Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music
Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music is the sixth studio album by the
British rock band Hawkwind, released in 1976. It reached No. 33 on the
UK album charts.
The title makes references to old science fiction magazines
(Astounding and Amazing Stories), the concept being that each piece of
music (and its title) would be interpreted as an individual science
fiction story. The record cover is a parody of the cover of these
magazines, while the inner sleeve carried small ads, with each band
member having their own product (e.g. Dr Brock's cure for piles, Paul
Rudolph's Manly Strapon, and Simon King's Pleasure Primer).
This album marked the start of a new era for Hawkwind, having left the
management of Douglas Smith for Tony Howard and changed record
United Artists Records
United Artists Records to Charisma Records. Musically,
the dirty heavy metal lead bass guitar playing of
Lemmy was replaced
by the cleaner, formally trained bass playing of Paul Rudolph. All
members of the band were now contributing to the writing and
arrangement of the music leading to more width in style, and the
recording and production is better defined than previous albums.
The greatest change is in the return of Robert Calvert, this time as a
permanent vocalist rather than the peripheral poet role he occupied on
Space Ritual. Not only did he bring crafted lyrics to the band, but he
was intent on turning live shows into a piece of music theatre with
specific characters for him to act out, Calvert explaining in a 1976
interview that "We're writing numbers now with visual ideas in mind,
rather than trying to think of things to impose on numbers we've
already got. We're trying to get the visual side of the band focussed
on individuals rather than on screen projections. Nik, Dave and myself
are, in some parts of the show, playing the parts of actors... All in
all, it works up to quite a nice piece of theatre, spontaneous theatre
2 Critical reception
3 Track listing
3.1 Side 1
3.2 Side 2
3.3 Griffin CD bonus tracks
3.4 Atomhenge CD bonus tracks
6 Release history
8 External links
See also: Kerb Crawler
"Reefer Madness" lyrics are inspired by the 1936 anti-marijuana
propaganda film Reefer Madness. It was performed during the tour of
the album, appearing on the live album Atomhenge 76, and remained in
the set until the formation of the
Hawklords in 1978. The song was
added to the setlist in 1990/1 to be performed by Bridget Wishart, a
version appearing on the live album California Brainstorm.
Calvert had written the lyrics to "Steppenwolf" when Adrian Wagner,
for his album Distances Between Us, "wanted a song about living in
cities and I was re-reading Hesse's Steppenwolf at the time. It seemed
to me that there was a strong myth in it about city life and it gave
me the basic idea." It was performed during the tour of the album,
appearing on the live album Atomhenge 76, and remained in the band's
set until Calvert left in 1978, versions included on Weird Tape 4 and
5. The song has occasionally been re-instated into the live set,
between 1982 and 1984 it was performed by Turner, in 1996 by Ron Tree,
in 2003 by Arthur Brown and in 2017 by
Mr Dibs during the Into The
"City of Lagoons" is a Powell composed instrumental, although
erroneously credited to House on the album's release.
"The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon" is an instrumental, its title
references Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band's 1967 hit single
"The Eggplant That Ate Chicago".
"Kerb Crawler" was released as a single backed by "Honky Dorky" which
is the band jamming on "Reefer Madness". There are reportedly two
versions of the A-side, the original and a re-mix by Pink Floyd's
David Gilmour – it is the latter that appeared on the album.
"Kadu Flyer" lyrics were written by Turner, who credited them to Jamie
Mandelkau for legal reasons (Turner was still under contract either to
United Artists or Douglas Smith). Calvert is also given a writers
credit on some releases. Kadu is an abbreviation of Kathmandu.
"Chronoglide Skyway" is a House composed instrumental, although
erroneously credited to Powell on the album's release. It was
performed during the tour of the album, appearing on the live album
Dick Tracy in the
NME (6 November 1976) reviewed the album as
Hawkwind are back on form... their music has acquired about fifteen
new levels since the old churn-churn days". He highlights "Reefer
Madness" as the "stand-out" track and notes that "
Simon House has
injected a big shot of tuneful keyboarding into the mix".
