|Album Sleeve Notes, Part 6
"We're the Psychedelic Warlords
Playing spaced out rock and roll
Hang on to your heads now
'Cause we were born to go"
Words from the seventies which still apply to
Hawkwind today. Spaced out rock and roll is a
good phrase to describe Hawkwind as you can use
it to describe their laidback, jamming (free festival
attitude) approach to much of their music and it
also fits nicely with their extensive use of Science
fiction and fact lyrics.
No wonder they've often been described as a
bunch of hippies putting science fiction to music.
Something highlighted by their highly visual,
psychedelic and science fiction themed
stageshows. Songs and instrumentals inspired by the likes of Moorcock, Zelazny, Ballard, Asimov,
Farmer, Spinrad, Bradbury, Hesse, Vonnegut and others.
It doesn't seem like the ideal way to get on Top Of The Pops (though, of course, this did happen) or to
achieve longevity, yet the band has been on the go for thirty-four years now and looks set to carry on for
many more. This survival is even more surprising when you consider that Hawkwind do not court the
media... and the music press does not help people who don't play ball!
This, I think, is one of the reasons that the band has gone on so long. Not because they are rebellious,
but because they are making the music that they want to play, the sounds they enjoy most of all. Much
more satisfying to make a living with the music they love than to make a fortune following commercial
In doing so, Hawkwind have carved their own niche in rock history and inadvertantly founded their own
fashion. By embracing their science and science fiction so wholeheartedly, instead of just dipping in a
trendy finger, as so many other artists have done, Hawkwind have become undisputed leaders of the
genre. When you think of space rock, you think of Hawkwind and all others who make that style of
music walk in their shadow. Of course, the main reason that Hawkwind have lasted so long isn't because
science fiction is their theme. It's sounds created by the band. They excite us and we can't get enough of
listening to them.
Yet what is the Hawkwind sound?
The first things that spring to mind are the driving force of Dave Brock's rhythm guitar and the electronic
sound effects but there is a lot more to it than that. They could, like so many bands, trade on established
successful sounds, but do not choose to do so. Never the obvious!
For instance, although the heavy rock album Space Ritual Alive reached number five in the album charts,
the next album. Hall Of the Mountain Grill, was quite different and it was here that we were introduced to
the first of many melodic instrumentals; Wind of Change, Hall of the Mountain Grill and Goat Willow.
Hawkwind did their own thing, not what the media expected of them. Having so many people joining and
leaving (rejoining and guesting) the band has brought a steady flow of new sounds and new ideas which
have been embraced by the existing members, so the Hawkwind sound has diversified, expanded and
gained greater variety, while retaining the basis of science fiction influenced heavy rock. The poems and
graceful instrumentals sit comfortably between the heavier pieces and form a fine contrast in what could
otherwise be a relentless onslaught.
In thirty-four years, Hawkwind have recorded a lot of songs and made many friends in other bands. No
wonder then that we can be treated to this fine album offering tribute to the band. These are all good
artists (and it is a bonus that some are Hawkwind musicians) in their own right, but it is a special treat to
us that we can hear them offering their interpretations of Hawkwind. Enjoy!
-Brian Tawn, Hawkwind Feedback, September 2003
(That's just the first part of the sleeve notes, which were added specially for the vinyl edition of the
album, and did not appear with the original CD issue. The original sleeve notes follow.)
Hawkwind's history has been well documented via numerous sources, some of which can be accessed
via the contacts listed at the end of this booklet. What follows then, is a short history dealing mainly with
those tracks covered on this release. Hawkwind emerged from the ashes of Group X and Hawkwind Zoo
in the late sixties. In 1969 the band were signed to United Artists and a year later released their debut
album "Hawkwind". With a sound imbued in sonic aural sound-scapes and mind-altering electronics, as
well as the basic progressive rock back-bone, the album was, like its ensuing offspring, an audio visual
reflection of the band's live shows. '"Paranoia Parts 1 & 2", "Hurry on Sundown" and "Mirror of Illusion"
were some of the innovative songs on which Hawkwind's future sound would rest.
