Hawkwind Trivia

A place to put snippets that don't fit anywhere else...thanks to Frank Weil for some of this information
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- Hawkwind were the first British band ever to headline on their debut tour of the USA.  Which was back in
Nov-Dec 1973

- Hawkwind have 428 distinct numbers in their repertoire (ignoring retitlings!) as of the end of 2010.  .

- The most often recorded song is Brainstorm, with 28 versions appearing on 73 different releases

- The most often released song is Silver Machine; 18 different versions of it appear on a total of 102 releases

- Other widely-released numbers are Hurry On Sundown (7 versions appearing on 56 releases), Master Of
The Universe (22 versions appearing on 106 releases), Sonic Attack (18 versions appearing on 64 releases)
and Spirit Of The Age (17 different versions appearing on a total of 58 different releases)

- Hawkwind have had 37 permanent members, and the same number of guests, making a total of 74 people
to have been in the band!

- Of these, 21 were vocalists, 13 played drums, 11 played bass, there were 10 guitarists, 18 played
keyboards, synth and/or electronics, 3 played brass instruments and 2 played violin.  (Some people did
more than one thing, of course.)

- The lyrics to Assault & Battery were based upon a single stanza of a poem by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow, called
A Psalm Of Life

- The lyrics to Magnu are based upon the 3rd verse of Song of Apollo by Percy Bysshe Shelley

- Dave Brock and Pete Judd opened for the Groundhogs at the Bluescene in Twickenham on 31/03/69

- For about 4 months in the mid-80's, Guitarist magazine carried a regular feature called Langton's Leadlines,
wherein Huw Lloyd Langton gave away all his secrets

- The opening number of the Sex Pistols gig at Crystal Palace on 27th July 2002 (for the Queen's Golden
Jubilee) was 'Silver Machine', intended to be an acknowledgement to Hawkwind.  It remained in the set for
their subsequent tour of the USA.

- A suspiciously cleaned-up sounding version of 'Silver Machine' was also used in a series of UK television
commercials for Mazda cars in 2000

- The first ever Hawkwind CD was "Anthology Vol. 1" on Samurai Records, released in May 1986
- Hawkwind's sold-out gig at the Exeter Phoenix in October 2003 was an unannounced benefit for "The
Future Sound of Exeter." Which, it turns out, is a collective of local musicians scratching to get by... they
share all revenues from shows, CD sales, etc. in an effort to not have to go flip burgers at McDonald's.  It
turns out that
FSOE put on the Hawkwind gig, and that the band donated their cut of the revenue (the
, biggest Exeter gig of the year) to the FSOE kitty.  Hawkwind have apparently agreed to do it again late in
2004.  (And they did!)

- There have been 192 Hawkwind albums, ignoring bootlegs, non-Brock solo albums and straightforward
reissues where the original album name / cover art was used.

- Of these, 20 were studio albums, 11 were contemporary live albums, 29 were retrospective live albums, 12
were mixed live/studio, 51 were Hawkwind compilations, 6 were extensive Hawkwind appearances on
general compilations, 6 were Brock solo albums, 42 were unauthorised, and the remaining 14 were "Friends
and Relations" type albums.  They've also released 35 singles and 21 EP's...all figures correct as of the end
of 2010.

- The earliest (and rarest) vinyl bootleg album was 'Mind Journey', recorded at the Glasgow Apollo on 10th
August 1975. Allegedly there is only one copy in existence!

- The Church of Hawkwind album got its name from Michel Moorcock, who wandered into the recording
sessions at Rockfield in Wales, and commented that it sounded as though they were in church.  He had also
come up with the 'Sonic Assassins' tag all the way back in 1972.

- According to the Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock, the 'In Search Of Space' album sold over 100,000
copies in the UK in 1972 alone.

- Despite his apparent dislike of Hawkwind, John Peel played "Infinity" and "Life Form" from the just-
released PXR5 album during his set late on Friday night at the Reading Festival in August 1979.

- The participation of various Hawkwind personnel on Bob Calvert's solo albums is well known.  But just
slightly more obscure is the fact that both Simon King and Paul Rudolph went on to play on Brian Eno's
"Here Come The Warm Jets" solo album (as a result of Eno having produced the Captain Lockheed LP)

- Q Magazine once ran a 'top ten' list of "70s Prog-Rock Song Titles That Explain Why Punk Happened."
Hawkwind were at number 9 with "The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon"

- According to
this web page, Bruce Dickinson's 1996 'Skunkworks' tour used intro and outro tapes from
Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters. "Catch a falling Starfighter" was used as the intro tape and "The
Song of the Gremlin pt II" was used after the band had ended their gig.

- Hawkwind's 1972 hit Silver Machine featured 5 times on BBC's "Top Of The Pops".  These occasions
were 13th July 1972 with Jimmy Savile presenting: 27th July 1972 with Tony Blackburn presenting: 10th
August 1972 with Ed Stewart presenting.  On each of these occasions, the film clip from Dunstable
Queensway Hall (7/7/72) was shown.  Silver Machine was also played, minus the film clip, on 24th August
1972 with Jimmy Savile presenting: and finally, on the Christmas Day edition (25th December, 1972)
presented by Jimmy Savile and Ed Stewart.

- Broadcast in Jan / Feb 2006, the BBC's
Life on Mars series, being set in the year 1973 and evidently
directed and/or produced by one or more Hawkwind fans, has so far featured "Silver Machine",
"Brainstorm", "Urban Guerilla", "You Shouldn't Do That" and Ejection" as part of the soundtrack...

These next three things are items that I believe to be correct, but I've no proof of any of them...

