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Black Blade, Heavy Metal - The Influence of Michael Moorcock

2008 has been a banner year for British science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock: the Times Online named him as one of the 50 greatest British writers after 1945, a list that includes such luminaries as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Ian Fleming, Iris Murdoch and Kingsley Amis. He was also named a Grand Master by SFWA, which is their highest honor.

Del Rey books just published a brand new omnibus titled Elric: The Stealer of Souls, collecting the stories of Moorcock’s two most famous creations, Elric the albino sorcerer and his demonic rune sword, Stormbringer.
Elric Stealer of Souls

Rumors of an Elric movie have been circulating for years, and if it ever makes it to the big screen it already has an incredible heavy metal soundtrack. In 1980 Moorcock directly collaborated with Blue Öyster Cult on “Black Blade,” writing the lyrics to this song from Cultösaurus Erectus. The psychedelic metal band Hawkwind crafted an entire concept album around Elric and the stories of Melniboné with The Chronicles of the Black Sword, and then again with Live Chronicles.

Hawkwind Live Chronicles

Other hard rock and heavy metal bands that have been inspired by Elric include: Deep Purple, Diamond Head, Domine, Cirith Ungol and the Tygers of Pan Tang.

Click here to see some of the fantasy-themed album covers from these bands.

Finally, please check out From the Mind of Manxom Vroom where I’m currently blogging about “The Art of Heavy Metal,” discussing the work of artists such as H.R. Giger, Ken Kelly, Derek Riggs, Simon Bisley, Michael Whelan and more.

Manxom Vroom is the internet alias of Jeffrey Valka, a writer who lives in the metro Detroit area. His own blog can be found at the following address: http://jvalka.blogspot.com/ . In addition to blogging, he also writes genre fiction..

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4 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Kerebus

    It’s possibly worth mentioning that Moorcock’s involvement with Hawkwind goes far deeper than the band writing and performing an (excellent) concept album based on the Elric story. Moorcock was very much a colloborator with the band including writing material for some of their earlier albums (Black Corridor, Sonic Attack) and performing spoken word pieces on stage with the band. His colloborations with the band continued throughout the 70s and 80s.

    For an earlier Hawkwind take on Elric and the Eternal Champion cycle 1975’s Warrior on The Edge of Time which was very much inspired by the books and had Moorcock providing the lyrics for 4 of the tracks and of those 4 actually performing the vocals on 2 of them.

    There’s an excellent summary of Moorcocks involvement with hawkwind here: http://www.novymir.com.au/terminalcafe/hawkwind.html

  2. @Kerebus, thanks for the additional information and link. From the name of the band I had always assumed some sort of connection, but I had no idea how extensive that connection actually was.

  3. Thanks for the link, Kerebus! Great info on the author and the band.

    Manxom Vrooms last blog post..Sword & Sorcery: Magic Lands.

  4. kerebus

    My pleasure guys, Hawkwind are one of my favourite bands, I first saw them in ‘81 and have seen them many many times since. They’re still touring regularly here in the UK and put on a great show.

    One word of warning though, if you ever get the chance to listen to Mike Moorcock’s A New Worlds Fair album…….don’t, it’s awful, your ears would never forgive you.

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