Hawkwind are an English rock band, one of the earliest space rock groups.
Their lyrics favour urban and science fiction themes.
Dave Brock and Mick Slattery had been in the London-based psychedelic band Famous Cure, and a meeting with bassist John Harrison revealed a mutual interest in electronic music which led the trio to embark upon a new musical venture together.
Seventeen-year-old drummer Terry Ollis replied to an advert in music weekly, while Nik Turner and Michael ‘Dik Mik’ Davies, old acquaintances of Brock, offered help with transport and gear, but were soon pulled into the band.
The band settled on the name Hawkwind after briefly being billed as Hawkwind Zoo, Hawkwind being the nickname of Turner derived from his unappealing habit of clearing his throat (hawking) and excessive flatulence (wind).
Another version of the origin of their name says they took it from one of Michael Moorcock’s stories.
Moorcock himself denies this story, however, and points out that there is no story of that name.
Their follow up album, 1971’s In Search of Space, brought greater commercial success, reaching number 18 on the UK album charts, and also saw the band’s image and philosophy take shape, courtesy of graphic artist Barney Bubbles and underground press writer Robert Calvert, as depicted in the accompanying Hawklog booklet which would further be developed into the Space Ritual stage show.
Science fiction author Michael Moorcock and dancer Stacia also started contributing to the band.
Dik Mik had left the band, replaced by sound engineer Del Dettmar, but chose to return for this album giving the band two electronics players.
Bass player Dave Anderson, who had been in the German band Amon Düül II, had also joined and played on the album but departed before its release because of personal tensions with some other members of the band.
Anderson and Lloyd-Langton then formed the short-lived band Amon Din. Meanwhile, Ollis quit, unhappy with the commercial direction the band were heading in.
On the 23rd of December 1977 in Barnstaple, Brock and Calvert had performed a one-off gig with Devon band Ark as the Sonic Assassins, and looking for a new project in 1978, bassist Harvey Bainbridge and drummer Martin Griffin were recruited from this event.
Steve Swindells was recruited as keyboard player.
The band was named Hawklords, (probably for legal reasons, the band having recently split from their management), and recording took place on a farm in Devon using a mobile studio, resulting in the album 25 Years On.
King had originally been the drummer for the project but quit during recording sessions to return to London, while House, who had temporarily left the band to join a David Bowie tour, elected to remain with Bowie full-time, but nevertheless contributed violin to these sessions.
During the eighties, the band produced 6 full length studio albums and two live recordings.
According to most specialists in the field among them was none of the bands top performances, which were either made in the seventies or later in the nineties, but consistency was clearly not lacking, now having established an easily recognizable, albeit not so easily accessible, Hawkwind style.
For many the 1985 recording “Chronicles of the Black Sword” was the most interesting of the decade, featuring lyrics by Michael Moorcock, dealing with a fantasy world not unlike the one as laid down by Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.