6. The Stranglers – Black And White

See, there’s a theme runing through this top ten! Bass driven, heavy dark music, dystopian visions, and this is another one that hits all those buttons, and nothing else sounded like this at the time, in my opinion, their finest album of this era. Brutal in places but so so different and leading to their more experimental stuff like Meninblack. Gutted I missed their recent tour of this album, all my favourite bands seem to tour at the same time as us, so I rarely get to see them these days.

7. David Bowie – Stage

So, Bowie again!  yeah everybody loved him man. The Starman from TOTP , and Space Oddity, the perfect soundtrack to the shiny eyed dreams of space on the tv, shiny glittery other wordly music and personality. This album is the live transition from the Ziggy persona into the darker Station to Station, by then I’d discovered Hawkwind so the influence had come full circle with Simon House’s appearance on this album. All the great Ziggy era songs are here, but it’s the tracks like Station to Station that really grabbed me, and the Low era instrumentals proved that Bowie wasn’t just all glitter and glam.

8. Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures

From the opening bars of Disorder, you know that this is something different and powerful. Ian’s voice and Hooky’s bass, raw, harmonic darkness, a perfect reflection of the north west in the late 70’s, and the darkness and angst of a teenage grammar schoolboy. Tony Wilson was the man responsible for getting them on the telly, and that performance has always been a definitive moment.
I saw them supporting Buzzcocks at Manchester Apollo, and was just blown away, stunned.. I didn’t stay for Buzzcockss set, how could they follow that?. Got quite emotional a few years ago when Hooky and the light revisited the whole album at Buxton Opera house. Met him afterwards and of course, he’s a massive Hawkwind fan so the spiral of influence comes around again!!

9. Crass- Feeding of the 5000

Ha ha, an angry album this is! but you were angry when kept seeing what the government/Thatcher and her ilk were doing to our industries and people’s lives, and the police brutality…funnily enough listening to this again, it’s bass driven rock’’n’roll, albeit spiky and difficult at times, but more than anyone else, it was Crass that made you think you could be in a band and make some noise and have a voice.

10. Tubeway Army- Tubeway Army

Psy-punk isn’t it? Haha, but I love psychedelia and this was like punk and psych had collided in a synth factory..Didn’t know the Hawkwind influence at first but as soon as I’d properly discovered Hawkwind, I realised that all the bands I was listening to had been influenced by Hawkwind in some way, or certainly the same books and scifi..Actually, the riff for Shadow In Vain is pretty much the same as an early version of Circles by Hawkwind.

11. Motorhead- Motorhead (chiswick) original

Raw, gritty rock’n’roll, loved by metalheads and punks alike, but this one has a different sound to the “classic” early Motorhead. It still had a feel of Hawkwind about it, probably due to the three old hawk songs and Lemmy’s voice, but it was pure dirty rock’n’roll and the template for much of what was to come. Lemmy was the archetypal rock star, humble with it but walked and talked the walk as they say. One of a kind, we’ll never see another Lemmy, no matter how hard some people try.

12. Evil Blizzard- The Dangers of Evil Blizzard

I can’t leave out the boys from darkest Preston when we’re talking about bass driven darkness can we? I was told about this lot by a friend of theirs. Four bass players and a singing drummer that sounded like the bastard child of Hawkwind, Sabbath and the Fall, what’s not to like? And Whalebomb! Ten minutes of the finest motorik drum and bass ever. Me and my lass sam have become firm friends with this lot, and I can safely say we’ve been a bad influence on each other for a number of years now, and long may it continue! To complete “the circle of influence” once more, I’ve made a little appearance on their new album due soon, not on bass, but electric cello (and aeroplane noises, thanks for that mr, mcnamara)

13. Rage Against The Machine- 1st album

Well, I remember distinctly where I first heard this album. It was a house in Reddish Vale, a few of us gathered for a social, and a mate, Dimitri came bursting in, took off what was playing on the deck and told us we must listen to this!! The sleeve was just has a burning monk on the cover and the music was fresh, (even with the obvious hip hop crossover), and heavy.
The whole room went silent for the whole of side one and while Dimitri turned it over to side two. Heavy bass driven hard rock (again haha) and so in tune with our politics and the zeitgeist.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Nice article and you’re right John. The current Hawkwind line-up is the best since (perhaps including) the Space Ritual. Nice to see Dibs’ album favourites.

  2. Great choices from a true Hawk! I tried to do the same recently and managed to get down to 16 albums before having to get brutal for the final ten! Some crossover with Dibs’ selections (Joy Division, Bowie, Crass), also had Wire (Chairs Missing), Pink Floyd (Piper At The Gates Of Dawn), Clock DVA (Thirst), Roxy Music (Roxy Music), Boards Of Canada (Music Has The Right To Children), Nuggets (informed my young mind about all things psych and garagey!), Live At The Roxy (great live tracks from Wire, Buzzcocks, X Ray Spex to name a few) and Warrior On The Edge Of Time! Would love to know what your ten would look like John!

  3. Excellent choices from that man. He brings the same freshness and enthusiasm to lists that he does when with the band.


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