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The Saga of Hawkwind

The Saga of Hawkwind [Kindle Edition]

Carol Clerk
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Description


This bitter and entertaining study of hippy ideals versus the grubby, hard cash reality of keeping a band going will not disappoint.' --Mojo

Product Description

Hawkwind emerged in 1969 from Ladbroke Grove, the heartland of London’s counterculture, to become a ‘people’s band’ supported by bikers and hippies alike as they staged free gigs, benefits and protests and welcomed the involvement of any number of creative people – writers, poets, dancers – from within their community.

They insisted upon all these things even with the Top Three success of 1972’s enduring anthem Silver Machine and the pioneering Space Ritual projects.

They have had more line-up changes than their only remaining founder member Dave Brock, can remember. Motorhead’s Lemmy and legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker were just two of the musicians sacrificed along the way as the band went head to head with the police, customs, the taxman – and each other.

With the memories of many of those who were there, this is the story of an extraordinary 35-year career, the music and the band, whose fans still loyally turn out for conventions and are rewarded with ‘private festivals’, set against a background of sex, drugs, madness, writs, rage and revenge.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3132 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (4 Nov 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VL1CBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,383 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Hawkwind Book To Date 16 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This huge volume outstrips Kris Tait's 1983 volume and the more recent title publihsed by SAF. While both of those are essential, this book gets into the characters behind Hawkwind and is essential reading both for fans of the band and anyone who loves music biography - I've read hundreds of rock and roll books and this is one of the best.
While each reader will find their own heroes and villains here - it will make you seethe with indignation in places as the tale unfolds - ultimately this is a great story of the variable nature of personalities, just as you'd expect in a band as long-lived as the Hawks.
One or two gripes though: niether Carol Clerk nor Ian Abrams seem that into the music -both of them fail to note Nik Turner's contribution to 'Choose Your Masques' (there is sax at the end of 'Void City' both of you, but there is no flute on the album -i recall there is some on live versions of tracks from that LP on a bootleg or something similar )and both fail to address the content of he bands lyrics and music in any depth. Finally, there is a reference to 'Free Fall' (referred to by the interviewee as 'falling' and Carol fails to correct or 'sic' this. This may seem like nit picking, but it's the kind of thing every serious fan will find irritating.
Despite these minor moans, this is an otherwise excellent book that belongs in every Hawkwind collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's Gonna Win the War? 12 July 2011
I first saw Hawkwind in 1970, playing at a dodgy provincial ballroom with the Pink Fairies. It was one of the best gigs I've ever seen - tho I doubt that the non-stop strobe barrage would be allowed now in these more "enlightened" times. I've seen them again at various times over the years, but I'm not a Hawkwind fanatic. Recently I had to research the free festival scene for something I was writing, & generally enjoyed listening to Hawkwind again for the first time in ages, so I thought I'd give this book a go.

This is a generally enjoyable, well-written book - but at 548 pages, it's not for the casual reader. It could certainly do with a quick-ref guide to all the characters involved - I was constantly having to thumb back to remember who various passing Hawks were. The book's strong on evoking the atmosphere of hippy London in the late 60s/early70s, & by the end proves the old saying, that if you hang in there long enough doing what you do, you'll eventually get popular again. Hawkwind coped with the punk upheaval a lot better than most of their musical contemporaries, & were later given recognition by many on the rave scene, who felt an affinity with the group's pulsing droning rhythms, extravagant lightshows, use of DJ & maybe even their unrelenting druggy vibe.