The nucleus of Dave Brock, The Experienced Clown, DikMik and Terry Ollis would progress onto the
1971 album "In Search of Space". Huw Lloyd Langton leaving to re-emerge some ten years later. In
Search of Space constituted a far more ethereal menace than its predecessor and a far more cohesive
body of songs. Robert Calvert had also joined the band adding his poetic genius to the studio and stage.
Tracks like "Master of the Universe", "You Know You're Only Dreaming", "We Took The Wrong Step
Years Ago", and "You Shouldn't Do That" became the first real collection of songs that personified the
band in every facet of their repertoire. 1972 was a year when the mighty "Doremi Fasol Latido" album
blasted forth from the cosmic chaos and in its shimmering sonic wake tracks such as "Brainstorm",
"Space is Deep", "The Watcher", "Lord of Light" and others transmuted within minds of all who
absorbed its flawless creation. This was to be one of the most accomplished albums the band would ever
create. The album also featured new member Lemmy. The year also beheld the release of "Silver
Machine", a record that was to scale the UK singles charts to the No. 3 position; a feat that surprised
everyone, none more so than the band who were very much the underground purveyors of an alternative
music encompassing the drug culture of the day [A feat that has been closely linked with the band every
In 1973, another single, "Urban Guerilla", charted at No. 34, but was pulled from distribution after only
two weeks because of a terrorist bombing in London. This negative point to the year [maybe not in terms
of publicity] was to be turned on its head by the teeth shuddering "Space Ritual" live album. The
inimitable Hawkwind live juggernaut was held together by Lemmy's ridiculously heavy bass lines and has
become the definitive Hawkwind live album. It was also to be the band's most successful album ever,
featuring the live favorites "Space is Deep", "Brainstorm", "Master of the Universe", "You Shouldn't Do
That", and the hypnotic "Orgone Accumulator".
Soon after the album was released. Bob Calvert left to concentrate on his solo project "Captain Lockheed
and the Starfighters". This album featured most of Hawkwind and the eccentric Arthur Brown, amongst
others, containing three tracks that would themselves merge into the Hawkwind live set, namely
"Ejection", "The Right Stuff", and "Aerospaceage Inferno". The year also spat out the more polished
sounding "Hall of the Mountain Grill" album. The release also contained "Lost Johnny", "Psychedelic
Warlords [Disappear in Smoke]", "Paradox" and "You Better Believe it". The band's last album for United
Artists, "Warrior on the Edge of Time", was released in 1975. It was during the American tour in support
of this album that Lemmy was arrested by the Canadian Customs for possession of Amphetamines. This
would prove to be his last association with the band as a full time member. The album featured the
"Kings of Speed" single that was coupled with the Lemmy-penned "Motorhead", a name he was to adopt
and transform into one of the heaviest metal bands on the planet. Other highlights included "Assault and
Battery", "The Golden Void", "Magnu", "Spiral Galaxy" and the hauntingly disturbing "Standing at the
Edge of Time".
1976, and for the band a new label and a new album, "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music". Released on
Charisma, the musical direction was more detached from the fantasy realms of its predecessors and
harnessed a more up beat selection of songs, including "Reffer Madness", "Kerb Crawler" and the
menacing "Steppenwolf". The band again went through a major line up change mainly down to Brock /
Calvert expressing a dislike that parts of the band were trying to introduce a more funky edge to the
The 1977 release of the Science Fiction influenced "Quark Strangness and Charm" amplified the
partnership of Brock / Calvert in the song-writing department, with tracks like "Days of the
Underground", "Damnation Alley", "Quark Strangness and Charm", and the prophetic "Hassan-i-Sahba".
Due to legal complications the band changed their name to "Sonic Assassins" [Flicknife released a 12"
record in 1981 featuring some of the band's recordings from 1977]. However, the name was hastily
dropped in favour of "Hawklords" in 1978, where the band released the "25 Years on Album". This was a
very Punk influenced release and featured some fine songs that included "Flying Doctor", "Psi Power",
and "The Age of the Microman".
