Great Britain

Dame Vera Lynn once performed with Hawkwind, Lemmy and topless dancers at anti-heroin concert

Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, once performed at an anti-heroin concert with space rock legends Hawkwind and Motörhead's Lemmy.

The unlikely merging of stars occurred in 1985, with all three playing a concert at London’s Crystal Palace Bowl put together by The Who’s Pete Townshend. Others on the line-up included post-punk goth group The March Violets and rock band Spear of Destiny.

Tickets were priced at £2.50 for the event, which billed Lynn as a mystery surprise guest. Prior to Lynn’s arrival, the gig hosted a reunion between Hawkwind and Lemmy, after he departed the group for Motörhead a decade earlier. The performance also featured the return of topless dancer Stacia, who departed Hawkwind alongside Lemmy in 1975.

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Lynn closed out the show with a rendition of her trademark Second World War number “We’ll Meet Again”, though it has been reported that she primarily sang to the audience’s backs – as many decided to leave upon her arrival.

Hawkwind often chose not to speak of the anti-heroin concert in its aftermath, after facing backlash from untoward associates.

In Ed Vulliamy’s book Louder Than Bombs: A Life with Music, War and Peace, founding member Dave Brock said: “[It] led to all kinds of things we don’t talk about, like getting shot at and making enemies.”

Vulliamy suggested this meant motorcycle gangs and drug dealers.

Brock did, however, reveal that his parents approved of their sort-of collaboration with Lynn. “That meant a lot to me,” Brock said. “The Second World War was my childhood.”

On Twitter, the surviving members of Hawkwind paid tribute to Lynn, writing: “RIP Vera.....A great singer, a lovely lady....It was an honour to share a stage…”

Lynn’s death was announced by her family, who said that she died today (18 June) surrounded by her loved ones.

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