Hawkwind (A-Z #46)

One of my all-time favourite tracks comes from Hawkwind’s 1971 follow-up to their debut of the previous year. ‘You shouldn’t do that’ – a 15 minute monster – sets the scene as the opening track from “In search of Space and Time” and sealed Hawkwind’s future as a provider of truly tripped-out space rock.

Formed in mid-1969 as ‘Group X’ by ex-Famous Cure members Dave Brock and Mick Slattery, they were joined for what would soon become ‘Hawkwind Zoo’ by Nik Turner, Terry Ollis, Dik Mik and John Harrison. Dropping the ‘zoo’ bit from their name, Hawkweed signed to United Artist in late 1969 and released their debut album late the following summer.

However, although the follow-up ‘In Search of Space & Time’ made it into the top 20, the band smashed into the top 3 the following summer with the release of the single ‘Silver Machine, also from the album. Featuring the pile-driving bass talents of Lemmy Kilmister (aka ‘Lemmy’ of Motorhead fame), the track featured on the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ album released as the soundtrack to the film of the festival, then in its second year.

The success of the single secured Hawkwind a top 20 placing for each of their subsequent four albums on the United Artists label. However, when following the departure of Lemmy for Motorhead, the band signed to ‘Charisma’, although they continued to see moderate success, they were dogged by legal impacts which gradually began to have an impact. Despite this, the band – in a succession of different line-ups – continued and are still together. Dave Brock’s the only original member these days though.