|Hawkwind for Collectors
This piece appeared in the June 1985 issue of Record Collector (Hawkwind's first appearance therein)
and while providing a decent overview of the band, including a few little-known facts, was very much
aimed at the record collectors of the day. It's severely dated now, of course, but I've included the
discography they printed as the text refers to it, and while the prices are out of date they do show the
relative value of different albums and singles.
appeared in the classified section of one of the music papers, offering £30 for Famous Cure records.
Famous Cure broke up around the end of 1968 and Brock was reduced to busking for a living. He and
Slattery were planning a new band, however, and linked up with Turner, electronics wizard Dik Mik (then
about to embark on a pilgrimage to India), bassist John Harrison and drummer Terry Ollis, to form Group
The band debuted with a ten-minute performance at the All Saints Hall in London's Notting Hill. They
were immediately offered a management contract and, by October, were signed to the Liberty label. They
had changed their name to Hawkwind Zoo by this time, and in 1982 the Flicknife label released a single,
"Hurry On Sundown", rumoured to have been culled from the band's original demo tape for the company.
If so, this single represents Mick Slattery's sole recording with the band. He quit shortly after signing to
Liberty and was last heard of living as a tinker in Ireland. He was replaced by Huw Lloyd Langton, and in
this form the band -who had now abbreviated their name to plain Hawkwind- went into the studio to
record their eponymous debut album.
Produced by one-time Pretty Thing Dick Taylor, the album was preceded by a single, "Hurry On
Sundown". A different version to the one released by Flicknife, "Sundown" sold very poorly and could
now cost anything up to £30 in Mint condition. The album is not much easier to locate in its original
pressing, but has been reissued on several occasions since, most recently as a picture disc which is, by all
accounts, rapidly becoming almost as scarce as the 1970 pressing. The 1975 reissue, on the
budget-priced Sunset label, is perhaps the easiest to find; certainly it is this release which makes the most
appearances in my local second-hand stores. One track from "Hawkwind" appeared on the 1970 "Good
Clean Fun" sampler; this itself is fairly collectable today. The band's next recording session was not to
take place for another year. During this interval, Langton and John Harrison both quit; so did Harrison's
replacement, Thom Crimble. Despite the turbulence, Hawkwind were rapidly establishing themselves as a
major live attraction, chiefly through their penchant for playing free festivals, community benefits and
similar events. When the Isle of Wight staged a massive festival in 1970, Hawkwind played at the equally
legendary Canvas City free show, set up just on the boundaries of the festival.
In May 1971, Dik Mik quit. He was to return within a few months, but in the meantime was replaced by
the band's sound engineer, Del Dettmar. Former Amon Duul bassist Dave Anderson was also recruited,
and the band's second album, "In Search of Space", was recorded by this line-up. Intricately packaged,
the album was released in October 1971. It included a twenty-four page booklet, "Hawklog", overflowing
with the sort of hippy mysticism for which the band were becoming renowned; this inclusion is,
apparently, still fairly common although it would seem unlikely that copies are still being printed to
accompany the album. Many Hawkwind aficionados regard "In Search of Space" as the band's first true
album. It was also their first chart success, reaching No. 18.
In June, Hawkwind performed at the Glastonbury Fayre festival - organised by their former bassist, Thom
Crimble. He actually played with the band on this occasion; Dave Brock was ill at the time. The band also
introduced three characters whose names were to become synonymous with Hawkwind's South
African-born poet Bob Calvert, science fiction writer Michael Moorcock, and dancer Stacia. All three
appeared on stage with the band.
The festival was commemorated with a triple album, released the following year and selling for just
Â£3.99. Today it is worth more than ten times that amount in Mint condition. The package included a
poster sleeve, a specially printed plastic sleeve, a cardboard pyramid and a free booklet (pyramids, of
course, are quite popular giveaways with albums; Utopia's debut also featured one, with instructions to
keep a razor blade inside it. The blade, it was said, would never go blunt.)
