In the late 60s, psychedelic music had emerged from the acid-soaked consciousness of the hippie music scene. Kids everywhere were tuning in and dropping out to the sounds of bands as diverse as Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd. But for some people, it just wasn’t…noodly enough. Oh sure, the music wandered around like it was going through munchies in a candy store, and ably delivered its message of peace, oneness, and badgers that vomited love on the wicked heart of the war machine, but then it just stopped. Wouldn’t it be better, these hippie malcontents mumbled incoherently, if the music kinda wandered around sounding like outer space? And so, the bastard child of Grace Slick and Michael Moorcock was born: space rock.
All kidding aside, there were some amazing bands out there doing some pretty intense work, which even today would stand up as solid musical output. Of course, this blog being what it is, I’m going to completely skip over that and move on to the guys in the rubber space man suits.
But first, for all you Motörhead fans out there, here is space rock pioneering band Hawkwind:
You can totally see the progression to ‘Ace of Spaces’, can’t you?
Lothar & the Hand People are one of the earliest of the bands that can be considered space rock. Their song ‘Machines’ is a weird little piece, like a man made of spoons and pans falling down an endless staircase while the singer, for one, welcomes his new mechanical overlords:
Ganymed was an Austrian band who apparently shopped at the Doctor Who costume rejects bin for their stage outfits. Here’s a fun little ditty called ‘The Music Drives Me Crazy':
So, have you ever thought, as I often have, “I like KISS, but sometimes I wish they were ALL Space Ace Frehley, except French, and playing synth rock”? Well brothers and sisters, have I got the answer for you. The next band in this cavalcade of madness is a band called Rocket. Here is their defining opus (insofar as it’s the first video of theirs that I found on YouTube), ‘Galactica’. Enjoy, if you
Towards the later end of the 70s and into the 80s, much like the nuclear blast-damaged humans devolved into horrific cannibalistic mutants in “The Hills Have Eyes”, the music stopped being quite so much ‘space rock’ as it was ‘space disco’. The mechanical synthesized and sequenced beats were perfect for the dance music of the damned, and far too many bands threw themselves into it whole-heartedly. You can tell who they are, I imagine, because you’re hearing their music for the first time right now. One exception to this is the renowned British singer Sarah Brightman, whose long career in music somehow managed to survive “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper”.
There are so many, many more I could show you. But I’d really like you to come back and read more things later. So I’ll just keep those links for another time. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip into the bizarre world of space rock and disco. If you didn’t…well…what the hell are you doing still reading? Masochistic weirdo.
Be seeing you.