Robert Calvert again left to pursue a solo career and the "PXR5" album, originally recorded in 1977,
emerged in 1979. Tracks included "Death Trap", "Uncle Sam's on Mars", "High Rise", and "Robot".
With a new line up and no imminent album to record, Hawkwind embarked on a tour which would come
to be immortalized on the very metal based "Live 79" live album. With the New Wave of British Heavy
Metal in full flight, the solid hard rock style the band employed merged within the growing Metal
movement of the time. The new line up featured Huw Lloyd Langton, Tim Blake, Harvey Bainbridge and
briefly Ginger Baker [one third of the legendary Cream].
1980 ignited a revitalized Hawkwind and the release of "Levitation". The inclusion of "Motorway City"
[first aired on "Live '79"] and the hard driving title track "Levitation". This album ranks alongside
"Warrior on the Edge of Time", "Doremi Fasol Latido" and "Quark" as one of their best studio outputs.
The following releases of "Sonic Attack" in 1981 and "Church of Hawkwind" in 1982 saw the band
experimenting once more; with the "Sonic Attack" album managing to forge a classic cut in the form of
"Angels of Death".
The heavily synth laden "Church of Hawkwind" was the band's most obscure release to date. Heavily
saturated with electronics and obscure sound scales, the album seemed to express a sharp change of
direction that was to be altered with the following "Choose Your Masques" album in 1982. The album
contained the finely crafted "Utopia", amongst lesser honed tracks like "Choose Your Masks", "Solitary
Mind Games", and versions of "Silver Machine" and "Psychedelic Warlords".
With a new bass player in the shape of Alan Davey, 1985 was the year Hawkwind managed to raise the
ante once more. The Grand "Chronicle of the Black Sword" album was based on Michael Moorcock's
written epics aof Eiric of Melinborne. Tracks included "Sleep of a Thousand Tears", "Song of the
Swords", "Zarazonia" together with the rousing "Needle Gun". A live album "Live Chronicles" followed in
1986 and featured an elaborate stage show centered on the theme of the previous album. The track
"Moonglum", a Langton penned live favourite, was exclusively featured amongst a complex maze of old
and new material.
In 1988 Hawkwind's fifteenth studio album proper, "The Xenon Codex", was released, and like its
predecessor, the band were firing on all cylinders. Standout tracks were "The War I Survived", "Sword
of the East", "Heads" and Neon Skyline". With Huw Lloyd Langton departing in 1989, the band entered
the nineties with a dynamism and vitality that was reminiscent of the classic "Levitation" and "Chronicles"
albums. New Drummer Richard Chadwick added an extra dimension to the Hawkwind sound. It was a
bitter-sweet beginning though, as tragically this was the year Robert Calvert passed away. In some
respects the ten tracks he wrote or co-wrote that appear on this compilation can be regarded as a small
tribute to his formidable legacy within the band.
"Space Bandits" was released in 1990, and featured a novel addition to the line up in the form of a female
vocalist, Bridget Wishart. Stand out tracks were "Out of the Shadows" and "Images" together with the
Davey-penned "Wings". A live album, "Palace Springs", taken from the Space Bandits tour was released
in 1991. In 1992 "Electric Teepee", their first double studio album, was released, with the band reduced
to a trio that consisted of Brock, Davey and Chadwick. The album harnessed a vast instrumental
experimentation as well as the traditional Rock based numbers. Tracks included "LSD", "Right to
Decide", "Don't Understand", "Sadness Runs Deep" and "The Secret Agent".
In 1993, "It is the Business of the Future to be Dangerous" was released. It was more of an ambient
album, not too dissimilar to the 1982 sonic exploration that was "Church of Hawkwind". The album
contained the first cover version to be released by the band. It was a take on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme
Shelter" and initially used for the multi-artist "Putting Our House in Order" charity compilation album.