In addition to all these "gifts", the Glastonbury album also featured some of the decade's most collectable
bands spread over its six sides of vinyl. David Bowie contributed a version of "The Supermen", recorded
at the "Ziggy Stardust" sessions, Marc Bolan gave over his acoustic demo for "Sunken Rags", Pete
Townshend did the same with "Classifieds", Crimble's own band, Skin Alley, offered one track and so did
the Pink Fairies ("Uncle Harry's Last Freak Out") and Gong their "Glad Stoned Buried Fielding Flash &
Fresh Fest Footprints In My Memory" remains one of the group's very best recorded efforts. It was a
quite magical album and anybody with any interest in this period of music should disregard the current
£40 selling price and invest in a copy now.
Hawkwind's contribution to the album was a lengthy improvisation called "Silver Machine", which segued
into the shorter "Welcome To The Future". Both songs had been recorded at The Roundhouse in Chalk
Farm, in February 1972. Two other songs from that performance, "Master Of The Universe" and "Born
To Go", appeared on another sampler, UA's "Greasy Trucker's Party". This set is now worth around £15.
Terry Ollis had quit shortly before the Roundhouse gig; his replacement was Simon King, an old friend of
the band's latest bassist, Lemmy. The new Hawkwind line-up, then, read King, Lemmy, Brock, Stacia,
Dik Mik, Del Dettmar, Nik Turner and Bob Calvert, with Michael Moorcock frequently making guest
appearances in concert.
"Silver Machine" had been written by Calvert and Brock and rapidly became a live favourite - so much so
that, in the early spring of 1972, the band decided to release it as a single. Rather than re-record the song
they simply remixed the Roundhouse version, shortening it by about five minutes in the process. Calvert's
original vocal was also replaced, by Lemmy. The single was backed by "Seven By Seven" and went on to
become the band's biggest hit to date, reaching No. 3 in the summer.
"Seven By Seven" exists in two different versions; both appear on the flip of "Silver Machine". The first,
and by far the most common, is on copies bearing the matrix numbers 1U or 3U. The scarcer second
version is matrix 2U (these numbers, by the way, can be found etched into the vinyl on the single's
run-off groove). There is also a very rare picture sleeve for the single; copies of this can boost the
record's value up to around £6.
The band had yet to release their third album, but interest from the hit carried over to "In Search Of
Space", especially on the continent. In Spain, the album was re-pressed to feature the song. UA resisted
the temptation to follow suit in the U.K., and it was to be another four years before "Silver Machine"
found its way onto album, on the Dave Brock compiled/remixed "Roadhawks" set.
In November, "Doremi-Fasol-Latido", Hawkwind's next album, was released. It rocketed to No. 14 in the
chart, despite the absence of "Silver Machine", and is still reasonably easy to find today. Original
pressings, by the way, featured a free poster, designed by the late Barney Bubbles.
Bubbles, an immensely talented artist/designer, supplied much of Hawkwind's early artwork; he was also
integral in the planning of their next venture, the massive "Space Ritual" tour.
This took in thirty dates and saw the band augmented by three dancers, four lighting engineers and a team
of set designers. Bubbles was responsible for an outline story for the entire concept, and the "Space
Ritual" has often been described as one of the most coherent, and successful, ventures of its kind ever
undertaken. Two of the dates were recorded and, early in 1973, a double live album, "Space Ritual", was
released. It featured most of the show; absent were "You Shouldn't Do That", a version of which later
appeared on the "Roadhawks" set, and sections of "Time We Left" and the awesome "Brainstorm", cut to
enable the songs to fit onto the record without any loss of sound quality.
