Thor's Hammer


Thor's Hammer (1963-1974): a Rock band from Keflavik, Iceland.


ormed in Keflavik, Iceland in 1963 under the name Hljómar ("Chords"), they soon became popular in Iceland at a time when local rock music was a rarity. By the mid-1960s they relocated to London to record on the 'Parlophone' label in English for the international market. The discography would grow to include Hljómar (1967), Hljómar (1968; a second self-titled album), 74 (1974), as well as the EPs Fjögur Ný Lög (1965) and Hljómar (1968). Most notable of the lot was the EP Umbarumbamba (1968) which has since become a valuable collector's item recorded as a tie-in with a flop movie starring the band under the same title. The recoding sessions for this yielded the singles Once and If You Knew, as well as a single directed toward the US market titled Stay on 'Columbia Records', produced by John Simon, known for his work with The Band and Big Brother and the Holding Company's album Cheap Thrills with Janis Joplin.

Over their tenure, the band would feature the membership of Rúnar Júlíusson (vocals/bass; R.I.P. 13 April 1945 - 5 December 2008), Gunnar Þórðarson (guitar/vocals), Erlingur Björnsson (guitar/vocals; 1966-1969), Engilbert Jensen (vocals/drums), Shady Owens (vocals; 1968-1969), Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson (drums; 1968), Björgvin Halldórsson (vocals; 1973-1974), Birgir Hranfsson (guitar; 1973-1974) and Pétur Östlund (drums; 1966).

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In 1969 several members formed the prog-flavored band Trúbrot, which recorded four albums until splitting in 1973.

Continual interest in the band among collectors of 1960s rock music lead to the 2001 Ace Records compilation album From Keflavik With Love, which collects all of the band's English-language output, as well as a number of their Icelandic tracks.

Júlíusson died on 5 December 2008 at the age of 63 due to a cardiac arrest.

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Nation Iceland
Location Keflavik
Genre Rock
Formations 1
Active Years 1963-1974
Last Modified 2023-02-20
Diskery ID 2135

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