvert play “sound FX” and “morse” effects, respectively.
Quark, housed in a single sleeve, is the only Hawkwind album with cover art by Hipgnosis. It shows a space lab with stray voltage (front) and a speed meter (back) beside a book-masked, electrocuted lab engineer. Geoff Halpin, the album’s graphic designer, also did 1977/78 cover visuals for Be-Bop Deluxe (Drastic Plastic), The Boomtown Rats (self-titled), City Boy (Dinner at the Ritz, Young Men Gone West), Colosseum II (War Dance), Generation X (self titled), and Horslips (Aliens).
Charisma issued the title track as a single, backed with the non-album House number “The Forge of Vulcan.” Hawkwind mimed “Quark, Strangeness and Charm” on Granada TV’s Marc, taped September 14, 1977, two days before the car crash that killed the program’s host, T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan.
Hawkwind played 12 UK dates during June 1977, including four with Lemmy’s new band Motorhead. At London’s Music Machine on the 10th, they were joined by a third act, The Police, who just released their first single.
In late August, Hawkwind appeared at Reading Rock ’77, a three-day event (26–28) with sets by 5 Hand Reel, Eddie & the Hot Rods, The Enid, Frankie Miller, Gloria Mundi, John Miles, Krazy Kat, Little River Band, Lone Star, The Motors, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Thin Lizzy, Ultravox, Uriah Heep, and Woody Woodmansey’s U-Boat. Hawkwind then embarked on a 20-date September–October UK tour with Bethnal as their opening act.
Months after leaving Hawkwind, Rudolph played bass on five tracks (“No One Receiving,” “Backwater,” “King’s Lead Hat,” “Here He Comes,” “Julie With…”) on Before and After Science, Brian Eno’s fourth solo album. Paul’s association with the ex-Roxy Music keyboardist extended back to songs on the 1973–75 albums Here Come the Warm Jets (“Baby’s On Fire,” “Driving Me Backwards,” the title track) and Another Green World (“Sky Saw,” “I’ll Come Running,” “Zawinul/Lava”). Rudolph later played a peripheral role with Canadian space-rockers Melodic Energy Commission.
1978: Hawklords – 25 Years On
During January 1978, Hawkwind cut three new songs at Rockfield: “Death Trap,” “Jack of Shadows,” and “PXR5.” They also added overdubs to live recordings of three songs premiered on the fall ’77 tour: “Uncle Sam’s on Mars,” “Robot,” and “High Rise.”
The band embarked on a March tour of the US, where they broke up after a two-night stand at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco. The split, precipitated by Calvert’s clinical depression, put the near-completed album in limbo. House moved on to David Bowie‘s backing band.
In mid-1978, Calvert regrouped with Brock and King for a new project, recorded under the altered name Hawklords for legal purposes. They recruited bassist Harvey Bainbridge and keyboardist Steve Swindells.
Bainbridge hailed from the unsigned folk-psych band Ark, which had one song (“Living In Comfort”) included on the 1976 compilation Made In Cornwall, the sole release on the Cornish Legend Music label. Swindells played on the 1972 album Elephantasia by singer–songwriter Dave Evans and cut a 1974 solo album, Messages, on RCA. Recently, he joined Scottish popsters Pilot for their 1977 release Two’s a Crowd.
Hawklords cut their album in June–August 1978 at Langley Farm in Devon. Midway through the sessions, King stepped down for a time. They completed the album with Bainbridge’s former Ark bandmate, drummer Martin Griffin.
The resulting 25 Years On appeared on October 6, 1978, on Charisma. It includes a lone-write apiece by Brock (“25 Years”) and Calvert (“(Only) The Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid”) and the Calvert–Bainbridge co-write “Free Fall.” The remaining five songs are Brock–Calvert numbers: “Psi Power,” “Automoton,” “Flying Doctor,” “The Only Ones,” and “The Age of the Micro Man.”
Charisma lifted “Psi Power” as a single, backed with “Death Trap,” a Brock–Calvert cut from the January Rockfield sessions. Trumpeter Henry Lowther plays on the a-side. The band promoted 25 Years On with the Hawklords Heavy Street–Punk Show Tour, which commenced on Oct. 6 at the Apollo Theatre, Oxford, and wrapped on Nov. 25 at the Pier Pavillion, Hastings.
After the tour, Calvert left for the final time. In 1981, he recorded the album Hype with three members of Bethnal. He embraced electronic music on the 1985/86 albums Freq and Test-Tube Conceived. On August 14, 1988, he died at age 43 of a heart attack.
Hawkwind reclaimed their name and issued the vaulted Rockfield material as PXR5 on June 15, 1979, on Charisma. The album features six songs recorded by the Quark lineup — Brock, Calvert, House, King, Shaw — and two added from the June 1978 Devon sessions: the Brock–Calvert cut “Infinity” and Brock’s interlude “Life Form.”
