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hawkwind - urban guerilla


Robert Calvert wrote and sang the lyrics, this being Hawkwind's only studio recording with a Calvert vocal prior to his rejoining the band as a permanent frontman and vocalist in 1976.

At the time of the single's release, the IRA had instigated a bombing campaign in London and the BBC refused to play the single. After deliberation and the brief notion of promoting the b-side instead ("Brainbox Pollution", which dealt with the effects of drug misuse), the band's management opted to withdraw the single stating that "Although the record was selling very well, we didn't want to feel that any sales might be gained by association with recent events - even though the song was written by Bob Calvert two years ago as a satirical comment, and was recorded three months ago."[1] Dave Brock has subsequently stated that "It was stupid to withdraw it, they were paranoid they'd get bombed. I thought that record was what everything was about in the 1970s."[2]

Calvert originally claimed the lyrics were a satire, but later claimed that "it didn't surprise me that it was banned by the BBC at all, in fact, I expected it to cause a lot of controversy".[3] Lemmy explains that "We once did a benefit gig for the Stoke Newington 8. They were anarchists of some sort (The Angry Brigade) - making bombs in your basement and all that. Urban Guerrilla was about that. That's what Calvert was like."[4]

It had been reported at the time that Nik Turner's flat in Gloucester Road had been raided and searched by the bomb squad,[5][6] but a 1998 interview with Turner suggests that this activity was more to do with visiting Hells Angels wanted in connection with manslaughter.[7]


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