- Why does the Astrounding Sounds, Amazing Music album seem to have two different cover designs?
Originally, the "radio" side, which carries the album title, was the front cover.  The back cover design was
the vaguely sinister (as in Third Reich styling) "eagle" design, which carries the name of the band.  I believe
the second pressing of the original UK vinyl release was inadvertantly done with the cover reversed. This
seems to be the most numerous of the original ASAMs out there, but I don't know the numbers involved,
i.e. how many were in the first pressing run as against the second pressing, etc..  The splendid
Files discography mentions at least one subsequent reissue (1983) that looks like it used the reversed cover
as a template, which probably helped enshrine it thereafter as a legitimate styling of Astounding Sounds
Amazing Music, for example on the box set that came out in in the USA many years later.

- Why has the Warrior On The Edge Of Time album never been reissued alongside the other United Artists
titles that Hawkwind recorded in the first half of the 70's?  Aside from the often-made point that not all the
musicians involved have agreed to it, there may be another reason.  Hawkwind's original UA contract was
for 5 albums, and it thus expired with the release of Hall Of The Mountain Grill. However, Hawkwind were
separately contracted to a record company called ATCO in the USA, and that contract was still running
when they came to do Warrior On The Edge Of Time - and in fact was the only record contract that
Hawkwind had at the time. So, the album was actually recorded for ATCO, they licenced it back to UA for
UK (maybe European) release on a short-term licencing deal. Which has long since expired, and hence EMI
(who acquired United Artists and their back catalogue) has never had the rights to reissue the album.

- The 1978 "Hawklords" album is often, and wrongly referred to as "25 Years On".  The reason for this is
that when it was first released, as a promotional device, the first 25,000 copies had the words "25 Years
On" printed in very small type in the top right-hand corner of the front cover.  This was a commonly used
marketing ploy in the time, based on the idea that collectors would prize limited editions sufficiently to give
these records an enhanced resale value - "one day it'll be worth a lot of money".  Which is quite cynical on
the part of the record companies...but where are *they* now, eh?!
- Through the end of 2011, Hawkwind had played a grand total of 1,672 gigs.  They break down thus:
The first few years
of the band's
represented their
heaviest gigging
schedule, which
stabilised at around
40 per year from
the mid-70's
onwards - until it
went pear-shaped in
1998.  Maybe
because manager
Doug Smith left at
that point?
The general trend is for the
band to play Autumn / Winter  
tours, hence the peak in
November with the months
either side also getting up
there.  There is also a tendency
for the band to do (shorter)
Spring tours, resulting in the
other peak during April.

The summer months are
generally quiet and historically
have tended to feature one-off
festival appearances rather than
tours.  There is a slight peak in
June, which is probably
accounted for by the
Stonehenge and Glastonbury
festivals that the band played in
the 70's and 80's.
The fact that
London comes out
top by a long way is
no surprise.  After
that, Manchester
pips Liverpool,
which compared to
other cities listed
here probably has
the highest incidence
of Hawkwind gigs
relative to its

Amsterdam is the
most often played
city outside the UK,
with 18 Hawkwind
gigs. Chicago is tops
in the USA...
- Through the end of
2011, the most
played numbers at
Hawkwind gigs were:
Only ever played four times: Upside Down*, Stonehenge Decoded

Only ever played five times: Living On A Knife Edge, Wage War, Jack Of Shadows

*Upside Down additionally featured in the set list on all 4 of the December 2005 UK dates, as an interlude
within Brainstorm.  I'm amazed they remembered how to play it!

These songs may admittedly have been played more than this, as the set lists (source material) are far from
complete.  One more interesting fact is that some recently revived oldies never were popular stage numbers
back when they were penned.  Examples are Flying Doctor (16 performances), Where Are They Now (21
performances),  Chronoglide Skyway (14 performances), You'd Better Believe It (29 performances) and
Spiral Galaxy (20 performances)...most of them recent (rhrough the end of 2009...with even more since
This contribution from Hawker fits the bill of being a snippet that doesn't easily fit anywhere else on the site:

Sometimes when I remember this I think I must have been dreaming. But no, it's true. In the year
Xitintoday came out I was watching the BBC. I think it was Horizon I was watching. The subject was
reincarnation. Suddenly there was the briefest glimpse of Sphynx on stage. Then the narrator says
something like "this young man" (yes that's the exact phrase) "believes he is the reincarnation of..." ...(some
Egyptian)... and there is Nik Turner in full Sphynx body costume on Horizon!  My mum said "Oh my God"
- not because it's Nik but because of the weird costume.  I explain it's a stage costume. He then took off
the head covering and goes on to explain who he once was (the Eygptian that is, not the manic sax player
from Hawkwind).  He's followed by some woman who knew Nik when he was an Egyptian and now
they've met again.

The only thing I'm not 100% sure about is the programme.  It could have just been some other
documentary on reincarnation but the voice I remember is that of the usual Horizon narrator from that

For a cross-reference, have a look at this 1978 newspaper clipping and you'll see what made Hawker's
mum squawk!
Silver Machine just about
sneaks into the Top Ten, at
number 9 with 206 plays.  
Also interesting were some of
the least played numbers.  
There are many which were
one-off jams with whatever
name applied to them, but
here are some of the best
known rarely played songs:

Only ever played once: The
Reason Is, We Do It, Over
The Top, In Your Area,
Chronicle Of The Black

Only ever played twice: Fable
Of A Failed Race, Sweet
Mistress Of Pain, Clouded
The last time Hawkwind
played at Hammersmith
Odeon was 1992 (and they
had not done a 2-night
sellout there since 1989).  
Some of the other venues
are surprising - 18
appearances at the
Wolverhampton Civic
Hall?  The band may not
play there any more (the
smaller Wulfrun Hall has
featured on recent tours)
but it is at least still in
existence: some of these
venues have long since
disppeared, e.g. the
Queensway Hall
and Glasgow Apollo were
bulldozed years ago (1985)