Hawkwind musician and former Thanet resident Nik Turner has died aged 82

Musician Nik Turner has died (Photo Nik Turner facebook page).

By Dan Thompson

Musician Nik Turner, who had the idea to form the band Hawkwind while he was living in Margate, has died aged 82.

Turner was born in 1940, and his family moved to Margate 13 years later.

Turner had the idea for the band that would become Hawkwind while working at Dreamland with Robert Calvert, a member of a local Mod band Oliver Twist and the Lower Third.

Turner, a former Chatham House student, trained in engineering at the University of Kent, and left Margate for one voyage with the  Merchant Navy. He then travelled around Europe picking up menial jobs, and while with a travelling music circus in 1967, he became friends with Dave Brock.

Hawkwind finally came together in 1969.

Dave Brock, Mick Slattery and bassist John Harrison were joined by drummer Terry Ollis, Nik Turner on saxophone, and Michael “Dik Mik” Davies. Calvert joined them some three years later.

Hawkwind mixed hard psychedelic rock with science fiction themes. They had considerable success on the emerging festival circuit, and a hit single Silver Machine in 1972. Turner was asked to leave the band in 1976, but rejoined from 1982 to 1984.

He formed the band Sphynx after recording hours of flute music inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, and then the band Inner City Unit. In 1987, he founded Nik Turner’s Fantastic All Stars, a saxophone and Hammond organ driven jazz and rhythm and blues band. He also guested with the Stranglers, Psychic TV, Sham 69 and others.

In 2001, he formed Hawkestra for a gig in London, and then toured as xhawkwind.com. Other musicians using the Hawkwind name at the time took legal action to prohibit Turner from trading under the name Hawkwind, a case which Turner lost.

He continued to play, guesting with many bands, including Dark Sun and Space Mirrors, and with his own band Space Ritual.

In recent years, Turner could also be found busking in Cardiff city centre. He died at his home on 10th November.


  1. Sad news today about the passing of Nik Turner who was well known during the 70’s in Margate due to his Hawkwind connection
    I met him once in Funhouse Records in 1978 when they had their original shop at the top of Margate High Street which always smelt of joss sticks ( I wonder why ? Lol )
    Nik Turner I remember was very laidback ( Lol) and kindly signed his autograph for me a brown paper bag as it was the first thing to hand and signed it “ Stay High ! Nik Turner “..
    That amused me then. as it does now and I still have it to this day .
    I also met Bob Calvert in 1972 when I was visiting a friend in hospital and remember him saying that he had just composed a new song called Silver Machine for the band ( Hawkwind) later that summer it made number 3 in the UK charts .
    And the rest is history ……

  2. I remember several band members used to live in a big old house in westgate. They used to play pool in the back bar of the Nottingham castle. Very colourful crowd

  3. I believe I saw him at a free festival in the early 80s.
    After Hendrix died, Hawkwind was where the power was coming from.
    Lemmy had to sing silvermachine because no one else could reach the high notes, and he had only joined them a couple of months before.
    I remember listening to the space ritual album with mate’s.
    A friend saw them live in the early 70s and was never the same.
    I never comment on social media or owt, but I felt I had to.
    They played outside Glastonbury when the festival started to make people pay to get in. Fantastic group and person.

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