By the end of 1971, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister (previously in Sam Gopal), drummer Simon King (previously in Opal Butterfly) and poet Robert Calvert had been thoroughly integrated into the Hawkwind fold. The summer of 1972 saw a surprise hit single for the band: "Silver Machine" b/w "Seven by Seven" rode the UK charts all the way to No. 3, providing the band with bona fide success. The song, sung by Lemmy, was culled from the Greasy Truckers' benefit concert at London's Roundhouse.
Again recording as A.R. & Machines, 1972 saw Achim Reichel release the ambitious double-album opus, Echo. He enlisted the services of Conny Plank as engineer and featured a host of guest musicians including Dicky Tarrach, Hans Lampe, Jochen Petersen and others. It’s an unprecedented set, a complete long-form take of the A.R. & Machines’ trip, and easily one of the most stunning albums of the “krautrock” era.
In late 1971, Can released a single “Spoon” b/w “Shikako Maru Ten.” By the new year, it had risen to No. 6 in the West German charts. Completely infectious, Jaki Liebezeit’s drumming is enhanced by a drum machine; but it’s the relative “tune” that makes the song a hit. Of course, being the theme song for the TV show Das Messer (“The Knife”) helped too! The success afforded the band the opportunity to purchase a cinema between Cologne and Bonn, which they turned into their Inner Space Studios. Can’s third studio album Ege Bamyasi saw release at the end of 1972.
Following the departure of Graham Field, Rare Bird, now signed to Polydor, shifted musical focus to a very guitar-centric sound. Steve Gould switched to guitar and Andy "Ced" Curtis was recruited as a second guitarist, while Fred Kelly joined on drums and Paul Karas added bass and additional lead vocals. The lead-off track, "Baby Listen," immediately reveals the difference: its funky groove, driving bass and dual-lead guitars are quite a change from their previous work. But change can be good, especially with songwriting of this caliber.
Ex-Yes guitarist Peter Banks was enlisted for a (very) short stint in Blodwyn Pig before forming Flash. True to their name, Flash appeared quickly, released three albums for Capitol Records and vanished. Banks recruited vocalist Colin Carter, bassist Ray Bennett and drummer Mike Hough, with ex-Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye filling in on their debut.