[CHRONOLOGY] 1972: The Other Side Of The Sky
Ref: p78 – The title of this chapter obviously comes from the ‘Silver Machine’ lyric. However, The Other Side Of The Sky is also the name of a 1958 collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, possibly an inspiration for Robert Calvert.
Ref: p78 – There’s more national media coverage of a prurient nature in 1972, with the Sunday People getting over-excited about Stacia’a naked dancing at the Coventry Lacarno (“Why I Danced In The Nude – By Pop Girl”, 16 April 1972). And Lemmy had already featured in the Kensington Post, having been caught in possession of Mandrax tablets following a police raid on his flat (“Musician On Drugs Charge”, 7 January 1972).
Ref: p78 – The ‘Silver Machine’ promo film was made by Tom Taylor of Caravel Film Services, who filmed a number of other promos for Top Of The Pops, including Nilsson’s ‘Without You’, R Dean Taylor’s ‘Indiana Wants Me’, George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘American Trilogy’. Here’s Ian Abraham’s original discussion about the film and a little more info about the elusive Tom Taylor here (scroll down). The history of ‘Silver Machine’ on TOTP in 1972 is as follows: 13 July, no. 37 (promo shown); 27 July, no. 12 (promo shown); 10 August, no. 7 (promo shown); 24 August, no. 3 (played during chart countdown); 25 December (Christmas special – played over end credits).
Ref: p79 – CORRECTION: “…the Greasy Truckers Party album – released on 28 April…” According to a news item in Sounds (29.4.72), the official release date was actually 5 May. However, the album wasn’t reviewed in the music press until late July/early August, which suggests its release may have been further delayed.
Ref: p81 – There can be no greater affirmation of ‘Silver Machine’’s cultural status than Sweep’s rendition of it on The Sooty Show. (Thanks Ian Abrahams!)
Ref: p82 – “More in demand now than ever…” The September issue of German music magazine Sounds reported that around 1,000 people were unable to get into a sold-out Hawkwind show in Guildford (presumably at the Civic Hall, 2.7.72): “The group had half of their PA system set up in the adjacent parking lot and played for the people in the hall and for those waiting outside at the same time, before the police arrived and asked the band to stop the performance.”
Ref: p85 – “On 23 September, Hawkwind play the Windsor Arts Festival…” Promoter Andrew Kilderry (from FB): “I think Hawkwind's agent, Paul Fenn (aka Asgard - JB), was a Chuck Berry fan, as he insisted they be paid before going on and I remember counting out their fee of £1,000 in cash with him.”
Ref: p89 – “2 …this film was shot at the Queensway Hall in Dunstable” Confusingly, the venue was formally known as the Civic Hall at the time, but informally referred to as the Queensway. It was officially re-named the Queensway Hall in 1975. The building was demolished in 2000 to make way for an Asda supermarket.
Ref: p90 – “8 - Both the unedited version of ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘WTTF’ appeared on the Glastonbury Fayre triple album released in June.” It’s only latterly that the album has become known as Glastonbury Fayre (sometime appended with The Electric Score) – at the time, it was promoted as Revelations. Like Greasy Truckers Party, it only started being reviewed in early August, which suggests a similar delay in its release.
Ref: p92 “17” – Hawkwind superfan Johan Edlundh has confirmed that the session recordings of ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘Brainstorm’ from the At The BBC-1972 album were indeed sourced from the BBC transcription disc Top Of The Pops 406, hosted by Brian Matthew “from the BBC in London” and ‘released’ 16.8.72. You can learn more about the Top Of The Pops radio show for overseas markets here. With the original tapes for Hawkwind’s BBC sessions in the 1970s either lost or erased (excepting the mono recording of the 1972 Paris Theatre concert), it’s lucky that these recordings survived, particularly as each disc came with a letter requesting that the vinyl be destroyed at the end of the license period – in the case of Top Of The Pops 406, by 17 August 1973.
Ref: p92 – “23… dancer and mime artist Tony Crerar.” Aka Tony Marchet, Crerar had been performing since the late 60s – for instance, there’s an ad in IT for 'The Tony Crerar Mime Show' at the Birmingham Arts Lab on 11 & 12 October 1969. He had also recently performed with the Strawbs at the ‘multimedia’ premiere of their Grave New World album. He would perform with Hawkwind again in 1985, playing the role of Elric during their Chronicle Of The Black Sword tour.
