Henry Griggs Rambling
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I collect the music of Hawkwind. I've been collecting it since 1973 when I first heard Space Ritual on vinyl. I love the spacey sort of music. They are the space rock equivalent of the Grateful Dead, except more musical. Most of their recent reissues and live performances are readily available, and a lot of the older CDs are available if you hunt for them. Four CDs are very hard to get. They are:
This page is a quick check list for me to keep track of what I have and what I am looking for. I've also got a small history of the band that I wrote in the 1980s when I did a radio show featuring Hawkwind. The information is probably sort of accurate, but it runs out of data around 1985. There are a few books around that give the history of Hawkwind, so I don't plan on expanding the little bit that I have already done.
Hawkwind Quick Release List
This is a quick checklist of the essential classics. That's just my viewpoint. Others will differ on what I left off this list. See further below for the expanded list. The first 12 releases here are the best. Add in Space Ritual Volume 2 for an extended live drone, and you've got the best of Hawkwind. The huge collection of compilations and live material is interesting, but not essential.
A Choppy HistoryThis short history was written as accompaniment to a radio show I did in the mid 1980s. As it was filler between the tracks, it's short and choppy.
The story of Hawkwind starts way back in the late sixties in the Notting Hill area of London. Here at a jam session lasting just a few minutes at the All Saints Hall in Notting Hill Gate was a band comprising Dave Brock on guitar, Nik Turner on vocals, sax and flute, and Mick Slattery on guitar (all from Dave Brock's Famous Cure band) plus Terry Ollis on drums, John Harrison on bass guitar and Dik Mik (who provided the electronics) performing under the name of Group X.
The band started as Group X, changed name to Hawkwind Zoo and soon settled on Hawkwind. (Hawkwind had apparently been one of Nik Turner's nicknames.) Their first performance attracted a booking agent and shortly afterwards, in November 1969, they were signed to United Artists. The band became well known for their experiments with sound, light and drugs and their following soon grew to legendary status after a 1970 appearance at the Isle of Wight festival. Also that year they released their first album, the live self-titled "Hawkwind".
After their first album, John Harrison left the band and was replaced by Dave Anderson. Del Dettmar also joined Hawkwind on synthesiser. 1971 saw the release of the quasi-psychedelic "In Search of Space" which sold over 100,000 copies in Britain alone. Part of a live 1972 concert was taped, and from it sprang the pre-punk heavy-metal "Silver Machine", a #3 hit, which stunned many people as their early music and lifestyle truly embodied the underground spirit of the time. More lineup changes occurred with Terry Ollis replaced by Simon King on drums, Ian "Lemmy" Kilminster replacing Dave Anderson on bass guitar. Their third album "Doremi Fasol Latido" was released in 1972. With the addition of South African-born poet and lyricist (and sometimes vocalist) Robert Calvert, the group's material improved. Their most successful album ever was the live double LP "Space Ritual", released in 1973, which cracked the English Top Ten. That year, their hit-bound single "Urban Guerilla" (debuting at #34 on the charts) was pulled from distribution after only two weeks by United Artists because of a coincidental outbreak of terrorist bombings in London. The group toured the US for the first time in late 1973, with a revue including a semi-nude dancer, Stacia.
Soon after "Space Ritual" was released, Bob Calvert took two years off from Hawkwind to work on two solo projects. 1974 saw the release of "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters" and in 1975 he released "Lucky Leif and the Longships" which was produced by Brian Eno. Various members of Hawkwind helped him with the two albums. He rejoined the band in 1976.
More lineup changes occurred with Dik Mik (electronics and keyboards) leaving the band. His position was taken by Simon House on violin and keyboards. Hawkwind made a couple of trips to the United States in 1974 to support "Hall of the Mountain Grill" but late in the year, police in Indiana, claiming the group owed over $8,000 in back taxes, impounded all its equipment and the band returned to England. Del Dettmar left the band and a second drummer, Allan Powell, joined.
In 1974, science-fiction author, Michael Moorcock, took an interest in the band, an interest that would continue for quite some time. With the temporary absence of Robert Calvert, Hawkwind needed a lyricist. Michael Moorcock filled the bill nicely and wrote quite a number of songs for the band. He also, occasionally, performed with the band on vocals. Many of his songs were based on his books. Moorcock and co-author Michael Butterworth featured the group in their 1976 novel, "The Time of the Hawklords". Later, in 1978, Hawkwind took the name Hawklords, for a short time.
