Thursday, January 11, 2018

Motörhead - 2005 - BBC Live & In-Session

BBC Live & In-Session

-BB Radio 1 / John Peel In-Session... September 25, 1978
101 Keep Us on the Road
102 Louie Louie
103 I'll Be Your Sister
104 Tear Ya Down

-BBC Radio 1 / In Concert - Live From Paris Theatre, London... May 16, 1979
105 Stay Clean
106 No Class
107 White Line Fever
108 I'll Be Your Sister
109 Too Late, Too Late
110 (I Won't) Pay Your Price
111 Capricorn
112 Limb From Limb

-BBC Radio 1 / David Jensen Show... October 6, 1981
201 Fast and Loose
202 Live to Win
203 White Line Fever
204 Like a Nightmare
205 Bite the Bullet / The Chase is Better Than the Catch

-BBC Radio 1 / Friday Rock Show... August 16, 1986
206 Killed By Death
207 Orgasmatron
208 Doctor Rock
209 Deaf Forever
210 Orgasmatron (Spoken Word)

Lemmy – lead vocals, bass - all tracks
"Fast" Eddie Clarke – guitar, backing vocals - all tracks disk 1 & disk 2 tracks 1-5
Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor – drums - all tracks disk 1 & disk 2 tracks 1-5
Phil Campbell – rhythm guitar & lead guitar, backing vocals - disk 2 tracks 6-10
Michael "Würzel" Burston – rhythm guitar & lead guitar, backing vocals - disk 2 tracks 6-10
Pete Gill – drums - disk 2 tracks 6-10

This is a terrific double album and offers plenty for diehard fans who may think they have everything. It would also serve as a very useful introduction to Motorheads live sound for people who've only heard Ace of Spades. The BBC radio sessions are superbly engineered, with some restraint on the full on deafening sound of a live gig for an audience, the BBC sound guys no doubt seeking to minimize distortion for their listeners at home. It works and whilst holding nothing back you get to hear the musicianship of a tight band, particularly the seminal 3 piece line up of the 78 & 81 sessions. The live theatre show from 79 is a different matter, however, Lemmy getting free reign to deafening the public! It's great to hear the band on top form and so clearly enjoying their new found "stardom", Lemmys asides and banter with the fans illustrating the guy's intelligence and humour. The final radio session from 86 is of course the 4 man set up and includes much fine playing and spirited renditions of Orgasmatron, Doctor Rock & particularly Deaf Forever. Sadly the boys have gone to where the pool tables & free JD are, but we have the music for ever.

Motörhead - 2000 - The Chase Is Better Than the Catch - The Singles A's & B's

The Chase Is Better Than the Catch - The Singles A's & B's

101. Louie, Louie
102. Overkill
103. No Class
104. Bomber
105. Leaving Here (Golden Years EP)
106. Stone Dead Forever (Golden Years EP)
107. Ace Of Spades
108. Motorhead (Live)
109. Iron Fist
110. I Got Mine
111. Shine
112. Killed By Death

201. Tear Ya Down
202. Too Late Too Late
203. Like A Nightmare
204. Over The Top
205. Dead Men Tell No Tales (Golden Years EP)
206. Too Late Too Late (Golden Years EP)
207. Dirty Love
208. Over The Top (Live)
209. Remember Me, I'm Gone
210. Turn You Round Again
211. Hoochie Coochie Man (Live)
212. Under The Knife

CD1: A-sides.
CD2: B-sides.

Track 1 taken from "Louie Louie / Tear Ya Down" single, 1978.
Track 2 taken from "Overkill / Too Late Too Late" single, 1979.
Track 3 taken from "No Class / Like a Nightmare" single, 1979.
Track 4 taken from "Bomber / Over the Top" single, 1979.
Tracks 5 and 6 taken from "The Golden Years" EP, 1980.
Track 7 taken from "Ace of Spades / Dirty Love" single, 1980.
Track 8 taken from "Motörhead / Over the Top" single, 1981.
Track 9 taken from "Iron Fist / Remember Me, I'm Gone" single, 1982.
Track 10 taken from "I Got Mine / Turn You Round Again" single, 1983.
Track 11 taken from "Shine / Hoochie Coochie Man" single, 1983.
Track 12 taken from "Killed by Death / Under the Knife" single, 1984.

Now we're cooking: disc one, featuring all A-sides, is sheer, glorious overkill (as soon as the so-so "Louie, Louie" opener finishes). Lemmy's ZZ topic obsession continues in "No Class" (see also "Beer Drinkers" and "Overnight Sensation"). Scalding signature scar "Ace of Spades" squats here, along with fine slices of Motörhead's vaunted live expertise ("Stone Dead Forever" and the Hawkwind heavy whence the band glommed its apropos moniker). If you've never been clinched in the "Iron Fist," prepare to know what power is. Deceptively melodic licks chug through "I Got Mine." This is the Head earning its umlaut. Time to play B-sides: the second CD naturally can't compete with the fevered freewheeling of the first, but rides right alongside. Once the Motörhead groove slams in, just submit and let the boys roll. "Tear Ya Down" and the spark-chasing "Too Late Too Late" are quite cool and a mean kickoff. Only these three greasy cats could make the boring blues of "Hoochie Coochi Man" burn. "Like a Nightmare," "Dead Men Tell No Tales," and the appropriately dubbed "Over the Top" also rule the road. "Under the Knife" takes two Long Island loonies, BÖC and Twisted Sister, to task. Though two cuts are repeated live, The Chase is a jet-fueled, battle-worn monument to Motörhead's golden years.