Ref: p102 – The series of adverts used to promote Doremi in the music press are attributed to “Consumer Division: Holy Galactic Imperium”, which fits with the heraldic nature of both the ISOS and Doremi sleeves. Go here to view the ads.
Ref: p103 – “No gatefold this time…” Or certainly not in the UK, Europe or US. However, Doremi was released as a gatefold in Japan and South Africa, the two territories where Hawkwind were still being released on the Liberty label rather than UA. Gawp at its splendour here.
Ref: p103 – “The Space Ritual tour continues until the end of the year, playing to packed houses at 2,000+ capacity venues.” As an indication of Hawkwind’s rocketing popularity (and fee), here’s Andrew Kilderry again, who regularly promoted shows at Bracknell Sports Centre: “9.12.72. I think the attendance was close to 2,000. They were on a Peter Grant-style deal of 90% nett! We paid them £1,370.25. At the same venue 18.12.71, we paid them £150 and lost £12.39! Attendance then had been about 500/600.” (from FB)
[CHRONOLOGY] 1973: We Were Born To Blow The Human Mind
Ref: p119 – “Lemmy wrests control of the wheel once again…” If you listen carefully to ‘Orgone Accumulator’ at around the 7:27 mark, you can hear someone (Brock?) saying, “Ian!”, presumably to hasten the end of Lemmy’s bass solo.
Ref: p120 –Twink from the Pink Fairies played tambourine at the 30.12.72 Brixton Sundown gig and can supposedly be heard on Space Ritual – for instance, perhaps that’s him vigorously bashing away on ‘Brainstorm’.
Ref: p121: It’s possible that Moorcock’s ‘Sonic Attack’ was part-inspired by Peter Porter’s 1961 poem ‘Your Attention Please’, another parodic public information broadcast about nuclear attack, particularly lines such as, “Leave the old and bed-ridden, you can do nothing for them” And “Some of us may die. Remember, statistically it is not likely to be you.” Porter’s obituary in The Independent included this fantastic anecdote about the poem: “Its appearance in a Third Programme New Poetry broadcast in 1961 suddenly took off into newspaper headlines and internal reprimands… (Actor) Denys Hawthorne… rendered this grim and funny poem as if it were indeed emanating from some sort of impersonal broadcasting house… An American visitor, switching on his bedside radio in a London hotel, picked up the item, took it very seriously, and ran down into the hotel lobby, shouting ‘Where are the shelters?’” (Thanks to Hawkfan Steve Fletcher for this tip)
Ref: p124 – “… a mottled planet that on closer inspection turns out to be a breast.” Fellow ex-Clearwater alumni Cochise had already pulled a similar trick on the Hipgnosis-designed gatefold sleeve of their debut album, the dunes and peaks of a desert landscape in fact the contours of a woman’s naked body.
Ref: p128 – It wasn’t just the music press that came up with overheated descriptions of Hawkwind’s shows from this period. This is from Barry Coleman, writing for The Guardian on the 14 July show at Liverpool Stadium (as part of the ‘Urban Guerilla’ tour): “It was an occasion heavy with revelation and portent, primarily a religious, rather than musical event… A bearded poet periodically emerged from between the speakers to recite against the atmospheric background some surprisingly doom-laden poetry. It was rather like a commercial for the end of the world.”
Ref: p128 – “It’s one of the last shows that Calvert will play with Hawkwind for the next two years…” I had assumed that the last of these shows was the Harlow Music Festival, 22 September – but Calvert was apparently also present at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens and Edmonton Sundown shows (19 & 25/26 January 1974 respectively) during the Ridiculous Roadshow tour.
Ref: p129 – Elastic band-propelled paper rockets were given away as promo items at the US shows, the Doremi shield on the underside of one wing, the words “A Space Ritual” on the other.