Hawkwind's next release was the live album "The Business Trip" in 1994, followed by the "Alien 4"
studio opus in 1995. This was an album that saw the band return to the science fiction themes of the
seventies, featuring the charismatic vocal work of Ron Tree. The album was a return to the more in your
face rock arrangements that were missing on the previous release. In 1997 the "Distant Horizons" album
was released. Alan Davey had previously decided to concentrate on his other project, Bedouin, which left
Ron Tree to take up the bass. The album was similar in style to "Electric Teepee" and "Alien 4". These
releases were followed by two official live albums. The "2001 Yule Ritual" and "Live at Canterbury 2001"
releases being both well received.
Hawkwind are an institution governed by Hawkwind. The path they tread is the path they lay. Isolated
from the ebbing trends that have come and gone throughout their long history, the band have been
embraced by the genres influenced by their being. Hawkwind are a unique act that have managed to rise
above the debris of what the Record Industry leaves asunder; where the fans themselves mean something
more than just shifting units and appeasing label accountants. This compilation is a tribute to a band that
has inspired the bands participating in one way or another.
Album sleeve notes? Not exactly. The object
shown on the right was a 1-track promotional CDR
issued by Voiceprint in November 2002 to promote
the forthcoming "Canterbury Sound Festival 2001"
live album. It included the notes shown above
which you can't possibly read, so here you go....
Early February 2003 sees the release of a fabulous live recording by *the* space rock band of all time,
Hawkwind. Recorded at the Canterbury Sound Festival 2001, the line-up includes special guest Arthur
Brown, who sings on 'Silve Machine'. The CD also includes storming versions of the first single â
€˜Hurry On Sundown', 'Motorway City' from the 'Levitation' album plus the rarely performed 'Ejection'
from Robert Calvert's 'Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters' concept album. The album will follow a 10-
date UK tour featuring special guest Arthur Brown this December.
First formed in 1969 as 'Hawkwind Zoo' by Dave Brock, who still leads the band, Hawkwind continue to
go strong some forty years later. In 2001 they were voted '8th top progressive rock bandâ€™ of all time
on TV's Channel 4 and October of that year saw them headline a week of psychedelia at the Royal Festival
Hall, London. In October 2002 they appeared at Wembley Arena as special guests of Motorhead and,
much to the delight of the audience, Lemmy joined them on stage for 'Silver Machineâ€™.
This December Hawkwind will be on tour again, with special guest Arthur Brown, for what promises to
be a stunning bill of music and spactacle. Hawkwind will also be joined on stage by Tim Blake (ex-Gong)
and with lighting by Chaos Illumination, expect a psychedelic rock show with more than a few surprises.
The stage in virtual darkness, ultra-violet lights
picking out day-glo designs painted on amps,
monitors and keyboards. A backdrop of stars over
an alien landscape fills the screen at the back of the
stage. The hum of electrical wizardry, Tension in
Shadowy figures slip onto the stage, spectral
shapes in the gloom, gliding behind drum kit,
keyboards, microphone stands. Faint twittering
sounds, growing rapidly louder, issue from the
speakers. Spacey Science Fiction noises join in, to
the background sound of a mighty wind. Now
almost deafening, the speakers tremble as waves
of synthesiser sounds sweep majestically from one
side of the stage to the other.
The audience cheers as, suddenly, the drums and
guitar join in with a crashing burst of sound and the vocalists step forward to the microphones. At the
same time, the alien landscape and night sky are replaced by whirling slides of dazzling colours, stage
lights and strobes flash off and on too fast for the eye to follow, while a laser spreads its broad beam over
the crowd, creating coloured clouds in the smoke.
Hawkwind have come to town again.
But it won't only be the band. Hawkwind like to present an audiovisual experience, complete with the
unexpected...if there can be such a thing as the unexpected where Hawkwind are concerned. Suddenly,
you realise there are too many people on the stage. An ex-member of the band has joined them for a night
or two, a welcome visit from an old friend. Or the extra person, or persons, may turn out to be a dancer,
a mime artist or a fire-eater. Even jugglers and conjurors have performed while Hawkwind play behind
them, the guests appearing for the duration of a song and slipping quietly away.
