Without the influence of mercurial Robert Calvert, whose factitious relationship with the band came to an end in 1979, Hawkwind returned to the more reliable world of Sword & Sorcery for their 1985 album The Chronicle of the Black Sword. Inspired by occasional Hawkwind member and collaborator Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné series of novels, The Chronicle of the Black Sword was an ambitious project that led Hawkwind move into their most Spinal Tap moment when they toured an extended stage show for the album.
A film recording was made of Hawkwind performing The Chronicle of the Black Sword at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, December 1985, which was released as a video. It all looks frightfully dated now, with its mime and dreadful video projection, and is so dark it would appear to have been shot with the lens cap on (which maybe no bad thing) but the quality of Hawkwind’s performance somehow makes it all worth it.
01. Narration (“The Chronicle Of The Black Sword”)/“Song Of The Swords”
02. Narration/“Sea King”
03. Narration (“Dead God’s Homecoming”)/“Master Of The Universe”
04. “Choose Your Masques”/“Fight Sequence”
07. “Lords Of Chaos”/“The Dark Lords”/“Wizards Of Pan Tang”
09. “Elric The Enchanter”
10. “Conjuration Of Magnu/Magnu”
11. Narration (“The Final Fight”)/“Horn Of Destiny”
Forty years ago this month, a strange and distant signal was picked up on radio receivers across the UK.
Amongst the hiss, and static interference, a dialog could be heard….
‘This is London, Earth. This is London, Earth. This is London, Earth. This is London, Earth.’
‘Mothership Control in readiness. Sonic Assassins cleared for Space Flight. Countdown starting now. Thirty…’
‘Countdown started. All Units prepare for activation.’
‘Production Androids activated. Now!’
‘Audience Recept Units, activated, NOW!’
‘Music Distribution Equipment. Activated. Now!’
‘10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…’
‘All Units activated. Countdown terminated.’
‘...3, 2, 1. Countdown complete.’
‘All Units functioning. Movement commencing. We have lift-off. We have music.’
This is the audio recording of that night’s broadcast. Hawkwind live in concert from the Paris Theater, London, September 29th, 1972. Transmitted by BBC Radio 1 on October 14th.
02. “Born to Go”
03. “The Black Corridor”
04. “Seven by Seven”
06. “Electronic No. 1”
07. “Master of the Universe”
09. “Earth Calling”
10. “Silver Machine”
11. “Welcome to the Future”
Bonus Hawkwind in concert form 2005, after the jump…
I could hear this playing in the other side of the house on my wife’s computer. “It isn’t?”
Oh, but IT IS: Mr. Dante Fontana of Mod Cinema has posted this clip of fab German bandleader James Last and his Orchestra performing an indescribably great medley of Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine,” “Children Of The Revolution” by T-Rex and Alice Cooper’s anthem to juvenile delinquency, “Schools’ Out.”
How lucky are we that this clip exists in the world: The James fucking Last Orchestra playing a decidedly UN-IRONIC (but truly incredible) big band version of Hawkwind’s greatest hit in 1973??? I mean, for that alone, sign me up, but throw in T-Rex and Alice Cooper covers in this style, too? That’s a party. A voodoo party.
Dig the fashion-forward stripey shirt and tie combo on some of the band members. That look takes “power clashing” to a whole new level. Makes it into an art form.
They may have looked like the oldest hippies in town, but before Punk, Hawkwind was the unwashed boy band of counter culture. Their music - the hymn book for the disenfranchised, the geeks, the loners, the smart kids at school, who never tried to please teacher. To be a fan was like running away to some intergalactic circus. John Lydon was a fan, and the Sex Pistols regularly performed “Silver Machine” - Hawkwind’s classic Dave Brock / Robert Calvert single, with its defining vocal by Lemmy (Ian Kilmister). Like millions of others, this was the song that first introduced me to Hawkwind, when it was played under a visual cornucopia from a performance at the Dunstable Civic Hall, on Top of the Pops in 1972.