Motorhead - 1989 - Keep Us on the Road - Live 1977

Keep Us on the Road - Live 1977

Originally Issued as :
Blitzkrieg on Birmingham' 77, Live, England, 1977

01. Motörhead
02. Vibrator
03. Keep Us on the Road
04. The Watcher
05. Iron Horse
06. Leaving here
07. On Parole
08. I'm Your Witchdoctor
09. Train Kept a Rollin'
10. City Kids
11. White Line Fever

Originally Issued as
Live-Lock your Daughters, 1977

01. Motorhead
02. I'll Be Your Sister
03. Leaving Here
04. Lost Johnny
05. The Watcher
06. Keep Us on the Road
07. Louie, Louie (Richard Berry Cover)
08. Tear Ya Down
09. Iron Horse
10. White Line Fever
11. Intro

Bass Guitar, Vocals – Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister
Drums [Drums & Concussion] – Philthy "Animal" Taylor
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – "Fast" Eddie Clarke

This was the first recording from Eddie Clarke´s personal archive that got released. The concert is from the third of June in 1977. The venue was the Town Hall in Birmingham and it was the first gig on the tour with Hawkwind and also the first gig that was made after the initial recordings of the Motorhead album.
This live recording has cropped up in so many different and varied releases on CD that it is almost impossible to keep track on. Every time it gets re-issued it also gets a new title. It is therefore quite confusing to try to put together a complete discography of all the different Blitzkrieg releases. Another problem is that the catalogue number or the label is sometimes the same on various releases, or at least they are very similar. And sometimes the catalogue number on the CD is another one than the number you find on the back cover, or the spine. Especially all different German releases with catalogue number 156520, or similar, and labels like Mastertone, String, Trend or Merlin. This means that often when you find a new version of BOB in a discography section or on a sales list, you discover after a while that you actually already knew about it, but you used to refer to that particular release with another catalogue number, or label.

Another thing that might create a bit of confusion is the mix up with similar releases such as Lock Up Your Daughters (LUYD) or What´s Words Worth (WWW). The track lists on the different recordings are quite similar. Releases of those two are not as common on CD as BOB though, probably because LUYD is an inferior live recording while the rights to WWW is owned by Ted Carroll and Ace Records and is therefore probably more expensive to license.

Few bands in the history of heavy metal are as road-tested as Motörhead. Since the mid-'70s, Lemmy Kilmister and whoever else was man enough to join the band's ranks have been tearing it up on the road, and are responsible for one of rock's greatest live albums of all time, 1981's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith. As its title states, the double-disc set Keep Us on the Road: Live 1977 captures Motörhead early on -- including their classic lineup of singer/bassist Kilmister, guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke, and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. And while it's not as awe-inspiring as the aforementioned Hammersmith set, it does include quite a few down 'n' dirty treats ("Motörhead," "Iron Horse," "White Line Fever," and "I'll Be Your Sister"), as well as a handful of covers ("Leaving Here," "Train Kept A-Rollin'," and "Louie, Louie"). The sound quality is a bit rough and many of the songs are included twice, but for fans curious to hear what Motörhead sounded like on-stage early on, Keep Us on the Road: Live 1977 is a worthy document.

Motörhead - 1982 - Iron Fist

Iron Fist

01. Iron Fist
02. Heart Of Stone
03. I'm The Doctor
04. Go To Hell
05. Loser
06. Sex & Outrage
07. America
08. Shut It Down
09. Speedfreak
10. (Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down
11. (Don't Need) Religion
12. Bang To Rights

Recorded at Morgan Studios 1 - 30th, Feb, 1982 except 'Iron fist' and 'Shut it Down'. Recorded at Ramport 26th - 28th Jan.

Lemmy: bass, vocals
Fast Eddie Clarke: guitar, producer
Philthy Animal Taylor: drums

As with 1980's Ace of Spades, recording commenced with producer Vic Maile at his Jackson's Studio in Rickmansworth in 1981. Motorhead was enjoying their greatest commercial success at the time, having had their live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith debut at #1 on the U.K. charts. A break in recording for the band to play some November and December dates with Tank was followed by Clarke producing Tank's debut album with help from Will Reid Dick. Soon after, Maile left the Motörhead project, and there are conflicting explanations as to why. One is that Clarke was unhappy with the Maile produced sessions and decided that the album should be recorded themselves, although Lemmy lamented at the time that:

"'s a shame to have lost Vic in a way because I thought it was successful.."

However, in the Motörhead documentary The Guts and the Glory, Clarke insists that drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor refused to work with the producer after Maile got him an unsatisfactory drum sound, stating:

"..and then one day Phil turned to me and said, 'Listen Eddie, why don't you do it?' And I said, 'Man, I don't wanna do it, I'm playing on the record'...I swear to God, I was reluctant as fuck.."