In this manner, Hawkwind have excited audiences in large concert halls, at organised festivals and at free
festivals, at which they still regularly play, for over twenty years. There have been endless changes in
line-up over these years and so many people have come and gone that it would waste space to list them all
here. However, the tracks on this CD set cover the entire Hawkwind history and serve admirably to
illustrate the career of this unique band.
The driving force behind Hawkwind is Dave Brock, the only original member still with the band. His
pre-Hawkwind career was with blues bands and as a busker, so it is hardly surprising that the first
Hawkwind demo song, later the band's first single, 'Hurry On Sundown', reflected his busking sound.
But this was not to be the real Hawkwind sound.
The Hawkwind sound was to be one of driving rhythm overlaid with electronics...and what made
Hawkwind even more different to other bands was that vocals and lead instruments were mixed into the
overall sound, to complement it rather than to dominate it. No guitar heroes here!
During the early years, Hawkwind were signed to United Artists, and more notable members of the band
at that time included Nik Turner, Lemmy (who went on to do great things with Motorhead) and Stacia
(who danced), while Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock each spent time as resident poet with the
During that period, in 1972, Hawkwind enjoyed chart success with the single 'Silver Machine', and could
all too easily have slipped into the role of being a pop group. However, refusing to conform, the band
declined to mime to their hit song in the television studios and the BBC were forced to film the band
performing the song on stage.
It must have been a strange experience for anyone who went to a Hawkwind concert on the strength of
hearing 'Silver Machine', expecting to get an evening of alternate variations of the same theme, only to
find a crowd of drug-crazed hippies watching a band of seemingly drug-crazed hippies experimenting
with music and electronics, while strobe lights did more to dazzle the audience that to illuminate the band.
Any other band would have cashed in on the sales of 'Silver Machine' by soon releasing a similar single,
but Hawkwind didn't want to be a pop group and it was a year before 'Urban Guerilla' was released. Even
then it was quickly withdrawn (while at Number 39 in the charts) when a spate of bomb outrages made
the subject of the song a matter of delicate nature. Hawkwind abandoned the singles market until the
following year. More important to Hawkwind than chart success in the world of pop music, 'Silver
Machine' gave them publicity and the money which allowed them to carry out an extensive tour with a
massive stage show which they would take to America later in 1973, becoming the first British band to
headline their first US tour.
The show, which incorporated old and new material, was sheer science fiction set to music. A passive
production involving seven musicians, three dancers and a complex psychedelic lightshow, it was called
the Space Ritual and was a highlight of Hawkwind's career. As well as the powerful energy of tracks
such as 'Born To Go', the band relied on more melodious songs like 'Space is Deep' to give contrast to the
music. Both songs have remained firm favourites with Hawkwind fans. Newcomers to Hawkwind
concerts must have wondered what was happening when, from time to time, Robert Calvert stepped
forward and narrated poetry to supplement the theme of the show, while the band filled the background
with appropriate electronic sounds.
A double album, called 'The Space Ritual Alive', of the tour reached Number 5 [9, actually] in the UK
album charts, establishing Hawkwind as the world's leading space-rock band. One popular Hawkwind
song performed on the tour but not included on the album was 'You Shouldn't Do That', omitted because
it was not part of the Space Ritual show, but was performed as part of the encore. Happily it is included
in this collection and gives us a prime example of Hawkwind in full, chaotic swing in the early Seventies.
Exciting, bursting with energy and enthusiasm, it was recorded at what was then the band's finest hour.
By contrast, 1975 was not such a good year. It was the year in which the band parted company with
Lemmy, Stacia, Douglas Smith (manager) and United Artists. On a brighter note, Hawkwind released an
excellent studio album, called 'Warrior On The edge Of Time.' Two tracks from this album, 'Assault &
Battery' and 'The Golden Void' have become part of the range of Hawkwind classics. Over the years, the
two songs have been given a gradually changed and improved arrangement and have become known as
'Lives Of Great Men' and 'Void Of Golden Light' and it is these updated 'live' versions which are offered
here. It should come as no surprise that these should be included, since a 1990-91 Hawkwind poll
published in the Hawkwind fanzine revealed them to be the two most popular songs among Hawkwind
In 1976 Hawkwind signed to new management and the Charisma Records. Sadly, neither company
seemed to have any idea as to what Hawkwind were all about and seemed keen on turning the band in a
more commercial direction, or at least to take the edge off their wild, independent approach to their
music. At the same time, newer members of the band were trying to change the Hawkwind sound to
something more 'trendy', leading to conflicts in which Nik Turner (a founder member) was sacked. This
was quickly seen as a mistake as, no doubt, the 1975 sacking of Lemmy was), but it was too late and the
subsequent sacking of those not in accordance with the true style of Hawkwind could not put things
right. The band were facing on uphill climb to set things right again.
