Hawkwind – Silver Machine

I’ve always liked Lemmy Kilmister. He was a good bass player and very aggressive on vocals. He also gave some of the best interviews I’ve ever heard. He is best known for forming Motörhead in 1975. He joined Hawkwind in 1971.

He also was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and went frequently to see the Beatles at the Cavern Club before they hit.

Hawkwind was a UK psychedelic heavy metal band…that often sang about science fiction. They were also called a Space Rock Band. They formed in London in 1969 as Group X. They changed their name shortly to Hawkwind Zoo and then Hawkwind. Although this was their only hit, their space-age rock albums sold consistently well throughout the ’70s.

This was by far the biggest hit for Hawkwind, peaking at #3 in the UK and getting played on the TV show Top Of The Pops. Hearing Hawkwind on BBC radio was very strange for many of their fans, as the group was far off-center and notoriously anti-establishment.

Kilmister is singing lead on this track. Lemmy wasn’t the group’s main singer…that was Bob Calvert. Calvert’s attempts to record the vocal didn’t quite make it, so Lemmy did the singing on this one.

A version of the band is still together with Dave Brock as the only original member.

 

From Songfacts

Hawkwind guitarist Dave Brock wrote the music to this track, and their frontman Bob Calvert composed the lyric. According to Mojo magazine September 2011, Calvert’s lyric was inspired by an Alfred Jarry short story called How To Construct A Time Machine. However, rather than writing about a “cosmic space travel machine” he made it about his new silver racing bike.

“Lemmy had a high voice but it was just very much more powerful, he had a gruffness with it, so we decided to use his vocal,” their manager Doug Smith explained. Calvert, who was hospitalized at the time for manic depression, didn’t find out that his vocal had been replaced until later. When he did, he was not pleased.

Released as a single, the song was recorded live from the Roundtree in London on February 13, 1972. The live performance had vocals by Bob Calvert, but they were replaced by Lemmy’s when the song was mixed and overdubbed at Morgan Studios.

When this song took off, the British music magazine NME put Lemmy on the cover with no sign of his bandmates. This gave the impression that he was the frontman and leader of the band, when really he rarely sang lead and had just joined the outfit.

A self-described “space rock” band from North Carolina named themselves Silver Machine after this song.

 

Silver Machine

I, I just took a ride in a silver machine
And I’m still feeling mean

Do you want to ride
See yourself going by
The other side of the sky
I’ve got a silver machine

It flies
Sideways through time
It’s an electric line
To your zodiac sign

I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine

It flies out of a dream
It’s antiseptically clean
You’re gonna know where I’ve been

Do you want to ride
See yourself going by
The other side of the sky
I’ve got a silver machine

I said I just took a ride
In a silver machine
And I’m still feeling mean
It flies
Sideways through time
It’s an electric line
To your zodiac sign

I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “Hawkwind – Silver Machine”

  1. I bought my first Hawkwind album a few months back, their debut from 1970. Lemmy wasn’t with them on that one, and I didn’t even know he was in the band at all until I watched a documentary on the Rainbow in L.A. recently which features him. I recommend this if you haven’t seen it:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I don’t know much about them..
      .I’m off til Tuesday so I’ll check this out on Amazon.
      I’ve read about the Rainbow in different Rock bios but just in passing… so this will be cool.

      Like

      1. I’m reading a book right now called 1973 and it talked about her. Interesting band…a science fiction rock band.

        Like

    1. I love to hear interviews with him. He was a huge Beatles fan. Some of Motörhead’s music is a little harder than I normally like…but a few like Ace of Spades I really like.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The first part of the song reminds me of a song in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I like the sound of Lemmy’s voice. He has (had) quite a cult following. Not sure if it is still going since his passing. I have the doc, Lemmy. Saw it on some cable channel a few years back and liked it well enough to buy it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When they first started, Hawkwind were regarded as a second-rate Pink Floyd. I liked their first album (I still have the vinyl, though I mostly keep it for the album sleeve which is fairly spectacular) but didn’t buy any more of their stuff afterwards. I’ve never been a fan of Lemmy (too ‘rough’ for my liking), but actually hadn’t known he sang on this.

    Will reply to your email in a while. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw some of Lemmy’s interviews…he was an interesting guy. He talks about the Beatles and Stones and watching the Beatles in the Cavern…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YOU are right!!!! I watched it again. He does look like that.
        He is very funny in some interviews. Ok Val…I’m going to feature a song on an early Pink Floyd…before 72…what song would you suggest? See Emily Play?

        Like

    1. Yea I will need to listen to it! I’ve only heard a few songs but…I will be doing more albums. I’ve heard great things about it.

      One of my blogger friends is doing an “album draft” and we pick our desert island albums. I usually don’t join in on things at all but he is the first blogger I knew and it will be fun.
      .
      My pick was #4 so I’m going with the White Album…this goes on for 10 weeks…so I will add 10 albums to my reviews. The only album I’ve ever reviewed is Bruce Springsteen’s debut.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some of Piper at the gates is great, some not so much! I had it when it first came out. One day I’ll write about a party I played it at (probably in my Sandie blog). Yeah, I saw what you wrote in your email (that I still need to answer!) about the album challenge. I’ll look forward to seeing that!

        Liked by 1 person

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