Culled from voting and comments in the BOC-L
Hawkwind list, here are the top 20 finest
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
Anyway, on with the countdown, in strict order,
and starting with the big number one!
- 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.
in video form (almost!)
- 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
- 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(!)
- 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").
- 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.
- Time We Left (from "Doremi Faso
Latido"). One quote: "Lemmy's solo here is one
of mankind's finest achievements, musical or
- Moonglum (from "The Chronicles of the
Black Sword"), especially the bit before the
- Spirit of the age (studio version
from "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" probably
the best known) - this piece rocks however
- 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-) ).
here (840k) is from 1977, from the
- Dust Of Time (from "Levitation"),
especially the synth swoop into that crashing
riff and Huw's brilliant guitar solo.
- 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.
- 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?
- Treadmill (from "Palace Springs"),
mainly for Brock's superlative riffing.
- Robot (live version on "PXR5"),
especially Simon House's violin solo.
- Phenomenon of Luminosity (from
"Church of Hawkwind")
- Nuclear Drive (from "Church of
Hawkwind"), one quote: "a typical brilliant
Dave Brock economy, where the entire song is
just one repeated pumping chord.
- You'd Better Believe It (from "Hall
of the Mountain Grill"), especially the Nik
Turner and Simon House solos in the
- Down Thru the night (live version, on
"Space Ritual") with incredible synergy
between Simon, Dave and Lemmy.
- 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
- 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.