"Space Ritual" was one of the first double live albums ever released, and today, fourteen years and
countless similar releases later, it still stands as one of the best. The recording quality might not be up to
present-day standards, but the rawness and occasionally muffled sound only add to the atmosphere. The
album also spawned one of the rarest singles of the entire decade. A one-sided promo, featuring Michael
Moorcock's "Sonic Attack" poem, was pressed in a very limited edition. Copies were bagged in a cloth
sleeve, and today fetch up to £90 in Mint condition. But beware of imitations! With such a high valuation
it was obvious that "Sonic Attack" would come to the attention of less scrupulous bootleggers, although
the very scarcity of the record has thus far ensured that very few counterfeiters can have actually seen
the record which they are duplicating. The copy I saw (in France) had a label design identical to the
standard UA logo and was pressed on conventional, thin vinyl. The genuine article was pressed on thick,
acetate-type plastic, with the song title printed in large lettering.
Dik Mik quit in August, 1973, the same month as Hawkwind released the long-awaited follow-up to
"Silver Machine". "Urban Guerilla" was another very high quality song and would, no doubt, have proved
as big a hit as its predecessor had its release not coincided with an outbreak of terrorism in London. UA
hastily withdrew all copies of the single from sale, cutting short its rise up the chart at No. 39 and, once
again, it wasn't until "Roadhawks" was released that the song made another appearance. Its B-side,
"Brainbox Pollution", remains unavailable and the original single is today valued at about £8.
In November, while Hawkwind embarked on their first American tour, Bob Calvert recorded his first solo
album, "Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters". This was a song cycle dealing with the ill-fated
American Starfighter jets which, in the hands of the German air force, crashed so many times that they
became known as The Widowmaker - a name, coincidentally, also selected by former Hawkwind guitarist
Huw Lloyd Langton for his own latest band which was then just getting off the ground (before
crash-landing again, just two years later).
Calvert intended for the royalties from both album and a coinciding tour to go to relatives of the dead
pilots. Unfortunately, the tour fell through at the last minute and the album sold in only the tiniest quantities
- with the result that it is today very hard to find. A Mint copy, complete with the lyric sheet stapled inside
the gatefold cover, would cost around £12. A single, coupling alternate takes of two of the album tracks,
"Catch A Falling Starfighter" and "Ejection", is worth almost as much. Collectors might also be interested
to know that the album was released with two different label designs: a standard UA print and, later, a blue
label with a Starfighter logo.
In February, Hawkwind set off on their second US tour. Simon House had, by now, replaced Del Dettmar
on keyboards, although the latter did continue working with the band for the duration of the tour; he
retired behind the mixing desk and played synthesizer from there. He finally quit the band at the end of the
tour, emigrating to Canada.
House's first recording with Hawkwind was the "Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)", an edited
version of a track from their forthcoming fifth album. It was not a hit, despite the incentive of another
non-album B-side, the live "It's So Easy", recorded on the band's January 1974 British tour.
"The Hall Of The Mountain Grill", titled after a working man's cafe in the Portobello Road, was released
the following month, just before the band made their third trip to America. True to form, they suffered
another personnel change on the eve of the trip; Simon King broke some ribs playing football. Alan
Powell, formerly of Stackridge, Vinegar Joe and Chicken Shack, stepped into the breach as a purely
temporary measure. He ended up staying in the band for 2½ years, eighteen months of which had him
playing alongside the now recuperated Simon King.
March, 1975, saw the release of another Hawkwind single, "Kings Of Speed", a taster for their next"
album. It was backed by "Motorhead", a song written by Lemmy - his last composition for the band.
During the May 1975 American tour, customs officials discovered a small amount of speed in his luggage.
They mistook it for cocaine, thus elevating Lemmy's offence from a misdemeanour to a felony. The
bassist spent five days in a cell and, on getting released, found Hawkwind had sacked him, rather than
jeopardise further American trips - this one had already collapsed after Louisiana [sic - actually Indiana]
police impounded all the band's equipment for nonpayment of debts.
One-time Pink Fairy, Paul Rudolph, who had been flown out to replace Lemmy, was accepted as the
band's next full-time bassist; he was not to record as a member of the band for another year, however. In
the meantime, "Warrior On The Edge Of Time", recorded with Lemmy, became the band's sixth album.
