As a kid, I was aware of Hawkwind but I’m almost certain I’d never heard any of their music until recently — and I find this very strange because I was a huge Sword & Sorcery nut back then, and with Hawkwind’s connections to the genre (not to mention the Science Fiction aspect of a lot of their music), you’d think I would’ve had all their albums on vinyl and 8-Track. Fortunately, fellow Cheese Magneteer Tanzi turned me onto these guys awhile back and now I can’t stop listening to ’em.
It’s tough to find many Hawkwind video clips that are very good, but here’s one from 1972 of the band performing “Silver Machine” — and yes, that’s a pre-Motorhead Lemmy Kilmister on bass and vocals.
Hawkwind’s debut album was produced by Dick Taylor from The Pretty Things (another band we need to cover here on Classic Rock Sunday), giving it a pretty terrific pedigree in my book. The Sword and Sorcery connection really went all-out when Michael Moorcock (author of the Elric of Melnibone books) became involved with the band — Hawkwind’s 1975 album Warrior on the Edge of TIme is based on Moorcock’s “Eternal Champion” mythos. In 1985 they went even further, recording the album The Chronicle of the Black Sword, based on Elric and another Moorcock Eternal Champion, Jerry Cornelius. Moorcock wrote lyrics for the song “Sleep of a Thousand Tears” and did some spoken-word performances with the band.
The clip below isn’t particularly interesting visually, but as the final song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind before being kicked out of the band (“For doing the wrong drugs,” as Lemmy tells it), “Motorhead” is not only a kickass rocker, but obviously gave Lemmy the name for his follow-up band.
Incredibly, Hawkwind is still touring and releasing new material — their most recent album is Blood of the Earth, released in June of 2010.