"Reefer Madness" (Calvert, Brock) – 6:03
"Steppenwolf" (Calvert, Brock) – 9:46
"City of Lagoons" (Powell) – 5:09
"The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon" (Rudolph) – 3:37
"Kerb Crawler" (Calvert, Brock) – 3:45
"Kadu Flyer" (Turner, House) – 5:07
"Chronoglide Skyway" (House) – 5:04
Griffin CD bonus tracks
"Honky Dorky" (Hawkwind) – 3:16
"Back on the Streets" (Calvert, Rudolph) – 2:56
"Dream of Isis" (Brock, House, King) – 2:52
Atomhenge CD bonus tracks
"Honky Dorky" (Hawkwind) – 3:18
"Kerb Crawler" [single mix] (Calvert, Brock) – 3:45
"Back on the Streets" [alternate mix] (Calvert, Rudolph) – 3:07
"Dream of Isis" [alternate mix] (Brock, House, King) – 2:57
Robert Calvert – vocals
Dave Brock – electric guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Nik Turner – saxophone, flute, vocals (on "Kadu Flyer")
Paul Rudolph – bass guitar, electric guitar
Simon House – violin, keyboards, sitar (on "Kadu Flyer")
Simon King – drums
Alan Powell – drums
Recorded at Roundhouse Studios, February 1976 to March 1976.
Produced by Hawkwind, recorded by Mark Dearnley.
"Kerb Crawler" remixed by
David Gilmour (as Dave Gilmour).
Cover by Tony Hyde and Barney Bubbles.
August 1976: Charisma, CDS4004, UK vinyl – some copies were printed
with the front and back cover reversed. Original copies contained an
August 1976: Charisma, 9211-4004, Canada - disc label says "Amazing
Music, Astounding Sounds"
March 1983: Charisma, CHC14, UK vinyl
April 1989: Virgin, CDSCD 4004, UK CD
August 1995: Griffin Music, GCD483-2, USA CD; GCD345-0, USA CD with
the Michael Butterwoth The Time of the
2005: Sunrise Records, LC12774, USA CD
January 2009: Atomhenge (Cherry Red) Records, ATOMCD1005, UK CD
Hawkwind - Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music". Allmusic. Retrieved
24 December 2014.
^ In a 1981 issue of Kerrang!,
Dave Brock stated, "I used to mix all
our albums when I was tripping, right up until the Astounding Sounds
album. Some of those mixes turned out to be really strange,
embarrassing some of them."
^ Sounds, 2 October 1976, Geoff Barton
^ Beat Instrumental, November 1976
^ NME, 6 November 1976, Dick Tracy
Discogs.com Discography details
Collectable Records – Original cover and inner sleeve
Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister
Danny Thompson Jr.
In Search of Space
Doremi Fasol Latido
Hall of the Mountain Grill
Warrior on the Edge of Time
Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music
Quark, Strangeness and Charm
25 Years On
25 Years On (as Hawklords)
Church of Hawkwind
Choose Your Masques
The Chronicle of the Black Sword
The Xenon Codex
It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous
In Your Area
Take Me to Your Leader
Take Me to Your Future
Blood of the Earth
Stellar Variations (as
Hawkwind Light Orchestra)
The Machine Stops
Into The Woods
Live Seventy Nine
This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic
The Business Trip
Love in Space
Canterbury Fayre 2001
Spaced Out in London
Knights of Space
Space Ritual Live
At The Roundhouse
The Weird Tapes
Hawkwind, Friends and Relations
The Text of Festival
Bring Me the Head of Yuri Gagarin
Space Ritual Volume 2
Out & Intake
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
The Friday Rock Show Sessions
Undisclosed Files Addendum
The 1999 Party
Choose Your Masques: Collectors Series Volume 2
Complete '79: Collectors Series Volume 1
Masters of the Universe
Angels of Death
Spirit of the Age
Stasis (The UA Years 1971 – 1975)
Tales from Atom Henge
Future Reconstructions – Ritual of the Solstice
Masters of Rock
Spirit of the Age Anthology
The Dream Goes On
"Hurry On Sundown"
"Kings of Speed"
"Back on the Streets"
"Quark, Strangeness and Charm"
"Shot Down in the Night"
"Who's Gonna Win the War?"
"Angels of Death"
The Earth Ritual Preview
The Earth Ritual Preview EP
Decide Your Future EP
Quark, Strangeness and Charm
Quark, Strangeness and Charm EP
Area S4 EP
"Love In Space"
"Spirit of the Age"
Sonic Attack (with Brian Blessed)
A Solitary Man