1975 also saw the release of Bob Calvert's second album, "Lucky Lief And The Longships", an
Eno-produced set which is today worth around Â£10. Around the same time, Michael Moorcock and The
Deep Fix (in reality, members of Hawkwind past and present) released "New World's Fair", an album of
rock and poetry which did nothing in the commercial marketplace at the time, but is now valued at around
Stacia left to get married in August, 1975; at the same time, Bob Calvert rejoined. This line-up of the band
recorded "Astounding Sounds Amazing Music", Hawkwind's first album for their new label, Charisma.
With it came a single, "Kerb Crawler" (backed by the non-album instrumental, "Honky Dorky"). The single
came in a great picture sleeve and is now worth around £4. A second single, featuring two out-takes from
the LP sessions ("Back On The Streets" and "The Dream Of Isis") followed in the new year, its release
coinciding with the latest upheavals in the band's line-up. Paul Rudolph and Alan Powell, having instigated
the sacking of founder member Nik Turner, were themselves fired (they later resurfaced in the quite
abysmal Kicks). In their place came bassist Adrian Shaw and, down to what seemed a fairly stable
five-piece, Hawkwind released what is one of their finest albums to date; "Quark, Strangeness And
Charm". It was followed by a single, an edited version of the title track which is now worth around £4.
Fans of Marc Bolan may recall seeing the band perform this song on the "Marc" TV show.
Hawkwind toured Britain in the autumn, with Paul Hayles replacing the errant Simon House (he had run
off to join David Bowie's world touring party). They followed this with an American tour, came home and
promptly broke up. Brock returned to his home in Barnstaple, where he began piecing together another
band, using members of the Sonic Assassins - a local group he had been playing with while Hawkwind
were off the road - and ex-members of Hawkwind. In the event, only Bob Calvert followed him into this
new venture, joining Brock, drummer Martin Griffin, bassist Harvey Bainbridge and former Pilot/String
Driven Thing guitarist [keyboardist] Steve Swindells in The Hawklords.
In October 1978, "Twenty Five Years On", the Hawklords' debut album, was released. With it came a
single; "Psi Power"/ "Death Trap"; the latter a track once intended for the next Hawkwind LP and
recorded by the final line-up of that band. Another track from those aborted sessions, "PXR 5" (the
album's projected title) was released as the flip of Hawklords' next single, "25 Years". This was released in
7" and 12" form, the latter featuring a bonus cut in "Only The Dead Dreams Of The Cold War Kid", taken
from "25 Years On". The NME review for the single, incidentally, read "25 Years? Have they really been
going that long?"
Neither Charisma single charted, but in October, UA notched up a minor hit with their third reissue of
"Silver Machine", released, as were its predecessors, in a picture sleeve.
In May 1979, the abandoned "PXR 5" project was finally released, and immediately ran into problems. The
sleeve design showed a domestic plug, wired up incorrectly, and after much protest from various
watchdog committees, Charisma were forced to obscure the offending wires with a sticker. There is, at
present, very little difference in value between these two sleeves, although obviously the Hawkwind
collector would want the original, unsullied design. And a word of warning; the sticker is not removable.
Calvert left the band, seemingly irrevocably, in January 1979. He was followed by Martin Griffin; in his
place came Simon King, returning to the fold after his latest project, Quasar, had collapsed. Another
Quasar member, the ubiquitous Huw Lloyd Langton, followed him into the band (who had now reverted
to Hawkwind) a short while later. In the meantime, the band signed to Bronze and released a new single;
"Shot Down In The Night". This was a Steve Swindells song, taken from his own solo album, "Fresh
Blood". This album is very hard to find, as is an earlier (1974) Swindells effort, "Messages".
"Live 1979", Hawkwind's next album, was a patchy affair, notable chiefly for the bastardisation of some
of the band's best loved numbers. However, "Levitation", their next studio set, was a genuine return to
form. It saw the band augmented by former Gong keyboard player Tim Blake (replacing Simon King). A
definite highlight of the Hawkwind live show at this time was Blake's solo spot, where he played highlights
from his own solo albums, "New Jerusalem" and "Crystal Machine".
