Hawkwind, the self-titled debut psychedelic rock album by Hawkwind was released in 1970, originally on Liberty Records (catalogue no. LBS 83348).
Hawkwind had assembled at the end of the 1960s as a bunch of stoner freaks, hanging out and jamming around Ladbroke Grove
in London. Gatecrashing a local talent night, they were so untogether as to not even have a name, plumping for Group X at the last minute, nor any songs, choosing to play an extended 20-minute jam of The Byrds
"Eight Miles High"
BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel
was in the audience and was impressed enough to tell budding impresario Doug Smith
to keep an eye on them. He duly did, signed them up and got them a deal with Liberty Records
on the back of a deal he was setting up for Cochise
Even back then, Dave Brock was the central figure of the band. Having been in the blues turned psychedelic band Famous Cure with Mick Slattery, a meeting with jazz-dance band bassist John A Harrison revealed a mutual interest in electronic music that kicked this new venture off. An advert in Melody Maker one of the music weeklies turned up 17 year old drummer Terry Ollis. Both Nik Turner and Dik Mik Davies were old acquaintances of Brock who had offered help with transport and gear, but were soon pulled into the band when their respective hidden talents for messing around on saxophones and electronics were exposed. No sooner had it started, but Slattery did a flit to be replaced by Huw Lloyd-Langton, who had been working in a music shop selling guitar strings to the busking Brock.
guitartist Dick Taylor
, who was looking for a new venture after leaving the band, was pulled into Hawkwind playing some gigs and producing this album. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the band's sound in the studio, it was decided simply to record it live in the studio.
All songs on the original release were credited to Dave Brock to the amazement of the others as they had been borne from band jams. From the 1996 Remasters onwards the tracks have been credited to the entire band.
The bulk of the album is composed of a freeform instrumetal piece that the band named "Sunshine Special" but it was separated into different tracks on this album. On the LP, "Paranoia" ends after the first minute with the music slowing down as though the turntable is stopping, and then picks up as the first cut on Side 2. Lyrics are scant, but those that are present and the song titles are a reference to the drug experience, as the sleeve notes explain:
This is the beginning. By now we will be past this album. We started out trying to freak people (trippers), now we are trying to levitate their minds, in a nice way, without acid, and ultimately a completely audio-visual thing. Using a complex of electronics, lights and environmental experiences.
The two book-end pieces of "Hurry on Sundown" and "Mirror Of Illusion" are more of a nod to Brock's alternative activity of busking and were released as a single in edited form.
The cover is a fantasy painting that shows several dragon figures emerging from piles of leaves that also spell out the name of the band. On the front cover, the dragons are shown with human arms, while the reverse cover shows a dragon's head as an automobile with a driver wearing sunglasses.
Adverts for the album proclaimed Hawkwind Is Space Rock.
Mark Plummer from Melody Maker
reviewed the album in the context of electronic music as "interesting and exciting. The reason for this is that the group never goes too mad, and they keep within musical bounds, using sound discriminatingly, and only when they are needed to convey a feeling." adding that "Seeing It As You Really Are is a lesson in electronic music itself. Any group thinking of using weird sounds should listen to this album, it's tremendous."
Members of the band warmly regard the album, many feeling that it was the band's best. Various reactions include:
- "That was the great magical album. It was quite daring, I thought" - Dave Brock
- "I remember being a bit apprehensive because Dick Taylor was the main man there and he was an older guitarist - I felt intimidated and didn't really enjoy doing it. It was a good album though and I still enjoy hearing it, even now." - Huw Lloyd-Langton
- "We're very much a live band - with the exception of the first album which I had nothing to do with, and which I think was the best studio album Hawkwind's done - I think the "Space Ritual" album is the best one we've done, because that was live, that's Hawkwind, that's us as we are." - Simon King
- "My fav Gong album, and my fav H-W one, curiously-or obviously, I don't know, are records I've not played on... Camembert & Hawkwind (1) !" - Tim Blake
- "Some of the band hated that album, but I thought it was the most musical they did" - Dik Mik
- "Hurry on Sundown" (Brock/Hawkwind) 4:50
- "The Reason Is?" (Brock/Hawkwind) 3:30
- "Be Yourself" (Brock/Hawkwind) 8:09
- "Paranoia (part 1)" (Brock/Hawkwind) 1:04Side 2
- "Paranoia (part 2)" (Brock/Hawkwind) 4:11
- "Seeing It As You Really Are" (Brock/Hawkwind) 10:43
- "Mirror of Illusion" (Brock/Hawkwind) 7:08bonus tracks on 1996 Remasters CD:
- "Bring It On Home" (Willie Dixon) 3:18
- "Hurry on Sundown" (Hawkwind Zoo demo) (Brock/Hawkwind) 5:06
- "Kiss of the Velvet Whip" [aka "Sweet Mistress of Pain"] (Brock/Hawkwind) 5:28
- "Cymbaline" (Roger Waters) 4:04
- Recorded at Trident Studios, London, March and April 1970. Produced with Dick Taylor.
- Sleeve by Arthur Rhodes.
- "Bring It On Home" was recorded pre-Hawkwind by Dave Brock.
- The other bonus tracks were recorded by Hawkwind Zoo at Abbey Road Studios 1969, produced with Don Poole.
- Aug-1970: Liberty Records, LBS83348, UK vinyl - gatefold sleeve. First pressing had blue label, subsequent ones had black label.
- 1971: United Artists Records, UAS-5519, USA vinyl
- Sep-1975: Sunset Records, SLS50374, UK vinyl - single sleeve
- Feb-1980: UA Rockfile, LBR1012, UK vinyl - single sleeve, red on green Doremi shield.
- Feb-1984: Liberty Records, SLS1972921 UK vinyl, single sleeve; SLSP1972921, UK picture disc. In this guise (its 5th), the album made its only chart appearance, a single week at #75, nearly 14 years after its first release
- Sep-1992: One Way Records, S2157658, USA CD
- Mar-1996: EMI Remasters, HAWKS1, UK CD - initial issues in digipak