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