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Music / Hawkwind

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Hawkwind were one of the first space rock bands, formed in 1969 and still going strong today. Started out as Group X, later Hawkwind Zoo, before recording under their current name; also known as the Sonic Assassins and then as Hawklords for a brief period in the late 1970s.

While their style is at heart a combination of Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock, and Progressive Rock with bits of electronic music via Krautrock, they have also been referred to as "Proto Punk" because of their occasional Three Chords and the Truth moments and aggressive performances.

But you probably know them as "that band Lemmy was in before forming Motörhead".

Of their imitators, the best are probably 1980s space rockers Underground Zerø.

They've had an insane amount of members over the course of their career. Former band member Del Dettmar estimated that by 1994, there had been some thirty-five people who at one point or another had been official members of Hawkwind. Taken from the band's unofficial history, there are in fact more. Perm any thirty-five you like from:

  • Andy Anderson, drums;
  • Dave Anderson, bass;
  • Harvey Bainbridge, bass, later keyboards and synths.
  • Ginger Baker, drums. Formerly with supergroup Cream and something of a coup for Hawkwind, he lasted for one tour and two LP's. Allegedly his vast ego was hard to contain, he still wanted supergroup pay and perks, and saw Hawkwind as his band rather than himself as Hawkwind's drummer. Clashed with the autocratic Brock and walked out/was sacked. Allegedly.
  • Tim "Gollum" Blake, keyboards.
  • Even BRIAN BLESSED himself has provided a guest vocal (on Sonic Attack, a very apt track for somebody with his vocal talents).
  • Dave Brock, vocals, guitar and keyboards, the busker who formed the band and the only constant member.
  • Arthur Brown, known as "the godfather of theatrical stage rock",note  has at intervals been a part of the Hawkwind collective, fronting the band as lead singer in 2001-02.
  • Barney Bubbles, set designer, lighting man, light show co-ordinator and LP sleeve designer;
  • Robert Calvert, lead singer/frontman and poet between 1972-1979.
  • Richard Chadwick, drums.
  • John Clark, drums.
  • Thomas Crimble, bass.
  • Martin Crowley.
  • Alan Davey, bass.
  • Clive Deamer, drums.
  • DikMik (electronic and radiophonic effects)
  • Del Dettmar (synths and keyboards)
  • "Dead Fred", violin and keyboards. His wife Claire was also in the band as a stage dancer.
  • Martin Griffin, drums.
  • John Harrison, original bass player; left the band in 1970.
  • Paul Hayles, keyboards.
  • Robb Heaton, drums.
  • Craig High, vocals.
  • Niall Hone, guitar.
  • Simon House, violin.
  • Rikki Howard, stage dancer.
  • Jez Huggett, saxaphone and flute.
  • Russell Hunter, drums.
  • Simon King, drums. One half of the "Drum Empire".
  • Lemmy Kilmister, the guy who got fired for "doing the wrong drugs" and started Motörhead instead.
  • Keith Kniveton, keyboards and synths.
  • Huw Lloyd-Langton, guitar (deceased 2012)
  • Lena Lovich was with them for a while as singer; the kooky Americannote  fitted in well.
  • Rick Martinez, drums.
  • Alaistar Merry, wouldn't you know it, percussion.
  • Michael Moorcock, guitar and vocals, better-known as a science fiction and fantasy author, and especially as the author of The Elric Saga.
  • "Mr Nibs", bass guitar.
  • Terry Ollis, the naked drummer.
  • Viv Prince, drums.
  • Alan Powell, drums. The other half of the "Drum Empire".
  • Paul Rudolph, bass.
  • Jon Sevinck, violin and viola.
  • Adrian Shaw, bass.
  • Mick Slattery, guitars.
  • Marc Sperhauk, guitars.
  • The Lovely Stacia, the band's eye-catching stage dancer;
  • Steve Swindells, keyboards.
  • Kris Taitnote  (Madam X): stage dancer, fire-eater and occasional vocalist.
  • Danny Thomson, drums.
  • Ron Tree, vocals.
  • Twink (Paul Noble) keyboards and synths.
  • Nik Turner(1940-2022), saxophone, alleged inventor of the band's name. Any lingering hope for a reconciliation with Dave Brock passed when Nik died, aged 82, on November 20th 2022.
  • Bridget Wishart, vocals.