Ref: p129 – “… their next British tour… is called ‘The Ridiculous Roadshow’” There’s a couple of interesting factoids in the answer to a Melody Maker (?) reader’s enquiry (titled ‘Nik’s Tune’) from November 73 – the tour was originally to be called the ‘Hawkwind Karavan’ and ‘Silver Machine’ was no longer available in the shops. While many albums in the 70s – such as Hawkwind’s – were kept ‘on catalogue’ and re-pressed as needed, even the most popular singles were quickly deleted.
Ref: p129 – Andrew Kilderry again, promoter at Bracknell Sports Centre: “15.12.73 was the same 90% nett deal and we paid them £1,311.33, including VAT.”
Ref: p130 – “7… Calvert also wrote an unpublished experimental novel entitled A Day Called X.” He also later wrote a song by the same name, which featured in his 1981 ‘electronic musical’ The Kid From Silicon Gulch.
Ref: p131 – “11… It’s previously been suggested that the footage comes from the Wembley Empire Pool show, but Smith believes it was a staged performance filmed at a Wardour Street studio owned by the production company 24 Frames.” I was prompted by Hawkfan and visual archivist Pedro Bellavista to revisit this film, and having seen stills from the same gig and compared it with other contemporary performances from Wembley Empire Pool, I’ve concluded that it is indeed the venue where the ‘Urban Guerilla’ promo (and the rest of Cynthia Beatt’s film) was shot.
Ref: p132 – “16 – No thanks to John Peel.” Perhaps less surprisingly, Allen Ashley recalls in his 1991 Hawkwind memoir The Golden Void that Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn, who had helped to propel ‘Silver Machine’ into the top three, described ‘Urban Guerilla’ as “like two British Rail engines being shunted together.”
[CHRONOLOGY] 1974: World Turned Upside Down Now
Ref: p150 – “Hawkwind resume the Ridiculous Roadshow tour on New Year’s Day at Blackburn’s King George Hall, and tour solidly until mid-February.” Strangely enough, they played the same venue just a month later (and both gigs seem to have gone ahead), where they ran into trouble with the police once again, albeit for slightly odd reasons: “Hawkwind were involved in an altercation with the police at Blackburn on Sunday, the final date of their two month British tour, because they had featured a six year old girl dancer on stage during their set. And this, claimed the police, contravened the laws relating to juvenile performers. A spokesman for the band explained, ‘Hawkwind had invited mime artist Tony Carreras (sic) to appear with them at Leeds on Saturday and Blackburn on Sunday, and he took along his wife and daughter to both shows. It seems that Stacia brought the youngster a party dress, to celebrate the end of the tour. The girl was sitting at the side of the stage and apparently she wanted to show off her new dress, so she did an involuntary little dance to the group’s music. Someone reported this to the police after the Leeds show, and they were already waiting for the band at Blackburn, where the same thing happened. But Hawkwind explained to the police that the girl was not officially working with them, and that her dance was purely spontaneous. The police appeared to accept this and we gather that no action is planned.’” (news item from an unknown publication).
Given that the same thing had already happened the night before at Leeds, somebody should probably have been on childminding duties. There was an amusingly over the top report of the Leeds incident in the university’s student newspaper: “A disgusted John Bisbrowne, Chief Ents steward, commented: ‘They should be shot with shit. If they need a kid like that to enhance their performance, they must sink to a pretty low level. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that Hawkwind never play at this university again.’” (‘Prosecution After Cruelty At Concert’ – Leeds Student, 15.02.74) Hawkwind played there again the following February, so Mr Bisbrowne’s efforts clearly came to nought.
Ref: p150 – CORRECTION? “one of the Edmonton shows is notable for the first appearance with the band of ex-High Tide violinist Simon House” Hard to tell whether this is right or not. From Carol Clerk’s The Saga Of Hawkwind: “‘I never actually played a note,’ remembers Simon. ‘We were hanging around backstage getting stoned. There were the dancers, the light-show and everyone wearing funny costumes. Simon King was a lion. Nik was a frog. It was totally bizarre. Complete chaos. I got the job – I knew everybody anyway.’” However, there’s this contemporary report from Sounds ('Baptism Of Fire', Bill Henderson, 01.06.74): "In the Hawkwind tradition, Simon’s audition for the gig was less than organised: 'It was a complete farce. They were playing at the Edmonton Sundown and I just about got round to playing a few bars, the rest of the time was spent sitting around in the dressing room.'" Either way, it seems likely that House’s contributions to the tracks recorded ‘live’ at the Edmonton Sundown – ‘You’d Better Believe It’, ‘Paradox’ and ‘It’s So Easy’ – were overdubbed in the studio.
