Certainly the best-known Hawkwind recording of all, it was "Silver Machine" that drew the band out of the London underground of the early 1970s and thrust them into the mass-media spotlight, climbing to #2 on the UK chart and single-handedly underwriting the expense of their forthcoming Space Ritual tour.
The hit performance was recorded live at the London Roundhouse in February 1972, for inclusion on the live triple album Glastonbury Revelation. This original tape, however, has very little in common with the hit version, not only being edited down from its original sprawling length, but also undergoing such a thorough remix that it's almost impossible to draw any sonic parallels whatsoever between the two - all the more so after Lemmy dubbed a new lead vocal onto the track. Nevertheless, any accusations of trickery were swiftly dispelled by the single's success, and "Silver Machine" has remained a vital part of Hawkwind's repertoire ever since. Live versions abound throughout their catalog, with highlights including a 2002 performance featuring vocals from Arthur Brown, and a humorously self-deprecating version coined by Nik Turner, that transforms the silver machine into a "Washing Machine". The band also returned to the song in the studio in 1982, marking its tenth anniversary with a remix/recording that itself returned them to the chart for the first time in almost as long.