  • Hawkwind (1970)
  • In Search of Space (1971)
  • Doremi Fasol Latido (1972)
  • Space Ritual (1973) [live album]
  • Hall of the Mountain Grill (1974)
  • Warrior on the Edge of Time (1975)
  • Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976)
  • Quark, Strangeness and Charm (1977)
  • 25 Years On — Hawklords (1978)
  • PXR5 (1979)
  • Levitation (1980)
  • Sonic Attack (1981)
  • Church of Hawkwind (1982)
  • Choose Your Masques (1982)
  • The Chronicle of the Black Sword (1985)
  • The Xenon Codex (1988)
  • Space Bandits (1990)
  • Electric Tepee (1992)
  • It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous (1993)
  • White Zone — Psychedelic Warriors (1995)
  • Alien 4 (1995)
  • Distant Horizons (1997)
  • In Your Area (1999)
  • Take Me to Your Leader (2005)
  • Take Me to Your Future (2006)
  • Blood of the Earth (2010)
  • Onward (2012)
  • Stellar Variations – Released as Hawkwind Light Orchestra (2012)
  • The Machine Stops (2016)

Tropes used by Hawkwind:

  • Double-Meaning Title: "Flying Doctor" is about an Australian flying doctor who abuses prescription drugs - in other words, he's "flying" in more ways than one.
  • Drugs Are Good: Most of their output. "Motorhead" is about doing speed. Famously, its author and lead singer Lemmy Kilminster was later thrown out of the band for doing too much of it and took the song with him. "Hashcake 77" is an instrumental which manages to convey the way it feels when doing dope. You can feel righteously stoned just listening to it.
  • Dungeon Masters Girlfriend: Kris Tait, aka Mrs Dave Brock. Allegedly, she alienated long-standing members with her ideas for how the band should develop and change. She is now officially the band's manager.
  • Echoing Acoustics - They frequently use this trope to invoke the spacey feel.
  • Epic Rocking - We'd list all the examples, but then this page would be a Doorstopper. Let's just say there are a lot.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: "Flying Doctor" is partly about this:
    Out in the Outback there's been an outbreak
    And the Flying Doctor's got nothing to take
    He called up his mates on the radio
    He said my supplies are running low
    They're running low, you can see where they go
  • Greed: the ongoing rancour and ill-feeling about where all the money went, with most fingers pointing in one or two specific directions. Allegedly.
  • Green Aesop: "We took the Wrong Step Years Ago"
  • High Turnover Rate: At least forty-three people have been a part of the band over the years, with an extremely high proportion being drummers.
  • I Am the Band - Dave Brock.
  • Large Ham: Robert Calvert during "Sonic Attack". The piece was also later rerecorded for the band's stage shows by none other than BRIAN BLESSED himself.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Amazing Stacia.
  • New Sound Album: Present but downplayed- they definitely have a signature sound, but the different albums all have differing levels of emphasis on the spacey side vs. the hard rocking side of the band's sound, as well as varying levels of production polish (studio albums recorded in the 80s, for example, are usually noticeably more polished vs. the rawer sound of most of the 70s albums). As well, in the 80s they were heavier on the synths.
  • New Wave Science Fiction: They were strongly influenced by the experimental New SF! Moorcock, in his career as a writer and editor was one of the leaders of the New Wave movement.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: the ill-fated disaster that was the Hawkestra. Getting every ex-member of the band back on stage with the current line-up for a series of gigs was an inspired idea - on paper. It was never repeated.
  • Psychedelic Rock + Progressive Rock
  • Revolving Door Band - Definitely.
  • Rock Opera - The Chronicle of the Black Sword, written with Michael Moorcock's cooperation.
  • Run or Die:
    In the case of sonic attack, survival must mean every man for himself. Statistically, more people survive if they think only of themselves. Do not stop to rescue friends, relatives or loved ones, or you will inevitably die.
  • Sonic Stunner: the track "Sonic Attack" lists the horrible effects of ultra or sub-sonic weaponry.
  • Space Clothes: Stage costumes worn by the more eccentric members of the band, such as Robert Calvert, in The '70s.
  • Space Madness: Space Is Dark, Golden Void, This is Earth Calling
  • Space Rock: An Ur-Example of this genre.
  • Special Guest: On Space Ritual Live 2014, BRIAN BLESSED, no less, provides pre-recorded guest narration on "Sonic Attack".
  • Spoken Word in Music - That was Robert Calvert's job, especially on Space Ritual.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: especially when Michael Moorcock was writing songs for them, the Blue Öyster Cult were thought of by some as America's Hawkwind for being a hard rock band with science fiction-themed songs.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Mrs Dave Brock has come up with a brand new idea - Hawkwind Holidays.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: It happens occasionally.