Robert Calvert rejoined the band in 1976, this time as full-time vocalist and lyricist. This was a new
approach for Hawkwind, since there had never before seen a 'frontman': Calvert's presence was so
dominating as he performed each song, with gestures, mime and costume to illustrate them that it seemed
more as though Hawkwind were Calvert's backing group.
Hawkwind concerts continued to be packed, but on record the new, less aggressive sound had less selling
power than the earlier material. When the Charisma contract expired in 1979, the band were left adrift
with no record label. Robert Calvert left again.
Although the Charisma years gave us a different kind of Hawkwind, it still yielded songs which remain
firm favourites, some of which are still performed. The dramatic 'High Rise' (based on Ballard's book)
was one. This is no longer performed 'live' because it needs the dramatic input of Robert's vocals to give
it full impact, yet it remains a much-loved song among Hawkwind fans. 'Spirit Of The Age' (voted third
most popular Hawkwind song) became an instant favourite when it first appeared in 1977, centred as it
was on a typical Hawkwind driving, pounding rhythm, the vocals laid over the repetitive beat. After
Calvert left, the introduction was changed and the song made more energetic, Dave Brock's voice having
more force than Robert's milder vocals. The late 1979 version is used here, with Dave Brock singing.
Another classic from the Charisma era is 'Damnation Alley', based on Zelazny's book. Another long and
energetic song, this too has survived to the present day - an ideal song to end the main set, leaving the
fans excited and begging for an encore, or as an opening song to set the mood, as with this 1990 version
at the start of CD number3.
Late in the summer of 1979, ten years after Hawkwind first sprang into being and with Douglas Smith
managing again, Dave Brock re-shaped the band with a new line-up and a fresh start. In the band with
Brock were Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd Langton (who had been in the ranks before, in 1970), Simon
King and Tim Blake. For the first time, Hawkwind included lasers in the lightshow. It was a fast-paced,
hard-rock line-up, ready to take the world by the throat.
After headlining at the first Futurama Rock Festival in September 1979, the band prepared to carry out an
extensive tour of the UK an adventurous project, since the band had no record label to back them and no
album to promote. However, the new line-up, full of energy and optimism, completed a sell-out tour
which was a great success.
During the tour, the band recorded a 'live' album which they used to secure a recording deal with Bronze
Records. This was released under the title of 'Live 79' and put the band back into the UK Top Twenty
album chart. From the opening tracks, new ones called 'Shot Down In The Night' and 'Motorway City',
to old favourites from the Space Ritual era such as 'Brainstorm', it was clear that the band were well and
truly back on course. Within weeks of releasing 'Live 79', Hawkwind were in the studios recording a new
album for Bronze, to released to coincide with the 1980 autumn tour.
For this album, 'Levitation', Hawkwind used digital recording to get the cleanest sound they'd achieved to
date, making the album ideal for those who liked to listen to music through headphones, catching every
little sound within the music. Side one began with the fast-paced 'Levitation', which had been the encore
on the 1979 tour, while side two began more in the style of a 'live' show, with the short 'Prelude' acting
as a lead into 'Who's Gonna Win The War'. The album, which also featured the popular, though less
forceful, 'Dust Of Time', was recorded during the brief period when the legendary Ginger Baker was
drumming for Hawkwind.