By the spring of 1975, Hawkwind were back in America for their fourth tour, to support "Warrior on the Edge of Time". Bassist, Ian "Lemmy" Kilminister was arrested by Canadian customs for possession of amphetamine sulphate and was jailed. Not wishing to jeopardize yet another US tour, the band fired him. Lemmy, immediately after being released, formed heavy metal band, Motorhead. He was replaced on bass by Paul Rudolph. Hawkwind also played to much acclaim at the Reading Festival in August 1975. Soon thereafter, Michael Moorcock released "New World's Fair" (1975) with instrumental backing from Hawkwind.
In 1976, after the release of "Warrior on the Edge of Time", they split from United Artists. During their time with United Artists, they had recorded six albums, as well making "live" contributions to album sets like "Greasy Truckers Party" and "Glastonbury Fayre". When they signed with the Charisma label, only Dave Brock and Nik Turner remained of the original band. Bob Calvert rejoined the band at this time. The line-up then consisted of Dave Brock - guitar and vocals, Nik Turner - sax and vocals, Bob Calvert - poet and vocalist, Simon King - drums, Simon House - keyboards, Paul Rudolph - bass, and Alan Powell - drums.
Their first release on Charisma was the single "Kerb Crawler" in July 1976, closely followed by the album "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music", including the menacing "Steppenwolf" track. Also in 1976, United Artists released a compilation album "Roadhawks" with some live tracks on it. In 1977 came a new single "Back on the Streets" which pre-dated a further change of line-up. Nik Turner departed and set up Sphynx, whose "Xitintoday" LP was released by Charisma in June 1978. Rudolph and Powell were getting a bit funky for the likes of Brock and Calvert, so they were shown the door and formed a short-lived outfit called Kicks. Adrian Shaw, bass and vocals, was drafted in for a new slimline band. Shaw was from a band called Magic Muscle, from Bristol, who had supported Hawkwind on tour.
The new five-piece band (Dave Brock, Bob Calvert, Simon House, Simon King, and Adrian Shaw) recorded "Quark Strangeness and Charm" which was released in June 1977. It reached #30 in the American album charts. A single version of the song "Quark Strangeness and Charm" was released in July 1977. Their autumn tour was named after another popular track of the LP, "Spirit of the Age". United Artists again capitalized on Hawkwind by releasing another compilation album "Masters of the Universe" in 1977.
In late 1977, Hawklords recorded the "P.X.R.5" album which was not released until May 1979 after legal matters and lineup changes were settled. Shortly after, Simon House left to join David Bowie's band and Hawkwind recruited Paul Hayles to play keyboards for a US tour. After the tour, the bands problems were compounded when Simon King and Adrian Shaw also left. This left only Dave Brock and Bob Calvert in the band. Hasty recruitment found Martin Griffin on drums, Harvey Bainbridge on bass. In late 1977, because of legal complications, they dropped the name Hawkwind and for a very short time they became the Sonic Assassins. (In 1981, Flicknife Records released a live self-titled 12" single by the Sonic Assassins, which was recorded on Christmas Eve 1977.) The name, Sonic Assassins, was changed in 1978 to Hawklords, a Bob Calvert concept based on Michael Moorcock's book "Time of the Hawklords". Paul Hayles left and was replaced by Steve Swindells on keyboards. The Hawklords album "25 Years On" was released in October 1978 and reached #38 in the album charts. (Simon House and Simon King play on several tracks from "25 Years On".) A single version of "Psi Power" was released in October 1978, while a 12" metallic grey version of "25 Years On" appeared in May 1979.
Bob Calvert left the band again after "25 Years On" and pursued his solo career which included the album "Hype - Songs of Tom Mahler" released in 1980 (which was the soundtrack to his book about the music industry - "Hype"), and the album "Test Tube Conceived" in 1986. After Calvert's departure, Hawkwind continued as a four-piece for a while. "P.X.R.5" was finally released in May 1979 and made it to #42. With it's release, Hawkwind left the Charisma label and signed briefly with Bronze Records. This change of record label was accompanied by the inevitable lineup changes. Huw LLuoyd-Langton joined Hawkwind on lead guitar. Steve Swindells left and Tim Blake joined on keyboards. Simon King returned briefly on drums and Martin Griffith left. With Bronze, they released only two albums. Late 1979 saw the "Hawkwind Live" album released. Simon King again left the band, to be replaced by Ginger Baker in time to record "Levitation" which appeared in 1980. Charisma released it's compilation album "Repeat Performance" also in 1980.