PXR5 opens with “Death Trap” and contains another Brock–Calvert cut, “Robot” (8:14). House and Calvert co-wrote “High Rise” and (with Shaw) “Jack of Shadows.” The centerpiece of side one, “Uncle Sam’s on Mars,” is a group-written number. The album concludes with the 5:39 title track, a Brock composition.
The first 5000 UK copies of PXR5 contained Pete Frame’s Hawkwind family tree, an exhaustive two-page chronicle of the band’s history and 17 lineup changes over its first decade. The album’s cover shows an illustration of a plug with faulty wiring. Due to controversy, they covered the image on a subsequent press with a sticker that reads “WARNING – THIS STICKER MUST NOT BE REMOVED.” Later pressings black out the artwork.
On September 8–9, Hawkwind appeared at Futurama 1979 at Queens Hall, Leeds. The predominantly post-punk event also featured sets by A Certain Ratio, Adam and the Ants, Cabaret Voltaire, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Fall, Joy Division, The Monochrome Set, The Only Ones, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Prag Vec, Public Image Ltd., Punishment of Luxury, Scritti Politti, Spizzenergi, and The Teardrop Explodes.
By now, Hawkwind consisted of Brock, Bainbridge, King, keyboardist Tim Blake (Gong, Sphynx), and the band’s original guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, last heard on the 1970 debut album. They did a November–December UK tour with support from Doll By Doll, including a Dec. 8 date at St. Albans City Hall. On Dec. 28–29, Hawkwind did a two-night stand at Camden’s Electric Ballroom with support from the Psychedelic Furs.
1980: Live Seventy Nine
On July 21, 1980, Hawkwind released their second official live album, Live Seventy Nine, taken from the St. Albans show. Side one begins with “Shot Down in the Night” (7:39) written by Swindells during his time with the band while they were still called Hawklords. They initially recorded the song in the studio as a possible single, but Swindells was offered a solo deal by ATCO. He recorded his own version on his 1980 second solo album, Fresh Blood. Thus two versions of the song went head-to-head when Bronze, Hawkwind’s new label, issued “Shot Down” as a single (b/w the chestnut “Urban Guerilla”).
Live Seventy Nine also contains Brock’s new “Motorway City” and three classic numbers: “Master of the Universe,” “Brainstorm,” and “Spirit of the Age.” Also featured is Blake’s “Lighthouse,” a piece from his 1978 second solo album Blake’s New Jerusalem. The set wraps with the 83-second “Silver Machine (Requiem).”
Live Seventy Nine was co-produced by Hawkwind and Ashley Howe, a prolific studio vet who also worked on 1979/80 releases by Angel Witch, Delegation, Sally Oldfield, Yes (Drama), and multiple projects with producer Alan Tarney, including I’m No Hero by Cliff Richard.
Artist Steve Joule designed the Live Seventy Nine cover, which depicts an approaching grey hawk under a silhouetted blue hawk against a yellow/black striped backdrop with pink lettering. Joule would subsequently do visuals for Girlschool, Huang Chung, Japan (Tin Drum), and Ozzy Osbourne.
King, who played on Fresh Blood, departed Hawkwind, which hired drumming legend Ginger Baker, famous for his role in the supergroups Cream, Blind Faith, and Baker Gurvitz Army.
Hawkwind released their tenth studio album, Levitation, on October 27, 1980. This was their second of two albums on Bronze, which signed the band due to their association with Motorhead, by now a juggernaut act for the metal-oriented label.
Levitation features eight proper songs, including the studio version of “Motorway City” and two new Brock numbers: “Who’s Gonna Win the War?” and the title track. Lloyd-Langton contributed “Space Chase” and co-wrote songs with Brock (“The 5th Second of Forever”) and Bainbridge (“World of Tiers”), who wrote “Psychosis.” The final track, “Dust of Time,” is a three-way composition. Blake’s 88-second “Prelude” opens side two.
Hawkwind recorded Levitation during July–August 1980 at Roundhouse Studios, owned by Bronze founder Gerry Bron (previously used for Astounding Sounds). The album was co-produced by Blake, Bainbridge, Lloyd-Langton, and engineer Howe.
Bronz in-house artist Linda Curry designed the cover, which shows a hawk-shaped spaceship beaming a colored symbol onto a rocky hillside. The back cover, credited to Philip Tonkyn, shows the symbol: the silhouetted hawk (from Live Seventy Nine) over a triangle.
Bronze lifted “Who’s Gonna Win the War?” as a single, backed with the Brock–Lloyd-Langton number “Nuclear Toy.”
Hawkwind promoted Levitation with a 46-date, Oct.–Dec. UK tour, including a Dec. 21 multi-bill at Queens Hall, Leeds, with Praying Mantis. For this tour, Blake was replaced by keyboardist Keith Hale, a member of Comus on their 1974 second album To Keep From Crying.
