The Chronicle of the Black Sword

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The Chronicle of the Black Sword
The Chronicle of the Black Sword - Hawkwind.jpg
Studio album by Hawkwind
Released 11 November 1985
Recorded August-September 1985
Studio Rockfield Studios
Genre Space rock
Length 37:12
Label Flicknife Records, Griffin Music
Producer Hawkwind
Hawkwind chronology
This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic
(1984)This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic1984
The Chronicle of the Black Sword
Live Chronicles
(1986)Live Chronicles1986
Alternative cover
Griffin release, North America 1994
Griffin release, North America 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]

The Chronicle of the Black Sword is the fourteenth studio album by the English space rock group Hawkwind, released in 1985. It spent two weeks on the UK albums chart peaking at #65.[2] The album is based upon the adventures of Elric of Melniboné, a recurring character in the novels of science fiction author Michael Moorcock, a long-standing associate of the group, who contributes lyrics to one track on the album.

After two years of constant line-up changes, guitarist Dave Brock (the only member who has remained since the band's formation) settled on a line-up of himself, guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, keyboardist Harvey Bainbridge, bassist Alan Davey, and drummer Danny Thompson (son of Pentangle's bassist Danny Thompson).

Though the album is largely inspired by Elric, "Needle Gun" is a reference to Jerry Cornelius, another of Moorcock's fictional characters. In keeping with the album's title, the track's inclusion refers to the wider Multiverse created by Moorcock, in which the characters Elric of Melniboné and Jerry Cornelius are both incarnations of The Eternal Champion, and the Needle Gun is the form in which the Black Sword manifests itself to Cornelius. The lyrics for "Needle Gun" were ghostwritten by Roger Neville-Neil.[3]

Prior to the recording of the album, the group appeared on Channel 4's ECT on 26 April and recorded a session for BBC Radio 1 on 19 July. They headlined an anti-heroin festival at Crystal Palace on 24 August, with a guest appearance from Lemmy.

The group undertook a 29 date UK tour in November and December to promote the album, with support from Dumpy's Rusty Nuts.[4] The Hammersmith Odeon shows on 3 and 4 December were filmed and recorded, released as the video The Chronicle of the Black Sword and album Live Chronicles, and featured a guest appearance from Moorcock.

It has been issued on CD multiple times, each with differing bonus tracks. The latest issue in 2009 includes 1984's The Earth Ritual Preview EP.

Track listing[edit]

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Song of the Swords" (Dave Brock) – 3:25
  2. "Shade Gate" (Harvey Bainbridge) – 3:01
  3. "The Sea King" (Huw Lloyd-Langton) – 3:23
  4. "The Pulsing Cavern" (Bainbridge, Alan Davey) – 2:33
  5. "Elric the Enchanter" (Davey) – 4:51

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Needle Gun" (Brock) – 4:13
  2. "Zarozinia" (Brock, Kris Tait) – 3:21
  3. "The Demise" (Bainbridge, Brock) – 1:02
  4. "Sleep of a Thousand Tears" (Brock, Michael Moorcock) – 4:09
  5. "Chaos Army" (Bainbridge, Brock) – 0:53
  6. "Horn of Destiny" (Brock) – 6:21

Flicknife CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Arioch" (Davey) – 3:26
  2. "Assault and Battery" [live] (Brock)
  3. "Sleep of a Thousand Tears" [live] (Moorcock, Brock)

Dojo and Griffin CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "The War I Survived" [live] (Brock, Davey, Neville-Neil) 4:00
  2. "Voice Inside Your Head" [live] (Bainbridge, Brock) 4:57

Atomhenge CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Arioch" (Davey)
  2. "Night of the Hawks" (Brock)
  3. "Green Finned Demon" (Robert Calvert, Brock)
  4. "Dream Dancers" (Bainbridge, Brock)
  5. "Dragons and Fables" (Lloyd-Langton)



Release history[edit]

  • November 1985: Flicknife Records, SHARP033, UK vinyl, first 10000 with inner sleeve including typed lyrics
  • 1986: Flicknife Records, SHARP033D, UK CD
  • August 1992: Dojo, DOJOCD72, UK CD
  • May 1994: Griffin Music, GCDHA 0142-2, USA CD
  • 29 June 2009: Atomhenge (Cherry Red) Records, ATOMCD1012, UK CD

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ "Hawkwind". Official Charts. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Abrahams, Ian (2004). Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins. SAF publishing. ISBN 0-946719-69-1. 
  4. ^ Youles, Steve. "Gig and Set Lists 1985". Starfarer's hawkwind Page. self-published. Retrieved 20 August 2009.