In the same film Lemmy states:

"..I was pissed off 'cause we let Eddie produce it. I wasn't at the time, though. Fair play. But it became obvious after it was released - I sort of sobered up and realized it was garbage, most of it. And there's at least three songs on there that weren't even finished. We just finished them in the studio, you know, like cobbled it together. It just was a substandard album. But the trouble is how do you follow a live album that went straight in at #1? There's nothing you can do.."

The album was recorded during the best part of late January and February 1982 at Morgan Studios and Ramport Studios in London, with Clarke producing and Dick engineering. Struggling to think of a name for the title track for the album, Lemmy remembered the time the band had performed live under the name Iron Fist and the Hordes from Hell for contractual reasons (a subsequent album What's Words Worth? was released of that event), and decided this was an apt name for this project. The name was eventually shortened to simply Iron Fist. The title track would go on to be one of the band's signature songs.

A promotional film was made of the band dressed in studded leather armour and wielding broadswords, described by Lemmy as:

"..all dressed up as idiots, prancing about in a wood in South Mimms as opposed to prancing about in South Mimms dressed as cowboy idiots.." with Clarke adding that they looked " a bunch of fairies prancing about with armour on... It's very hard not to.."

The band undertook a UK tour from 17 March to 12 April with support from Tank. This was to be the first tour to drop the bomber lighting rig, with Lemmy feeling that they had "to do something new sooner or later" despite it being "the best show I've ever seen in my life." The rig was replaced by a gigantic iron fist that was supposed to unfold its hand but, as Lemmy explained to Uncut's John Robinson in 2015, it malfunctioned and made a "rude gesture" to the crowd. The band continued touring to promote the album, visiting North America in May and June, Japan at the end of June, and, after some summer festival appearances, mainland Europe in October and November.

The first date of the North American tour, 12 May at C.N.E. Coliseum in Toronto (though this is now referenced as Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto), was filmed and subsequently released on video as Live in Toronto and later as the bonus disc of the deluxe edition of the CD. In his 2002 autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy recalls that at the Toronto show:

"..Eddie was terrible and so was I - I got cramp halfway through the show and couldn't play..."

Promotion for the album went as far as the May 1982 edition of Rennbahn Express, an Austrian magazine, which included a free flexidisc with excerpts from "Iron Fist," "Sex and Outrage," "Don't Let 'em Grind You Down," and "Loser". Lemmy is interviewed by Robert Reumann in English and is overdubbed with a German translation.[5] The release of the album prompted Bronze/Mercury in Canada to issue The Complete Motörhead Kit, which featured a limited-edition 12-inch vinyl containing "Iron Fist," "Too Late, Too Late," "Remember Me, I'm Gone," "Ace of Spades" and "Motörhead" (from the No Sleep 'til Hammersmith album), plus a tour programme, a tour poster, and an embroidered patch of the band's logo

After the second date on 14 May at New York's Palladium, Clarke left the band, his replacement being former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson with the tour recommencing a week later on 21 May in Detroit. Bad feelings between Kilmister and Clarke had been simmering for a while, but the breaking point came when Lemmy decided to record a cover of the Tammy Wynette country classic "Stand By Your Man" with Wendy O' Williams and the Plasmatics. Asked to play on the single, Clarke quit the band. Lemmy reflected on the guitarist's departure in his 2002 memoir:

"..actually, Eddie used to leave the band about every two months, but this time it just so happened that we didn't ask him back. We didn't try to persuade him, which is why he stayed away - that surprised him a bit. But we were just tired of him because he was always freaking out and he was drinking a lot back then. He's become much better now since he stopped...Looking back - and I must say, hindsight is 20/20 - it was good for us that we fell apart when we did. We wouldn't have been going now if we had carried on getting more and more famous. We would have wound up a bunch of twats with houses in the country and gotten divorced from each other. So it was just as well, I think, for Motörhead's morale overall. It's important for a band to be hungry because that is the motivation that makes all bands work. And if anyone knows about being hungry for long periods of time, it's me.."

Lemmy reiterated in 2000 that Iron Fist was:

"..bad, inferior to anything else we've ever done. Having Eddie produce it was a mistake that even he would now probably admit to...we weren't ready to do another album, I don't care what anybody says."

Clarke maintains in The Guts and the Glory:

" wasn't so much the album, I think it was the attitude the album was made [with] was what made it not good. For me, whenever I play it, I can feel it's not quite right...The songs would'a been better had we been working as a unit.."