Levitation peaked at No. 21 on the UK Albums Chart. Original UK copies came on blue vinyl.
After a New Years session at Battle Studio, Baker cleared out for Griffin, previously heard on the Hawklords project. Hale followed Baker into Ginger Baker’s Nutters, which also featured guitarist Billy Jenkins and singer–saxist Ian Trimmer, both formerly of Burlesque.
Between stints in Hawkind, Griffin played on The Live Rise of Richard Strange (PVC, 1980) and its studio version, The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange (Virgin, 1981), by onetime Doctors of Madness frontman Richard Strange.
1981: Sonic Attack
In June 1981, Hawkwind played Glastonbury Festival 1981, a three-day event (19–21) with sets by Aswad, Gong, Judie Tzuke, Matumbi, New Order, Roy Harper, The Sound, and Supercharge.
Hawkwind released their eleventh studio album, Sonic Attack, on October 18, 1981, on RCA (UK, Germany). The title track and “Psychosonia” were co-written by the band and Moorcock, who co-wrote songs with Brock (“Lost Chances”) and Bainbridge (“Coded Languages,” which features his vocals). The album also includes a song apiece by Lloyd-Langton (“Rocky Paths”) and Bainbridge (“Virgin of the World”) and four cuts by Brock: “Angels of Death,” “Living on a Knife Edge,” “Disintegration,” and “Streets of Fear.”
Sessions took place with Howe during June–August 1981 at Rockfield. With no proper keyboardist, Brock and Bainbridge doubled up on their duties. Sonic Attack was co-engineered by Pat Moran, a veteran tech who also worked on 1978–82 albums by Bill Nelson, Peter Hammill (The Future Now, pH7), Robert Plant, and Rush (Hemispheres). The assistant engineer, Paul-Cobbold, subsequently worked on Ears Have Walls, the singular album by the synthpop enigma Blanket of Secrecy.
The Sonic Attack cover, designed by Andrew Christian with illustration by Jim Mountjoy, depicts a hawk-headed chrome spaceship with forward wings tipped with mirroring hawk heads. The ship appears bolted by the flaming nameplate at high altitude. On back, a chrome, ray-banned hawk wraps its wings up under a shiny, metallic nameplate.
RCA lifted “Angels of Death” as a single, backed with Brock’s non-album “Transdimensional Man.” Sonic Attack reached No. 19 on the UK Albums Chart. Hawkwind promoted the album with a 28-date UK tour during Sept–Oct. with support by Irish rockers Mama’s Boys.
On December 19, Hawkwind played a holiday concert at Rainbow Theatre, where they were joined on stage by Calvert, Turner, and Moorcock.
1982: Church of Hawkwind
Hawkwind released their twelfth studio album, Church of Hawkwind, on May 14, 1982, on RCA. Brock resurrected his Dr. Technical alias for this release, on which he lone-wrote six numbers, including “Looking in the Future,” “Star Cannibal,” and “The Phenomenon of Luminosity.” Bainbridge co-wrote “Experiment with Destiny” and three interludes, including and
“Solitary Mind Games” and “Waiting for Tomorrow.” Side two also contains a remake of “Silver Machine” and vents “Fahrenheit 451,” a vaulted Brock-Calvert number from 1978, originally considered for the Hawklords project. It was inspired by the namesake 1953 dystopian novel by American author Ray Bradbury.
Dr. Technical produced Choose Your Masques with Moran and a Rockfield staffer known as Technician Gloom. Turner, who reconciled with Hawkwind the prior Christmas, plays saxophone on “Void City.”
Choose Your Masques sports a cover designed by Andrew Christian (Partridge Rushton Associates) with an illustration by Terry Oakes. It shows the grim reaper projecting an angel-wing mask. Oakes also illustrated the 1978 Charly Records release The Dragon, an archival recording by Vangelis.
Hawkwind promoted Choose Your Masques with a 29-date UK tour during Oct.–Nov. 1982, supported by Spanish hard rockers Barón Rojo. Griffin, dissatisfied with his reduced studio role on Church and Choose, left after this tour.
In October 1983, Hawkwind released Zones, a mixed set on indie Flicknife Records. Side one dates from the Baker–Hale lineup with two Battle Studio demos — Hale’s “Dangerous Vision” and the group-written “Running Through the Back Brain” (both early 1981) — and two numbers captured live at the Lewisham Odeon on December 18, 1980: “The Island” (aka “Dust of Time”) and “Motorway City.”
Side two contains five numbers from the Choose Your Masques tour, including the classic “Brainstorm” (8:30) and the recent faves “Utopia 84,” “Sonic Attack,” and “Dream Worker.” Turner guests on sax and woodwinds on a new Brock number, “Social Alliance.”
