Hawkwind’s Nik Turner Dead At 82
Nik Turner, the English multi-instrumentalist best known as a member of space-rock pioneers Hawkwind, has died. Turner’s Facebook page announced the news today: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Nik Turner – The Might Thunder Rider, who passed away peacefully at home on Thursday evening. He has moved onto the next phase of his Cosmic Journey, guided by the love of his family, friends and fans. Watch this space for his arrangements.” Turner was 82.
Born in Oxford in 1940, Turner moved to the seaside town of Margate as a teenager. After a brief stint in the Merchant Navy, he took jobs around Europe, including with a traveling circus. In Berlin, he developed an interest in free jazz, which inspired him to pick back up the clarinet and saxophone in the hopes of applying the genre’s ethos to rock ‘n’ roll. In 1969, he initially offered to be a roadie for the newly formed Hawkwind, but they soon invited him to join the band. He became an integral part of the lineup, recruiting members and co-writing songs such as “Brainstorm” and “Master Of The Universe,” before getting kicked out in 1976 for routinely playing over his bandmates. He briefly rejoined Hawkwind from 1982-1984.
Over the years Turner launched new projects including Sphynx (he often dressed up in Ancient Egyptian costumes onstage), Inner City Unit, Nik Turner’s Fantastic All Stars, and Space Ritual, the band that continued until his death. He also teamed with Sting and others on the single “Nuclear Waste” and teamed with artists including the Stranglers, Psychic TV, and Sham 69 among many others. Below, check out some of Turner’s music.