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Top 20 Finest Hawkwind moments

Culled from voting and comments in the BOC-L Hawkwind list, here are the top 20 finest Hawkwind moments...

A comment on the number 1 choice - it's probably representative of the thing most of us like Hawkwind's live sets for. To quote one person: "nothing beats that moment near the beginning of a live set when Hawkwind have taken the stage and make the transition from the electronics/intro to where the first song kicks in." In fact, multiply the same thing by half a dozen such intros throughout a gig and then add on the adrenaline caused by the heavy stuff itself....

[Now animated superbly!]

Anyway, on with the countdown, in strict order, and starting with the big number one!

  1. Born To Go (from various sources, but most notably "Space Rock from London" and "Space Ritual"), especially the marvellously drawn out synth tone intro (on the Space Ritual version only) and Brock's opening riffing and the way drums and bass kick in. Now available in video form (almost!)
  2. Assault and Battery / Golden Void (studio, from "Warrior on the edge of time" and, almost as popular, the live version from 1990's "Palace Springs"), especially the intro to Assault and the transition between them on the Warrior version, with hugely distorted synthesiser wailing. Also, the key change and guitar riff halfway through GV, and Harvey's keyboard and Brock's guitar solos on the Palace Springs version of GV.
    Also related to this transition is the quite rare but inspired transition between Wind of Change and Golden Void on "RoadHawks",short excerpt here (430k).
  3. Damnation Alley (from "Quark, Strangeness and Charm"), especially, Simon House's violin solo and the guitar gliss into the main riff. And not forgetting Simon's drumming, especially the roll back into the rhythm after the organ bit(!)
  4. Orgone Accumulator (from "Space Ritual"), especially the superlative jamming and the transition into Upside Down ("when everybody seems to hang in limbo, Lemmy has finished his bass solo, Simon on loose drums and then Brock launches into the riff").
  5. Motorway city (studio version from "Levitation", many live versions to choose from!) One quote: "It has an incredible energy - starts out relatively soft and mellow, cruises along and then kicks in and takes off like an intense peak and then gently brings you back in and sets you back down....... Note especially the modulation back to the original key towards the end. The excerpt here (1.4MB) is from the rare up-tempo studio version with Simon on drums.
  6. Time We Left (from "Doremi Faso Latido"). One quote: "Lemmy's solo here is one of mankind's finest achievements, musical or otherwise :)".
  7. Moonglum (from "The Chronicles of the Black Sword"), especially the bit before the vocals.
  8. Spirit of the age (studio version from "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" probably the best known) - this piece rocks however it's done.
  9. Master Of The Universe (many, many versions, but notably on "Space Ritual"), especially the huge wind noise and trademark riffed guitar intros (three per version 8-) ). The excerpt here (840k) is from 1977, from the middle verse.
  10. Dust Of Time (from "Levitation"), especially the synth swoop into that crashing riff and Huw's brilliant guitar solo.
  11. Uncle Sam's on Mars ('studio' version on "PXR5", live on numerous recordings). Noted especially were "Dave's brilliant 'walk-about' solo from the Camden Music Machine gig (1977 bootleg "The Forge of Vulcan")" and "around about the point of the lyric "He's looking for life", Dave switches his rhythm guitar from syncopated to bouncing on the beat - really shifts the intensity". Great powerhouse drumming from Simon on each version as well.
  12. Brainstorm (version on "Doremi") - Forming the opening seconds of the album, this is simply awesome - when this came out, it was heavier than anything else people had ever heard - the start of an era?
  13. Treadmill (from "Palace Springs"), mainly for Brock's superlative riffing.
  14. Robot (live version on "PXR5"), especially Simon House's violin solo.
  15. Phenomenon of Luminosity (from "Church of Hawkwind")
  16. Nuclear Drive (from "Church of Hawkwind"), one quote: "a typical brilliant Dave Brock economy, where the entire song is just one repeated pumping chord.
  17. You'd Better Believe It (from "Hall of the Mountain Grill"), especially the Nik Turner and Simon House solos in the mid-section.
  18. Down Thru the night (live version, on "Space Ritual") with incredible synergy between Simon, Dave and Lemmy.
  19. Lord of light (live version, on "Space Ritual")- mind blowing the first time I heard it - like nothing else I'd ever heard - soaring vocals, tumbling bass lines and superhuman drumming.
  20. Brainbox Pollution (on the remastered "Doremi") - the first 2 seconds! Sound effects to die for....

PS. See also my personal Top 15 Hawkwind tracks from the 1970s.