Iron Fist is one of Motorheads most underrated albums, especially of their early period with Philthy Phil and Fast Eddie Clarke. While not the strongest album, it is far from being a weak album. It was Iron Fist that was Lemmy Kilmisters ode to everything he loved and everything he hated, and had it not been for the weak production courtesy of Clarke, the album would have been a classic. The guitars get lost in places, and the drums often feel dull, but Motorhead being the band that is so loud if they moved next door they would kill your lawn, they manage to make it work.

the title track is just classic tough, scruffy speed rock from the boys that do it best. 'Heart Of Stone' is a classic love song in true Lemmy form. Other than the lyrics though the track is hit or miss. 'Im The Doctor' and 'Sex And Outrage' are both odes to Lemmy's favorite past The latter being one of early Motorheads all time best. 'America' was Lem's love song for the country he would soon move to and stake claim over L.A. and Rainbow Bar & Grill. Bar far the strongest and consistent track on the album. Clarkes riff is one of his better, and Phil plays one solid back beat. 'Speedfreak' much like the bands name, is a reference to Lemmy Kilmisters speed addiction. A problem he had for many, many years. While not as fast as you would expect the track gets the job done, and contains some of his best bass work. 'Loser' is pure lament, and maybe the second best track here. Totally unlike every other Motorhead song. '(Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down' is something the boys had been working at one the last few albums, and really nailed here. '(Don't Need) Religion' and 'Bang To Rights' were Lemmy's first in your face blatant attempts at social issues and he did it right. For a tough S.O.B. Lemmy is one of the most tolerant and excepting people in the world, and human rights are something he takes to heart.

While the production is weak, the songs are anything but. This was sadly the final album of the classic Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor line up. Soon Brian of Thin Lizzy would join in on guitar on change things.. This was the last great early Motorhead album so don't miss out.

Motörhead - 1981 - No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith

No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith

01. Ace Of Spades
02. Stay Clean
03. Metropolis
04. The Hammer
05. Iron Horse
06. No Class
07. Overkill
08. (We Are) The Road Crew
09. Capricorn
10. Bomber
11. Motorhead

Recorded live in England surrounded by maniacs 1981 except "Iron Horse" 1980.
(Recorded live at: Leeds, Newcastle).

Lemmy: lead vocals, bass
Fast Eddie Clarke: background vocals, guitar
Philthy Animal Taylor: drums

After releasing three albums and touring for five years, Motörhead's 1980 album Ace of Spades (their first LP to be released in the United States) gave the band its first taste of major success, although as drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor wryly notes in the documentary The Guts and the Glory, "The more famous we seemed to get, the more we were working all the time, and we just never seemed to see any money…This is how you know you're being ripped off, when they work you like dogs and hardly give you any time off, 'cause when you got a bit of time off you might start thinking about things .' In February, 1981, the band released the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP co-recorded with Girlschool, and in March headed out on a British jaunt called the "Short Sharp Pain in the Neck" tour, from which the songs on No Sleep 'til Hammersmith would be culled.

The original No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith LP includes two songs from their debut album, the title track from 1979's Bomber, five songs from 1979's Overkill, and three songs from Ace of Spades. The track "Motorhead" would be released as a single and become the band's biggest hit to date, reaching #6 on the U.K. chart. With the exception of "Iron Horse/Born To Lose," which was from a 1980 show, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith was recorded at the Leeds and Newcastle shows during the Short Sharp Pain In The Neck tour. The name of the tour was a reference to the injury sustained by Taylor when he was dropped on his head during some after-show horseplay.

Despite the title of the album, the London venue the Hammersmith Odeon was not played on the tour, the shows being:

27 March 1981: West Runton Pavilion, Norfolk, England
28 March 1981: Queen's Hall, Leeds, England
29 March 1981: City Hall, Newcastle, England
30 March 1981: City Hall, Newcastle, England
3 April 1981: Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Backstage at the Leeds and Newcastle shows the band were presented with silver record and gold record for sales of Ace of Spades, a silver record for Overkill and a silver record for "Please Don't Touch." The sound at Leeds Queens hall was not good and most of the original album is taken from Newcastle. Vocalist and bassist Lemmy has stated that originally they intended No Sleep 'til Hammersmith to be a double album but they only had enough material for three sides. At time of the album's release, the band were in the middle of their first tour of North America, supporting Ozzy Osbourne. "When No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith came out", Lemmy stated to James McNair of Mojo in 2011, "it made a difference financially, but a lot of it went back into the show."

No Sleep 'til Hammersmith is the band's most successful in terms of chart positioning, peaking at #1 on the UK charts, having capitalized on the preceding success of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP and Ace of Spades album and single. Lemmy believed its success was due to a building anticipation from their fan base for a live album, due to the band having toured so heavily in the past, but also considered it "our downfall" due to the difficulty in following up its success. The album is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Jason Birchmeier of AllMusic writes, "Motorhead could do no wrong at this point in time, as they were laying the foundation for the coming thrash movement, in a way, and their winning streak continues here on No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, one of the best live metal albums of all time." "Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith captured the band at its earth-shattering, genre-forming peak...No Sleep is one of the best live albums of all time, capturing the live high-octane impact of the legendary power trio line-up." In the 2011 book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motorhead, biographer Joel McIver calls the album "the peak of the Lemmy/Clarke/Philthy line-up's career."

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes the ruthlessly uncompromising is also popular - the original No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith album went straight to No. 1 in the UK when it was released in 1981. Fast and hard and dirty rock'n'roll played live by a band as good as Motorhead ought to be hugely entertaining and it is. It was then and it still is now.

