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Pembrokeshire legend Nik Turner Hawkwind Saxophonist, Dies Aged 82

NIK TURNER, the saxophonist, flautist, vocalist, and founding member of the psychedelic rock band Hawkwind, has died at the age of 82, surrounded by his beloved family.

Turner was one of the earliest members of the group, and famously soared to the top of the UK charts with the seminal single ‘Silver Machine. He quickly established himself as an essential part of the group’s sound, adding immersive layers of saxophone and flute to their improvised jams. Turner left Hawkwind in 1976 to pursue a solo career, making music on his own and with other groups, including Nik Turner’s Sphynx and Inner City Unit, before rejoining Hawkwind for occasional appearances over the next three decades.

He was a man of the people who lived and breathed music. He was instrumental in moulding and cultivating the modern free party and festival scene, including Stonehenge and Glastonbury Festival, where he onboarded Joe Rush and the Mutiod Waste Company art collective. He was recognised for his contribution along side Andrew Kerr at the ‘Spirit of ‘71” at Glastonbury.

He toured the world including travelling to Egypt where he played on the top of the Great Pyramid at Giza and recorded inside the Pyramid with his flute and captured the unique reverb of the historic space.

More importantly, Nik was a pivotal member of the UK Counter Culture through the ’60s into the ’90s. He heavily influenced so many genres, including rock, punk, psychedelic jazz and so many musicians and artists, including Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Pete Doherty, Ozzy Osbourne, and countless more.

He was friend and collaborator with UK Sci-Fi Legend Michael Moorcock, Graphic Design genius Barney Bubbles, Robert Calvert and cartoon artist Brett Ewins (2000AD). His Pyramid stage was the centrepiece of the Stonehenge Festivals and was the inspiration for the iconic Glastonbury Festival stage today.

He was name checked by Jimi Hendrix at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival and played a solo sax eulogy at, fellow Hawkwind Member and Motörhead founder, Lemmy’s funeral.

A versatile musician and an improviser who’s playing often reflected jazz and blues influences, Turner appeared on Hawkwind’s first seven albums, including “Hawkwind” (1970), “Doremi Fasol Latido” (1972) and “In Search of Space” (1971).

His influence spanned decades as he continued to play live up until the last few years. He continued to record into his 80’s including his most personal work on the album “Do What I Like”, and projects with Youth and Steve Hillman.
Turner’s death marks the end of an era for one of the most innovative and influential bands in rock history. Nik Turner will be remembered as a true pioneer whose contributions helped to shape the sound of Hawkwind and countless other artists who followed in their wake.

A statement on Turner’s website reads “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Nik Turner – The Mighty 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.”