'Levitation' was another chart success and it seems certain that had Hawkwind and Bronze stayed
together the future would have been rosy. However, a policy disagreement led to the group signing to
RCA, another label which saw Hawkwind as just another rock band and wanted to steer them in that
Even while signed to RCA, Hawkwind were planning to work with an independent label, Flicknife, instead
of another major label. The RCA years were not wasted - they produced three good albums, one of which
included the powerful and menacing 'Angels Of Death' but Hawkwind yearned for the freedom to do as
In 1982, Hawkwind released their first album through Flicknife, a collection of Hawkwind and related
tracks aimed at the dedicated collector. At the same time, Nik Turner re-joined the band for a spell. This
time while continuing to play occasional sax and flute, he acted as frontman and vocalist as Robert
Calvert had done in the late Seventies. As with Robert, Nik dominated the stage and while Hawkwind fans
were pleased to see him again, it was hardly surprising that he departed again in 1984. He left his mark
with his performance of 'Ghost Dance'.
Although not a typical Hawkwind song, Nik performed it in a manner which made it an instant favourite.
It's quite impossible to visualize it being performed by anyone else.
1984 saw Hawkwind playing in the evening and then again at dawn at the last Stonehege Free Festival. It
was at this gig that Alan Davey first jammed with the band. A keen Hawkwind fan for many years, he
played bass in the same style as Lemmy and proved a great asset to the band. He joined on a regular basis
and Harvey Bainbridge moved from bass to keyboards. With Dave Brock on guitar, synth and keyboards,
Huw Lloyd Langton on guitar and Alan's friend Danny Thompson on drums, Alan and Harvey completed
the line-up for another highlight in the Hawkwind story.
The 'Chronicle Of The Black Sword' album was released by Flicknife in 1985. The album, based on the
Elric novels by Michael Moorcock, was promoted by a massive and imaginative tour. A huge
sword-and-sorcery style stage setting housed the band, who, for the first time, dressed the parts for the
show, being attired in cowled cloaks, their eyes painted to glow red in the dark. Mime artist Tony Crerar
dressed as Elric and, with the aid of sword, axe and spear, mimed the character of Elric throughout the
show. Kris Tait mimed the part of his love, Zarozinia, Danny Thompson (leaving the drums, briefly)
played Lord Arioch, the God Of Chaos, and various others joined in to dance or to enact the parts of
Arioch's warriors. At Hammersmith Odeon, Michael Moorcock himself joined them in order to read out
four poems during the show, each one linking the storyline which covered Elric's life from his early
warrior days until his death. It was a truly remarkable show; little wonder that fans took holidays from
work in order to follow the tour around the country.
The show included the entire 'Chronicle Of The Black Sword' album (none of which had been performed
in public before) plus some songs written for, but not used on, the album and a selection of old
favourites, the themes of which fitted into the Black Sword story.
In 1986, the first Hawkwind album released by GWR was a double album of the Black Sword tour and
without doubt one of the best Hawkwind albums to be found. The most amazing thing about it is that it is
the only GWR Hawkwind album not to have been made available on CD, despite pleas from Hawkwind
fans. Happily, a selection of tracks from it are included in this collection, putting 'The Dreaming City' and
'Moonglum' on CD for the first time alongside classic favourites from the show such as 'Angels Of
Death', 'Masters Of The Universe' and 'Needle Gun'.
This collection also sees 'Rocky Paths' on CD for the first time, and what better version could there be?
Also, in keeping with the Hawkwind practice of breaking up the routine of high-energy songs by including
occasional melodic instrumental pieces, these powerful numbers have been interspersed with beautiful
items like 'Shade Gate' and 'The Pulsing Cavern'.
The Black Sword tour was a hard act to follow, so Hawkwind took a contrasting route by promoting the
live double album with what was called the Chaos Tour...more of a party atmosphere than a serious show
and the kind of tour Hawkwind like to put on from time to time, giving more impact to the atmosphere of
the serious tours.
Hawkwind remained with GWR, though the line-up continued to change from time to time. Huw Lloyd
Langton has left and Harvey is doing his own thing, but Dave Brock and Alan Davey forge ahead with the
heavy drumming of Richard Chadwick and as can be heard on tracks such as 'Images' and 'Back In The
Box', Bridget Wishart, the band's first female, guesting on occasional vocals.