Of course other bands have come and gone that were faster, harder and dirtier, so why does this still sound so ... entertaining? It's because of the way the songs are put together - the fantastically catchy riffs and hooky choruses that make these tracks superb examples of songwriting craft as well as being asskicking rockers. Later bands abstracted the asskicking attitude and took it further, but few had the songwriting chops to produce classics like those found on this album. "Ace Of Spades" is the famous one but for me it is songs like "No Class", "Overkill", "Bomber" and "Motorhead" that stand out as great music. But every song on here is a well-made monster, like a fleet of 11 classic Harleys in pristine condition roaring down the highway.

Motorhead's live sound is the ultimate genuinely powerful trio. At first you think that you can't hear Lemmy's bass - is something wrong with the mix? It isn't until the bass solo on the second track that you can tell why, the bass has so much upper-register attack that it sounds like another guitar, and the bass and the guitar are playing in such tight formation that they sound like one instrument until the solos. When Fast Eddie steps out from the riff to play a solo you can listen clearly to Lemmy playing the riff - to say he has a crushingly powerful style would be an understatement. Holding down the bottom end is the double-bass drum, but unfortunately Philthy  isn't quite as tight as the other two and occasionally strays out of time. Of course that just enhances the authenticity of the live sound.

The passage of time has put Lemmy's vocals on this album into perspective - they used to be considered the ultimate in rough-edged incomprehensible growling, but compared with where metal vocals have gone since then, he sounds positively cultured. Obviously still a tough customer but one who actually articulates words.

So after the original 11 tracks are over and the all-clear siren has gone the 7 bonus tracks come out and they are not ashamed to be heard in such august company. All are from the same three shows that produced the originals and all are of the same high standard as the originals, "Jailbait" and "Fire Fire" standing out. The only thing I don't enjoy is the bit during the last track when Lemmy tries to play a call-and-response with the audience. It doesn't work - maybe the crowd was too wasted and pummeled by sound to understand? The bonus disc is alternative versions of 11 of the songs on disc 1. These performances are a little bit rougher and the mix is a lot more raw-sounding, so it is like getting a top-quality bootleg of a 1981 show.

At the time Motorhead seemed to be the only band that both metallers and punks could agree on although this album is not really either. It is really just a powerful and speedy rock'n'roll show.

Motorhead - 1980 - The Watcher

The Watcher

01. The Watcher 3:54
02. Iron Horse / Born To Lose 4:39
03. On Parole (In A) 5:14
04. White Line Fever 2:26
05. Keep Us On The Road 5:10
06. Leaving Here 3:00
07. I'm Your Witch Doctor 3:05
08. The Train Kept A Rollin' 2:36
09. City Kids 3:20

This album was recorded Live at the Roundhouse 18 feb 1978 and Motorhead was billed as Iron Fist & The Hordes of Hell. The rights to the recording was owned by Chiswick and they officially released it as a live album in February 1983 on the label Big Beat Records. It reached number 71 in the charts. After that it has been re-released with other titles and/or other sleeves, amongst others as "The Watcher" in Canada, "City Kids", "Live, Loud and Lewd" and "Iron Fist and the Hordes from Hell".

This album was later released under the title "What's Words Worth?"

Drums – Phil Taylor
Guitar – Eddie Clarke
Vocals, Bass – Lemmy

By the early eighties, several shelved Motörhead recordings were quickly dusted off and released to cash in on the current rising accelerating popularity of the group that had been steadily on the rise since signing with Bronze Records in 1978. From their first Jimmy Miller-produced album, “Overkill” for that label that perfected the Motörhead template, it would be nothing but rising popularity for the unashamedly volume/drinks/various white substances-driven trio from this point on. But prior to this, they had spent the better part of a four year period keeping themselves together by refusing to quit and staying on the road long enough just to pay for petrol, ciggies and drinks/various white substances.

Going back to before the Bronze Age, in chronological order there was a single on Stiff; an album and a single for Ted Carroll’s Chiswick label and prior to that an earlier version of that first album recorded for (and subsequently shelved by) United Artists in 1975 that featured the very first lineup comprised of ex-Pink Fairies guitarist Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox on drums -- Headed up then, now and always by the man on the bass and vocals, Lemmy “Ian” Kilminster.

And then there was this behemoth...

Recorded at the Roundhouse in London on January 18, 1978, “What’s Wordsworth?” is the most unvarnished and chaotic Motörhead record of them all. A very ragged and alive live rock’n’roll blared out from ‘Iron Fist and The Hordes From Hell’ (as they were billed for the evening’s performance) in a display of utter contempt for dynamics, professionalism and silence as it aggressive planted itself rudely right between the eyes and ears and barely moved from that position as the volume/drinks/various white substances kicked in as squarely direct hits were clocking in like crazy for the duration of their set. It shoulda be called “30 Seconds Over Chalk Farm,” because it’s an all out bombing raid. With a running time of 35 minutes, “Wordsworth?” feels almost like the closing encore segment of the show as more than half of it is a succession of perfect cover versions that nevertheless all wind up sounding more like Motörhead, anyway) that get hammered out fast, loose and greasy as hell, but it was in reality a truncated set. (It was reported in an earlier CD reissue that they did perform “Lost Johnny” with Mick Farren on vocals, which accidentally shuffled off to into the ether of the ol’ Archives of Oblivion while reels were being re-loaded on the mobile unit, losing for posterity a perfect display of The Deviants/Pink Fairies/Hawkwind axis coming full circle a decade since it all began with The Deviants’ “PTOOFF!” album.)

