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 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.
In 1973, classic trained musician Simon House (electric violin) joined the band, and throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, the World-famous science fiction author Michael Moorcock often wrote lyrics for Hawkwind as well as recording and appearing with them. After a drug bust in USA in 1975, Lemmy left the band and went on to form Motorhead.
Throughout the 70s, Hawkwind released a series of classic albums including: In Search of Space, Doremi Fasol Latido, Space Ritual, Hall of the Mountain Grill, Warrior On The Edge Of Time, Astounding Sounds (Amazing Music), Quark Strangeness & Charm and PXR 5.
In 1979, Dave Brock together with Huw Lloyd-Langton on lead guitar, Simon King on drums, Harvey Bainbridge on bass and former Gong keyboard player Tim Blake, recorded the album LIVE 79 which went straight into the top ten UK album chart. In 1980, Ginger Baker replaced Simon King on drums recording the classic, LEVITATION album. Showing its predecessor’s chart placing was no fluke this also went top 10.
Between 1979 to 1985 the band’s singles and albums were never out of the national, independent and heavy metal charts, long players included Live 79, Levitation, Sonic Attack, Choose Your Masques, Church of Hawkwind, Chronicle of The Black Sword, Live Chronicles and Xenon Codex.
1986 saw the band headline the Reading Rock Festival, with former member Lemmy turning up to make a guest appearance. Around this period, the band also began reaching out to a whole new audience of both fans and musicians, who in turn would embrace much of the Hawkwind sound and ethos whilst at the same time adding their own twist. This would see the start of whole dance movement and rave culture towards the end of the decade. Acts such as The Orb, Future Sound of London and later The Chemical Brothers and Leftfield openly acknowledging Hawkwind s influence.