Brock released “Social Alliance” as the a-side to a 1983 solo single on Flicknife, backed with “Raping Robots In the Street.” Around this time, he also released an eponymous, cassette-only album on his own imprint, Weird Records. Dave Brock consists of 13 archival demo recordings from his private library, including “Welcome to the Dream Machine” and “First Landing On Medusa.” Meanwhile, Lloyd-Langton formed his own band for the Flicknife single “Wind of Change” (b/w Marion’s “Outside the Law”).
During 1983, Hawkwind briefly included ex-Sphynx drummer Andy Anderson, who played on that year’s Blue Sunshine by The Glove, the side project of Steve Severin (Siouxsie and the Banshees) and Robert Smith (The Cure). This led to Anderson leaving Hawkwind to join The Cure for their 1983/84 releases Japanese Whispers and The Top.
In December, the trio of Brock, Bainbridge, and Lloyd-Langton cut four songs at Berry Studios.
1984: The Earth Ritual Preview
During February–March 1984, Hawkwind did a 34-date UK tour with hard rockers Bronz. That spring, they made appearances as the Sonic Assassins (Metropol Hotel, Brighton) and Snorkwind (Tibetan Tent, Stonehenge).
On March 2, 1984, Hawkwind released The Earth Ritual Preview, an EP comprised of the Berry tracks. Side A features Brock’s “Night of the Hawks,” featuring Lemmy on bass. Side B features the Brock–Calvert number “Green Finned Demon,” featuring New Model Army drummer Ron Heaton. Lloyd-Langton wrote “Dragons & Fables,” which features drummer John Clark of the Lloyd Langton Group. “Dream Dancers” is a Brock–Bainbridge composition. Hawkwind dedicated this EP to their onetime graphic illustrator Barney Bubbles, who committed suicide in November 1983.
In November 1984, Hawkwind embarked on the 12-date Do Not Panic Tour. The lineup stabilized with Brock, Bainbridge, Lloyd-Langton, bassist Alan Davey (b. 1963), and drummer Danny Thompson (the namesake son of Pentangle‘s bassist).
1985: The Chronicle of the Black Sword
Hawkwind released their fourteenth studio album, The Chronicle of the Black Sword, on November 11, 1985, on Flicknife. It’s a concept album based on the adventures of Elric of Melniboné, Moorcock’s fictional albino emperor who starred in ten 1961–64 installments of Science Fantasy. The album’s working title, Stormbringer — named after Elric’s magic black sword — was dropped because it had already been used by Deep Purple and John & Beverley Martyn.
Side one contains a song apiece by Brock (“Song of the Swords”) and Lloyd-Langton (“The Sea King”). Bainbridge contributed “Shade Gate” and co-wrote “The Pulsing Cavern” with Davey, who submitted the character’s eponym “Elric the Enchanter.”
Side two is bookended by the Brock numbers “Needle Gun” — about the black sword of another Moorcock character, Jerry Cornelius — and “Horn of Destiny.” On the remaining tracks, Brock set music to lyrics by his wife Kris Tait (“Zarozinia”) and Moorcock (“Sleep of a Thousand Tears”), surrounded by the Brock–Bainbridge interludes “The Demise” and “Chaos Army.”
Brock and Bainbridge co-produced The Chronicle of the Black Sword at Rockfield during August–September 1985 with engineer Dave Charles, who plays percussion on select passages.
Flicknife issued “Needle Gun” as a single, backed with Davey’s non-album “Arioch.” Poet Roger Neville-Neil, an American Hawkwind fan, ghost wrote the lyrics to “Needle Gun.” In April 1986, Flicknife issued “Zarozinia” as a single, backed with a live version of the oldie “Assault and Battery.”
Hawkwind promoted The Chronicle of the Black Sword with a 29-date UK tour during November–December 1985 with support from the powertrio Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts.
- Hawkwind (1970)
- In Search of Space (1971)
- Doremi Fasol Latido (1972)
- Space Ritual (live 2LP, 1973)
- Hall of the Mountain Grill (1974)
- Warrior on the Edge of Time (1975)
- Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976)
- Quark Strangeness and Charm (1977)
- 25 Years On (1978 • Hawklords)
- PXR5 (1979)
- Levitation (1980)
- Live Seventy Nine (1980)
- Sonic Attack (1981)
- Church of Hawkwind (1982)
- Choose Your Masques (1982)
- Zones (1983)
- The Chronicle of the Black Sword (1985)
- Out & Intake (1987)
- The Xenon Codex (1988)
- Space Bandits (1990)
- Discogs: Hawkwind
- English Albums: H
- Concerts Wiki: Hawkwind
- Concert Archives: Hawkwind
- 45cat: Hawkwind
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1 thought on “Hawkwind”
Which tour was it when Hawkwind played with a backdrop of a wall of tv screens?