Originally conceived as Motörhead’s final recorded legacy, Fast “Eddie” Clarke on guitar, Philthy “Animal” Taylor on drums and vocalist/bass strummer/panzerführer Lemmy Kilminster go for it in a blur of Superfuzz White Stratocaster, errantly hit drums/cymbals/broken sticks and Rickenbacker bass throb going for the jugular in a noise-mongering thrash that had no parallel at the time. It was dirty, streetwise, disorderly, loud and performed with a power fuelled in equal parts by volume/drinks/various white substances that raised a rebellious hand then swung it down hard in a defiant fist against those expecting something safe...or barring that, at least approaching reason.

First up is “The Watcher” and it’s as faithful to the version Lemmy contributed as the closing track on Hawkwind’s “Doremi Fasol Latido” as the unplugged version of “Layla” is to the Derek & The Dominoes original: which is to say, not at all. The first thing you hear before the initial spiking up into red meters of this sonic blur (as ferociously anti-social and aggressive as the snaggletoothed, too ugly to die/born to lose/play to win biker wildebeest logo Joe Petagno cooked up) is Lemmy’s percussive Rickenbacker bass doubling as twin Luftwaffe bomber engines and a coupla cymbal strikes by Philthy “Animal” Taylor to steel himself up for the horrible blast from the guts that will commence. And when it does, turn it up and stand back because “The Watcher” is a crude barrage refashioned from the Kilminster composition stretching back a beyond Hawkwind’s version and into its true genesis as “You’re On Your Own Now” by Sam Gopal. It’s so pummeling, when Lemmy roars out a repeat line just before the finish, he can’t even finish it: “You’re on your own now / You’re on your own now / You’re on your owNOOWWWWWWRRRGGGHHHH...!”

The rest of this mess gets br-a-a-a-nged out as unvarnished as only the very best rock’n’roll is and can be. It’s the sound of amplified chainsaws miked through a line of Marshalls set at full strength, and they stink up the Roundhouse in no time flat as they blaze through biker anthem ”Iron Horse/Born To Lose” and continue on with savaging Larry Wallis’ “On Parole” only after Lemmy steps up to the mike to tip his hat to Lazza for the tune, and they’re off into a tunnel-visioned rave that build wildly in ways that that neither of the previous two studio versions (one from Motörhead’s abortive first album with Wallis or Wallis’ own single on Stiff) could ever hope to achieve. Pealing squeals of feedback perforate above the pandemonium, into eardrums and they send it all off over the nearest cliff in flames with an overkill ending complete with Lemmy’s percolating runs up and down his Rickenbacker with the greatest of ease. The band plows through the night with “White Line Fever.” bulldozing against the odds and the expectations of the audience and probably the band. Philthy fierce jackknifes both hi-hats and kit into a twist. I think this one ends their set proper cuz Lemmy rasps, “Ooowwwgoodnight...!”

Side two continues on that highway to nowhere head first with “Keep Us On The Road,” a contribution from Mick Farren that makes as much sense for Motörhead to record as it did for Farren to write. Next up come three roughly handled covers that flash by in a rage like an amphetamine jukebox with all of Lemmy’s favs racked up and paid for in black bombers: “Leaving Here” by The Birds, “I’m Your Witchdoctor” by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and “The Train Kept A Rollin’” by The Yardbirds. It’s non-stop action for three tracks, all hanging together with a teeth-grinding propulsion and informed by a keenly felt sense of rock’n’roll throughout. The best part is when Lem’s bass cuts out for seconds during “Leaving Here” and instead of upending the track, it only forces the bass to return even louder and more discordant with flurried vengeance.

They round it all off by grinding into the stage floor a rendition of The Pink Fairies’ “City Kids.” Lemmy’s vocal and bass played like a lead instrument drives this sucker straight down the line that nearly unseats the rhythm Philthy is playing while Eddie consents to keep in the background until the final set-ending load is dropped as loud as hell (or maybe one louder than everything else.) Brilliant.

All bases are completely covered on this live record: abrasive, lumbering rock’n’roll delivered at full strength...Guaranteed to get you moving like a parallelogram.

Motörhead - 1980 - Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades 

01. Ace Of Spades
02. Love Me Like A Reptile
03. Shoot You In The Back
04. Live To Win
05. Fast And Loose
06. (We Are) The Road Crew
07. Fire, Fire
08. Jailbait
09. Dance
10. Bite The Bullet
11. The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
12. The Hammer

Bass,Vocals – Lemmy
Drums – Philthy Animal Taylor
Guitar – Eddie Clarke

Produced at Jackson's, Rickmansworth Aug 4th-Sept 15th 1980.

"(We Are) The Road Crew" dedicated to Graham (Renaldo) Reynolds, Paul Cummings, Ian (The Eagle) Dobbie, Steve (Plod) Flood, Dave Chamberlain, Phil Ariado, Lawrence, Pete, Steve the driver and anyone else who helped, got drunk, humped gear, girls etc. Have a long squawk + Audio lease + Chameleon.

