Hawkwind

Any sci-fi fan with a long memory probably remembers those 1970s' DAW paperback editions of Michael Moorcock's sword-and-sorcery novels, with their images of heavily armored, very muscular warriors carrying large swords and standing against eerie landscapes and starscapes. Take that imagery, throw in some names and terminology seemingly lifted from the Marvel Comics of the era (and particle physics articles of the period), and translate it into loud but articulate hard rock music. That's more or less what Hawkwind are about. One of England's longest-lasting hard rock bands, Hawkwind were formed during the late '60s, just as art rock was coming into its own. They combined bold guitar, synthesizer, and Mellotron sounds, creating music that crossed paths with Chuck Berry and the Moody Blues without sounding like either of them. At their best, Hawkwind's early records sounded like the Beatles of "Yer Blues" combined with the Cream of "I Feel Free." The introduction of lyrics steeped in science fiction and drug effects on their second album helped define Hawkwind and separate them from the competition -- in some ways they were like Pink Floyd with more of a rock & roll beat and a vengeance. They've never charted a record anywhere near the same heights as the Floyd, but it's a sign of the dedication of the fans they do have that the group has dozens of albums available, including archival releases of decades-old live shows and multiple compilations, and they're the pioneers of what fans have come to call "Space Rock."