A second Bronze single, "Who's Gonna Win The War" failed to eclipse its predecessor's number 59 chart
placing, and the band quit the label late in 1980, now pledging their troth to RCA. Around the same time,
the independent Flicknife label began the admirable policy of reissuing some of the band's legendary
back-catalogue, usually in previously unavailable form. The aforementioned Hawkwind Zoo single opened
the account, followed by an alternate take of Lemmy's "Motorhead" swansong backed by the unheard
"Valium 10". Other out-takes and live recordings have followed, most notably "Friends And Relations"
featuring one side of Hawkwind recorded live in 1977/78, and a side of sundry related tracks by the likes
of Nik Turner on the flip. "Text Of Festival", released in 1983, dates from live shows around the
beginning of the Seventies, while "Independent Days" brings together many of the Flicknife singles onto
one very handy compilation.
Most of the Flicknife material is still fairly easy to locate; the RCA releases, too, remain common. The
only real problem would seem to lie in finding the booklet which came free with the abysmal "Church Of
Hawkwind" set, from 1982. Of more interest to the collector, at present anyway, is Bob Calvert's third
solo set. "Hype" was a concept set, dealing with the rise of an imaginary rock star and was accompanied
by a brilliant novel of the same name (but not in the same package, unfortunately). The disc completed a
triumvirate of sorely under-rated, but eminently collectable, albums by Calvert. A Flicknife single, "Lord
Of The Hornets", is similarly worth looking out for, while both the "Hype" novel and an earlier tome,
"Centigrade 232" (a collection of poetry) are essential purchases for the collector, despite the Â£8 price
tag which both volumes attract. Also worth finding is "The Time Of The Hawklords", a science fiction
story by Michael Butterworth, which portrays Hawkwind as fantasy heroes.
Another tangent worth investigating is that followed by Hawkwind founder member, Nik Turner. He has
now returned to the fold, but during his seven years apart from the group, he released a handful of
albums, mostly on various independent labels. His first post-Hawkwind venture, Sphynx, was particularly
interesting: dressed up as Egyptian mummies and playing from within their own pyramid-shaped stage, the
band included the likes of ex-Nice guitarist Davey O'List and Gong's Mike Howlett. The later Inner City
Unit headlined a 'love-in' at the Roundhouse and issued one single, the hilarious "Bones Of Elvis".
The discography included here [see top of page] cannot cover every offshoot release; these will be
included in the Motorhead feature, mentioned earlier. But it does give the collector some idea of the vast
amount of vinyl he would need to collect before he could boast a complete collection of Hawkwind's
Hawkwind - one of Britain's top
underground bands, whose long and
complex career has produced many
oddities and collector's items...
It is sixteen years since Hawkwind first
emerged from the seething hippy
community of London's Ladbroke Grove,
a community which also numbered the
Pink Fairies, the Deviants and many other,
lesser lights amongst its population. We
shall be looking at some of these other
bands in a later Record Collector piece;
Hawkwind, however, by virtue of their
sheer longevity, merit a piece to
themselves. We will also be looking at
some of the spin-offs from the parent
band; occasional vocalist/poet Bob
Calvert, for instance, who has put his
name to some of the most collectable
albums of the last decade, and Nik Turner,
Hawkwind's sax player, whose Sphinx
and Inner City Unit outfits are rapidly
appreciating in value. Motorhead, the other
truly important band to have been
spawned by Hawkwind, are absent from
this article, but they will be appearing in
the follow-up article.
The first Hawkwind line-up grew out of a
chance meeting, in Holland, between Dave
Brock and Mick Slattery of Famous Cure,
and Nik Turner, then touring with the
Mobile Freakout. Of the two bands,
Famous Cure were the most renowned,
having notched up a mini-hit in the
Netherlands with a single, details of which
have long been forgotten. Perhaps one of
our readers can fill in any information
about this, or any other Famous Cure
singles? There is certainly a market for
them; a year or so back, an advertisement