By 1979, Motörhead released two successful albums, Overkill and Bomber, and had gained a loyal fan following by constant touring and television appearances. Their ferocious, loud proto-thrash playing style appealed equally to punks and heavy metal fans, but in 1979 Sounds writer Geoff Barton coined the term "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" (NWOBHM) to classify a slew of newer bands such as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Saxon. Motörhead — a band that resented being labeled anything other than rock 'n' roll — was placed in this new genre, which would go on to influence the emerging thrash metal movement that would include bands like Metallica and Megadeth. In the 2011, book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motörhead, Joel McIver quotes vocalist and bassist Lemmy:

"..I like Iron Maiden and Saxon out of the new mob, and that's about it, really...We were too late for the first metal movement and early for the next one...Motörhead don't fit into any category, really. We're not straight heavy metal, because we're a rock 'n' roll band, which no-one knows how to market anymore.."

Regardless, the association with NWOBHM would be another positive element in the gathering momentum that would lead to the band's most successful commercial period at the dawn of the new decade. In fact, United Artists decided to finally release the band's "lost" first album at this time under the title On Parole, which had originally been recorded in 1976 but shelved because it was deemed commercially unviable. Next, the Big Beat label, which had taken over Chiswick's catalogue, released Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers (EP), packaging four extra tracks that the band had laid down for their debut album. Further evidence of Motörhead's nascent mainstream success was the release of the EP The Golden Years in May 1980 on Bronze Records, which became their highest charting release to date, peaking at #8.

Motörhead recorded Ace of Spades with Vic Maile at Jackson's Studios in Rickmansworth in August and September 1980. Maile, who had worked with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Who, had crossed paths with Lemmy when he was a member of Hawkwind. The bassist recalls in his 2002 memoir White Line Fever:

"..He used to own a mobile studio — Hawkwind hired it out to do Space Ritual and he came with it...Vic was a great man and a great producer, really brilliant...Those were good times; we were winning, we were younger, and we believed it.."

As Steffan Chirazi observes in the liner notes to the 1996 reissue of Ace of Spades:

"..Vic Maille at the production helm used an expert ear to translate the monstrous live sound and feel of the band to vinyl.."

The LP includes some of the band's most popular songs, including "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch," "(We Are) The Road Crew," and the hit single "Ace of Spades," which rose to #15 on the UK Singles Chart. In his autobiography, White Line Fever, Lemmy speaks at length about the tune:

"..I used gambling metaphors, mostly cards and dice — when it comes to that sort of thing, I'm more into the slot machines actually, but you can't really sing about spinning fruit, and the wheels coming down. Most of the song's just poker, really - 'I know you've got to see me, read 'em and weep, Dead man's hand again, aces and eights' - that was Wild Bill Hickock's hand when he got shot. To be honest, although "Ace of Spades" is a good song, I'm sick to death of it now. Two decades on, when people think of Motörhead, they think "Ace of Spades." We didn't become fossilised after that record, you know. We've had quite a few good releases since then. But the fans want to hear it so we still play it every night. For myself, I've had enough of that song.."

In 2011, Lemmy admitted to James McNair of Mojo:

"..I'm glad we got famous for that rather than for some turkey, but I sang 'The eight of spades' for two years and nobody noticed.."

The song "(We Are) The Road Crew" was written as a tribute to the band's roadies. In the 2004 Classic Albums documentary on the making of the album, guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke declares:

"..They were a good crew, and they were proud of how good they were. I would put them up against any crew in the world."

In the same film, Lemmy, who worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and the Nice, recalls that he wrote the song "in ten minutes" and that when roadie Ian "Eagle" Dobbie heard the song "he had a tear in his eye". Many of the songs, such as "Love Me Like a Reptile." "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch," and "Jailbait." blatantly reference sex, which drew the ire of some critics and feminists. Clarke explained to Classic Albums in 2005:

"..We only thought of ourselves as a good time rock 'n' roll band, really... But we weren't trying to get a message across, apart from have a good time, you know: get pissed, get stoned, and fuck a chick. And that'll do.."

Maille, who was affectionately nicknamed "Turtle" by the band (for his resemblance to the reptile), was critical in giving Motörhead a sleeker sound on record without sacrificing its raw power. Diminutive and soft-spoken, Maille was well equipped to deal with the trio, who were notorious for in-fighting and general unmanageability. In the documentary The Guts and the Glory, drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor remembers:

"..Even if he was angry, he was angry like this: (assumes soft-spoken tone) 'You're not supposed to do it like that,' or 'Stop that boys .'" Lemmy Concurs, "Vic was great. He was the first one who told us we were all cunts and work harder. He had a very dry personae: 'Is that really the best shot you've got?'.."

In 2015, Clarke recalled to John Robinson of Uncut:

"..He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, and he was very delicate because he was diabetic. He had to have his Ryvita at six o'clock. We couldn't get heavy with him, couldn't fucking shake him, you know what I mean? He might die! So we had to listen to him.."