Formed in 1969, Hawkwind were a rather sweaty and masculine mix of Acid Rock (LSD was handed out at gigs) and Space Rock. They appealed to those with an interest in Jerry Cornelius, Ballard, Burroughs, Philip K Dick, Freak Brothers’ comics, black holes, Gramsci, Kropotkin, Stacia and Derek ‘n’ Clive. In sixth form at school, we discussed the merits Quark, Strangeness and Charm against Warrior on the Edge of Time; Hawklords versus Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music or Doremi Fasol Latido. Hawkwind were an albums band, unlike Punk and New Wave which then seemed defined by singles, issued as keenly as revolutionary pamphlets. There was a ritual to playing thirty-three-and-a-third, long-playing discs: opening the sleeve, reading the liner notes or lyrics, cleaning the disc and stylus, listening to all of side 1, then side 2. It was like attending mass and sharing in the holy sacrament.
Hawkwind evolved from its original line-up - Dave Brock (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Nik Turner (saxophone, flute, vocals), Huw Lloyd-Langton (guitar, vocals), John A. Harrison (bass guitar, vocals), Dik Mik (Synthesizer), Terry Ollis (drums), Mick Slattery (guitar), to include amongst others such wayward talents as poet and singer Robert Calvert (who died too soon), Lemmy, and author Michael Moorcock. Being a fan of Hawkwind was like a rites of passage, that opened doors to other equally experimental and original music.
More than forty years on, Hawkwind, under the helm of its only original member Dave Brock, is still touring the world, bringing an incredible back catalogue of music and tuning people in to a world of possibility.
Another solo DJ excursion from Richard Metzger, spinning tunes from the Monkees, Lydia Lunch, Hawkwind, Mick Farren, Ru Paul, Liam Lynch, Big Daddy Kane, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Lene Lovich, Blur vs. The Pet Shop Boys, Eels, Jeff Beck, the Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, obscure 70s glam rocker Brett Smiley and more.
01. Monkees: Tema Di Monkees
02. Monkees: PO Box 9847 (alt stereo mix)
03. Malvina Reynolds: Little Boxes
04. Lene Lovich: Lucky Number
05. Lydia Lunch: Carnival Fatman
06. Hawkwind: Silver Machine
07. Mick Farren: Aztec Calendar
08. The Tomorrow People: Delia Derbyshire, Dudley Simpson, Brian Hodgson & David Vorhaus
09. PJ Proby: You Can’t Come Home Again If You Leave Me Now
10. Blur vs Pet Shop Boys: Boys & Girls
11. Ru Paul: Ping Ting Ting
12. Liam Lynch: My United States of Whatever
13. Monkees: Zilch
14. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Mister Bobalina
15. Big Daddy Kane: Warm It Up Kane
16. Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining
17. Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom
18. Eels: That’s Not Really Funny
19. The Dandy Warhols: Bohemian Like You
20. Super Furry Animals: The Man Don’t Give A Fuck
I just did a quick search and to my surprise, none of us has ever posted about the magnificent spacerock maelstrom that is the Hawkwind sound. One of rock’s longest running groups, Hawkwind has always stood outside of any particular era or fashion. With their statuesque dancer Stacia Blake, a pioneer of onstage nudity (who often appeared buck naked except for body paint) and lyrical contributions from Michael Moorcock, there was noting even remotely similar to what Hawkwind was doing onstage in the early ‘70s. It’s apropriate probably, to compare them to the Grateful Dead, an act that was more about the live experience than the albums.
A big influence on groups like the Psychedelic Furs, the driving sci-fi metal drone of Hawkwind would eventually give rise to one of the heaviest combos of all time, when bassist Lemmy Kilmister would leave the group—after being arrested for possession of speed—and form Motorhead. (Lemmy once told me personally that speed did what cocaine is supposed to do. So now you know!).
Below is a mind-twisting live performance clip, originally shown on Top of the Pops in 1972 of Hawkwind performing SIlver Machine with the lovely Stacia in tow.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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