There are parts of the book that are pure Spinal Tap, such as the Hawkestra disaster (& subsequent court case), or just plain sad (the rancourous Bob Calvert "benefit" show). In the end, tho, the main thread of the book comes down to the many conflicts between Dave Brock & Nik Turner. Carol Clerk tries to be even-handed & allow both men their say, without overtly taking sides. At times it's hard going unless you're an expert on Hawkwind bootlegs or the ins & outs of various small & obscure record labels.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Saga indeed 27 Feb 2006
By Joolz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well, first of all, this is a Very Good Book. It is well written in a friendly style whereby the author lets the characters largely speak for themselves: much of the action comes from the mouths of band members and hangers-on, with the author unobtrusively piecing it all together with an easy flowing narrative. It's focus is not the music, but concentrates rather on the human aspects, the characters, inter-relationships and shifting undercurrents of the many people who have 'belonged' at one time or another. Inevitably, it deals with conflict, as it becomes clear very early on that a band which outwardly symbolised 'peace and love, man' was apparently rife with disharmony and acrimony.
Of course, all the key events in the band's history are here recounted, all the highs and lows, in detail, by the people who were there, though human memory is fallible as is proven time and again by differing opinions as to what actually happened on many occasions. And some of the anecdotes are priceless. Here, there is no holding back or hiding behind sweeping generalisations: indeed, they all seem to speak quite freely of their opinions of each other, and most of the juicy anecdotes and comments are quoted directly.
Two important threads emerge as you progress through the book: one is the dominance of 2 strong characters (Dave Brock and Nik Turner) and their opposing views on the purpose and direction of the band, differences which finally blew up into a bitter court case 4 years ago. It could be argued that the author 'sits on the fence' by not taking sides, but by giving both sides an even opportunity to air their views she enables the reader to make a far more balanced judgement.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short on the music 19 Sep 2006
By a23
Firstly the positives - this is a pretty readable book on a band who have had more members and gone thru more changes than most others over the last 36 or so years. Carol Clark has taken a strictly chronological approach which at least keeps you from getting too confused as to what happens when; if being a little pedestrian in style. There is a sense of balance, with (most) sides being allowed to state their case rather than the reader being force-fed the author's opinions - it seemed quite fair to me.

However - the book seems to give pretty equal weighting to each period of the band's existance. As most Hawkwind fans would probably reckon the period from 1970-75 as the "golden age" with the period 76-78 the next most important, I'd personally have liked rather more about these time periods than much of the latter era stuff where the emphasis is on relatively minor squabbles and financial gripes repeated over again. The other criticism I'd have is that there's little sense of enthusiasm about the music of Hawkwind that rises from these pages...scant snippets about classic tracks, little in the way of comment on many of the core Hawkwind albums and no "trainspottery" type info about the recordings etc. Maybe that's due to the author's gender of course...the human story may just matter more to the ladies..

Overall - I'd recommend the book as a seemingly balanced review of the band and thier history, but do ensure you play all their albums from the 70's over and over again whilst you're reading it...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars present
this book was a christmas present.i would strongly recommend it to any hawkwind fan as my husband loved it and said it was very interesting.
Published 3 months ago by janet wild
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Insight
This is a good historyof hawkwind, interesting dynamics between members of the band, gives the reader some insight into what went on in the background.
Published 4 months ago by ken jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
I really enjoyed this book and learnt so much about the band. Fascinating read and well written. I look forward a updated version in the future.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars super awesome book
if you are into hawkwind you will love this book. they are super awesome and so was carol clerk. she and the band tell the great saga of the everchanging lineups and hangups the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by tofushark
5.0 out of 5 stars good choice present
I bought this book for the mates Christmas present and was delighted to get the thumbs up from him as he's not easily pleased. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ian G. Mcneil
5.0 out of 5 stars Did it meet my expectations - YOU BET
Hats off to Carol - she has blown me away .Hippies ,peace ,love - well yeah there's some of that , the in-fighting bitching and legal actions ,interlaced with creativity ,longevity... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Plod
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read for Hawkheads
This is a fascinating read, charting the formation and continual evolution of the band until the time of writing, around 2004. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr L, Birmingham
4.0 out of 5 stars a book of two halves
I did enjoy this book greatly, but I don't know if others readers like me found that it is a book of two halves. Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2011 by David Cox
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read - but maybe a bit more about the music?
excellent book by the late mrs. clerk. there must have been an enormous amount of research gone into this project. the number of people and issues brought up are staggering. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by funkyman23
3.0 out of 5 stars short on music tall on personnel
it's a very exhaustive genealogical appraisal of the hawkwind personnel and their ups and downs within the first 35 yrs of their career. Read more
Published on 13 April 2008 by Mr. Dr. Cullen
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