Hawkwind were formed in 1969, originally as “Hawkwind Zoo” by former London busker Dave Brock, although there have been numerous line-up changes throughout the years, he remains at the helm today and is know affectionately by many of the fans as the Captain of the ship. In 1970, the band appeared outside the perimeter fence of the Isle of Wight Festival as a protest to the admission charge. Jimi Hendrix was spotted in the audience. The same year they played at the first Glastonbury Festival.
These activities helped establish them as the people’s band, as well as being widely acknowledged with creating a brand new genre of music – space-rock. Also in that year the band’s first single, “Hurry on Sundown”, was released followed by the self titled debut album, ‘HAWKWIND’, 41 years on it remains a steady seller. By 1972, the bands popularity had grown to such an extent that they could now headline venues such as the famous Chalk Farm Roundhouse in London. A gig billed as the “Greasy Truckers Party” at this venue in February was to be forever etched into Hawkwind folklore, as it was at this show that their trademark single “Silver Machine” was recorded. The track, which featured Lemmy on vocals, brought the band to the attention of the wider general public after it reached number two in the UK charts in the June of that year. The success of “Silver Machine” financed their famous ‘mind blowing’ themed tour, entitled ‘Space Ritual’.
This show set the precedent for all future Hawkwind shows. The band’s wealth of creative talent, including contributions from the likes of sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, poet and visionary Bob Calvert, designer ‘Barney Bubbles’and lighting engineer ‘Liquid Len’ created the world’s first truly multimedia touring roadshow. The barrage of light, sound, dance and theatrics has since become a hallmark of all subsequent Hawkwind shows, making each gig a unique and spectacular event, rather than ‘another standard rock concert’. Following the “Space Ritual” UK tour, the band went on to continue the tour in the USA coinciding with the release of their acclaimed third album; “DOREMI FASOL LATIDO”, and then the live recording – “SPACE RITUAL ALIVE”.