In 1981 with a change of label to RCA and the inevitable lineup changes (Ginger Baker out, Martin Griffin back in on drums, Tim Blake out and not replaced on keyboards, and Michael Moorcock appearing on vocals again), they released their sixteenth album, "Sonic Attack". Hawkwind set up it's own record label, Flicknife Records, in 1981. This allowed them to release material that was recorded under their other names, Sonic Assassins and Hawklords, as well as selections from bands associated with Hawkwind. Their first release with Flicknife Records was the single "Motorhead/Valium Ten" in 1981 with tracks recorded in 1977 and 1978. In 1982, came the 12" EP, "Sonic Assassins" with three tracks recorded Christmas Eve 1977 when the band was called the Sonic Assassins. Next came the album "Hawkwind, Friends and Relations" in 1982, that contained live tracks by Hawkwind, Hawklords and Sonic Assassins, as well as tracks by Inner City Unit and Michael Moorcock's Deep Fix. Another Flicknife release in 1982 was the double album released only in Spain, "Hawkwind". This double album contained all tracks from the three previous Flicknife releases except for the two Michael Moorcock and Deep Fix tracks on "Friends and Relations". It also contained three tracks recorded in 1969 under the name Hawkwind-Zoo.
Two more RCA releases, "Church of Hawkwind" (1982) and "Choose Your Masques" (1982), saw the fulfillment of their contract with RCA. Nik Turner rejoined the band in time to record "Choose Your Masques" with them. United Artists again got into the act in 1983 and released a double live album "The Text of Festival - Hawkwind Live 1970-2".
Hawkwind released the second in the Friends and Relations series in 1983 with "Hawkwind, Friends and Relations ... Twice Upon a Time". This contained live tracks from Hawkwind from 1971, 1972 and 1978 as well as tracks from Hawkwind alumni. Harvey Bainbridge recorded "The Changing". Nik Turner, Dave Brock and Harvey Bainbridge under the name Uncle Nik & the E.T.'s recorded "Phone Home Elliot" with the recent film "E.T" in mind. Martin Griffin with Steve Swindells and others recorded "Work". Nik Turner recorded "Man with the Golden Arm". Dave Brock recorded "Motherless Children". The Hawkwind lineup at this stage was essentially Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw LLoyd-Langton and Martin Griffin. Keith Hayle joined the band on keyboards and Michael Moorcock also recorded with Hawkwind for the release in late 1983 of the album "Zones".
In 1984, Hawkwind played at the Heavy Metal festival at Stonehenge and released a recording of that concert on Flicknife Records, called "Stonehenge, This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic". The album also contained a 12" single with the studio tracks "Stonehenge Decoded" and "Watching the Grass Grow". Another Flicknife Records release came in 1985 with "Hawkwind, Friends & Relations Volume 3". This contained live Hawkwind and Hawklords tracks, a live radio cut from Dave Brock - "Wired Up For Sound" and his song "When the Going Gets Tough", Bob Calvert's "Widow Song", Harvey Bainbridge's Alman Mulo Band and "Toad On the Road", Stravinsky Shoe's "Vampire" and Underground Zero's Canes Venatici". Keith Hayles left the band abd Harvey Bainbridge switched to synth and keyboards and Alan Davey joined on bass. Martin Griffin again left the band and was replaced by Danny Thompson. Dave Charles also joined on percussion. The Hawkwind line-up at this stage was Dave Brock, vocals and guitar, Harvey Bainbridge, synth and keyboards, Huw Lloyd-Langton, lead guitar, Alan Davey, bass, Danny Thompson, drums, Dave Charles, percussion. The last Flicknife Records release for 1985 was Hawkwind with "The Chronicle of the Black Sword", a concept album based on Michael Moorcock's character Elric of Melnibone.
Demi-Mondaine Records also released three Hawkwind albums in 1985. All three were early recordings of Hawkwind from 1972/1973. "In the Beginning" was a re-release of eight tracks from the 1972 line-up of Hawkwind. "Bring Me the Head of Yuri Gagarin" was a live album of a previously un-released concert from 1973, the Meltdown at the Empire Pool. "Space Ritual Volume 2" was a concert recorded at The Sundown, Brixton, London on 30th December 1972. Some tracks from the album "Space Ritual 1" also came from this concert, but "we had to cut a piece out of Brainstorm and Time We Left because they were too long". This has been remedied by the release of the full-length versions in "Space Ritual 2".
Some CDs have extra tracks, and tracks that are not in the same order as the original LPs. I have listed the CD tracks here.
Del Dettmar and Nik Turner
Del Dettmar, Simon House and Nik Turner
Friends and Relations