However, House apparently did play with the band towards the end of the Ridiculous Roadshow – presumably in response to a reader enquiry, Doug Smith says the following to an unknown publication (probably Melody Maker): “The violinist at Leeds University was Simon House, late of High Tide and the Third Ear Band, who is a friend of ours.” Doug’s reply suggests that House wasn’t an official member at the time, so the gig must be the 9 February date at the University of Leeds.
Doug says something else interesting in the same piece, which was presumably published February/March 1974: “Barney Bubbles is working on some ideas about an illustrated book on Hawkwind generally, and we think it will contain lyrics, but as Barney likes to play around with several ideas before committing himself, we are waiting to see what he comes up with.” This idea evidently never left the drawing board…
Ref: p151 – “Hawkwind’s anti-establishment ethos appeals both to the Haight-Ashbury old guard and a new generation of fans, all disillusioned with the state of the nation.” One of the strangest communications I’ve had since the book was published is around the so-called ‘Hawkwind Farm’ communes that allegedly started to spring up in America, presumably around this time. I thought they might be some kind of hoax, but Hawkfan John Carpitella, who contacted me about them, is adamant about their existence. He said, “The communes/communities, Hawkwind Farms, got a Book of Hawkwind when founded. These communes were common around the wealthy parts of US cities based around LSD, peyote, etc., and specific UK bands. There were quite a few for Syd-era Floyd, but the Hawkwind farms were unique in that the band acknowledged them.”
I mostly drew a blank on Facebook, but there were a couple of comments that seemed to back up John’s claims: "I'm pretty sure I read it in a magazine in the 90s, they were doing an American tour and people were coming out from the sticks with bags of dope and stuff for them, the Hawk farms have all the song lyrics written down in leather bound books and viewed them as more of a religion than a band” and “In an 80s audio interview, Dave mentioned about a certain cult, that had all the Hawkwind lyrics hand written in a sacred book for ceremonies.” Can anybody shed any light on this?
Ref: p152 – “The Aerospaceage Inferno”. I noted later that Brian Eno sang uncredited backing/harmony vocals on Lucky Leif, but according to Calvert, he also sings on this track too.
Ref: p158 – “On 6 September, the punningly-titled Hall Of The Mountain Grill is released.” As noted, this title takes its inspiration from Grieg’s ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’. In fact, there’s a number of references to the album as In The Hall Of The Mountain Grill – on the poster that came with the 1974 A Dead Singer tour programme, on the US 8-track, and most intriguingly, on an early test pressing. These could all be errors, or perhaps it was actually the album’s original title.
Ref: p160 – CORRECTION: “9… Moon was booked for a Lockheed session, but failed to turn up.” Not so, according to Paul Rudolph, who says that one of the voices is indeed Moon’s, but that his contribution was uncredited.
Ref: p164 – CORRECTION: As previously stated, HOTMG is released 6 (not 4) September 1974!
Ref: p169 – Barney Bubbles painted the front cover of HOTMG from an actual model of a crashed spaceship (it was displayed at fan event Hawkon 85, but its current whereabouts are unknown).
Ref: p171 – CORRECTION: “And all just to announce their now traditional winter tour…” The NME front cover wasn’t just in support of this news item – there’s also an interview inside with Stacia entitled ‘Stacia: She Used To Wanna Be A Ballerina’.
Ref: p171 – Long-term Hawkwind fans watching the New Year’s Eve edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test (31.12.74) were probably surprised to see Huw Lloyd-Langton playing in Leo Sayer’s backing band. Huw had an incredibly varied career between leaving Hawkwind and rejoining in 1979, and would appear again on the OGWT (24.02.76) as a member of underachieving ‘supergroup’ Widowmaker.
(Hawkwind, of course, never made it onto the show – speaking to Sounds (23.08.75), Simon House said, “We've heard that Bob Harris isn't that keen on Hawkwind.”)