As the third of these CDs shows, the Hawkwind sound is flourishing and the recent years have seen the
band maintain its driving force while at the same time giving a smoother finish to the music. Witness
'Treadmill' or 'Out Of The Shadows' as prime examples.
Yes, Hawkwind are here to stay. This CD set offers a selection of the very best of their music from the
past twenty-plus years, and from what can be heard as the development unfolds there seems to be no
reason why there shouldn't one day be a CD set of the second twenty years of Hawkwind. Listen and
-Brian Tawn, Hawkwind Feedback, November 1991
This album was released by EMI Netherlands in
2003 and is in fact the Dutch version of the EMI
"Masters Of Rock" compilation that appeared in the
UK at the same time. The tracklistings are the
same, but the Dutch version has a different CD
card inlay which boasts a couple of rarely-seen
mid-70's photos, plus a set of sleeve notes. In
Dutch...which I have here translated into English:
In August 1969 Dave Brock (rhythm guitar) along
with Mick Slattery (lead guitar) and Nik Turner
(saxophone), founded the band Group X. In the
beginning Group X was to have been an acoustic
outfit, but the success of Jimi Hendrix, Cream,
Pink Floyd and Arthur Brown convinced them to
play with amplification: and under the influence of
all kinds of mind-expanding substances they
developed their own sound. Group X quickly
became Hawkwind Zoo and then just Hawkwind, bringing out their first album "Hawkwind" in 1970. By
this time Huw Lloyd Langton (guitar), John Harrison (bass), Terry Ollis (drums) and Dick Mick Davis
(keyboards) alias Dik Mik, had joined the band, Mick Slattery having already left.
The style of the band evolved into what became defined as psychedelic space rock. Already rapidly
gaining in knowledge, they built a large following on the strength of their tremendous live shows, which
included naked dancer Stacia.
In Search of Space (1971) was made with yet another line-up. Musicians came and went, though some
stayed in the ranks for years, and of the original line-up Dave Brock still remains. On this album were two
absolute Hawkwind classics: Master Of The Universe and Silver Machine. The latter number yielded an
unexpected top 3 hit in England, and made the top 15 in the Netherlands a year later. In 1972, Doremi
Fasol Latido followed. Urban Guerrilla, a number that only featured on album once it had been reissued,
was boycotted by English radio. Ian Willis alias Lemmy had by now become part of Hawkwind. In 1975,
he would leave the band to set up the legendary metal outfit Motorhead.
Meanwhile writer/lyricist Robert Calvert had debuted on Space Ritual; labelled Hawkwind's opus magnum
by the critics. The eponymous tour, financed by the success of the hit Silver Machine, was brilliantly
captured on this album. Live classics such as Sonic Attack and Orgone Accumulator were included in the
set list, along with the aforementioned hits. Hall Of The Mountain Grill (1974) was the band's 5th album,
but the rot set in at this point. Synthesist Del Dettmar, bass player Lemmy and poet Calvert all left. When
dancer Stacia also left the band, for many fans the magic had disappeared. Hawkwind seemed destined
for an early demise, and their 6th album, Warrior On The Edge of Time (1975) no longer seemed to
captivate their public.
In 1978, Brock broke up the band. Nevertheless he reformed it later the same year, with Calvert, among
others, as the Hawklords. They continued to be successful and in 1979 the band reverted to 'Hawkwind'.
Ginger Baker (ex-Cream) and Tim Blake (ex-Gong) were even part of the band, but eventually a fixed
line-up of Brock, Bainbridge, Griffin and Langton evolved. A year later the long-serving ex-member
Turner rejoined the ranks.
Hawkwind consolidated their success on the back of the resurgence of the British heavy metal scene in the
early Eighties. Silver Machine got into the English charts for the second time, and towards the end of
1984 Hawkwind played two concerts in the Netherlands. Over the course of the succeeding years the
band has remained in existence and in 1999 even celebrated their thirtieth anniversary.