Whereas the band had previously had an input at the mixing stage, Maile took sole responsibility here, Clarke explaining that the result was " can finally hear everything that's going on.." Of the performances, Lemmy stated "..Vic got me singing instead of just shouting all the time.." while Taylor added "..and he got me playing more solid.."

Motörhead appeared on Top of the Pops twice in October to promote the single "Ace of Spades", and were guests on the ITV children's morning show Tiswas on 8 November. The band undertook a UK tour from 22 October through to 2 December under the banner Ace Up Your Sleeve, with support from Girlschool and Vardis. After the Belfast show on 2 December, hijinks resulted in Taylor breaking his neck forcing him to wear a neck-brace and curtailing any further band activity. The other members of the band took the opportunity to collaborate with Girlschool for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP.

The album has been described as "one of the best metal albums by any band, ever" and has become a significantly influential 'hard rock classic.' AllMusic calls it:

"..rock-solid, boasting several superlative standouts" and insists it "rightly deserves its legacy as a classic. There's no debating that.."

Sid Smith of BBC Music enthused in 2007:

"..When Lemmy sings the lyrics to '(We Are) The Road Crew' it’s the sound of a grizzled veteran who has been there, done that and gone back for second helpings...If ever a piece of music was a manifesto for the mad, bad and dangerous to know party then the title track is it. Unrepentant and full of hell, there’s not one note out of place.."

Despite the band always referring to their music as Rock 'n' Roll, the album, and particularly its title track have been considered amongst the most influential in the development of thrash metal. The title track is, for many, the definitive Motörhead anthem. The album is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

From the moment frontman Lemmy Kilmister's now legendary bass riff kicks in on the title track, Motorhead's Ace of Spades has the feel of a definitive statement. Beneath the speed and aggression sits a near-perfect blues song at its core. They just fed that blues a handful of amphetamines.
The result is about as perfect a rock and roll statement as Lemmy (or anyone, for that matter) has ever made. It's also a most-appropriate introduction to an album, released on Nov. 8, 1980, that confirms everything Motorhead was meant to be.

"We are Motorhead," Lemmy has said when introducing countless concerts over the years, "and we play rock and roll!" And so it remained, despite many wanting to assign them the label of heavy metal – and even punk - over the years. Motorhead stayed true, then as now, to a singular vision of playing loud, hard, heart-pounding, adrenaline-surging rock and roll.

To this point, they had had released three albums, hitting upon a signature blend of speed, aggression and riffs following Lemmy's dismissal from Hawkwind. All that was left, after scoring a Top 20 U.K. hit with 1979's Bomber, was conquering the world. Ace of Spades, a thrill ride from start to finish, would be the first Motorhead studio effort to receive distribution in the U.S.
Hardly a one-man show, guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor made up the Motorhead lineup which gave the world these initial albums. The way that trio played together was truly incredible, and though Lemmy and Motorhead have long since carried on, this lineup still holds a special place in the band's history.

Ace of Spades is a big reason why. Clarke's playing is dynamic and stylish. It's not easy to arrive at a signature approach, but he was able to do so here – as was Taylor, whose own style would go on to influence countless drummers over the years. They come barreling out on initial songs like "Love Me Like A Reptile" and "Shoot You in the Back," and it's clear these boys mean business.
"Dance" is a full-on raver that cooks like a lost Yardbirds gem, while "Bite the Bullet" and "The Hammer" are speed-fueled affirmations of life. Even when they slow things down, Motorhead seems to get just that much heavier on "The Chase is Better Than the Catch." "Live to Win," "Fast and Loose," and "(We Are) the Road Crew)." There isn't one duff track in the batch.
Producer Vic Maile completed things on Ace of Spades, later returning to work on the live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith and the classic single "Killed By Death." One of the great unsung contributors in British rock, Maile as able to get a fresh, biting sound that captured the rock and roll spirit. And fans responded, sending Ace of Spades to No. 4 in the U.K., where the title song also became their first Top 20 hit.
More importantly, Ace of Spades officially exposed the world at large to Motorhead, setting the standard by which all other of their albums would be measured.

The Story Behind The Song: Ace Of Spades by Motorhead

It’s one of the instantly recognisable all-time classic tracks of heavy rock and Motörhead’s signature tune. But how did Motorhead classic Ace Of Spades come about?
Motörhead had speed in their veins and wind in their sails when they entered the studio to record their fourth album, Ace Of Spades, in the summer of 1980. Their previous release, the live Golden Years EP, had turned this gnarliest of bands into unlikely Top 10 stars. But it would be Ace Of Spades – particularly its unforgettable title track – that sealed their immortality.

From its overdriven bass intro to its squealing, hit-the-brakes ending two minutes and 48 seconds later, this gamblers’ psalm would become not just Motörhead’s signature song, but also one of the all-time great rock’n’roll anthems.

Naturally, the band themselves had no such ambitions when they holed up in Rockfield Studios, South Wales in early 1980 to begin rehearsing for the follow-up to the white-hot one-two of Overkill and Bomber, two brilliant albums released within seven months of each other in 1979.

“We went down to Rockfield for a couple of weeks, got in the vodka and everything else,” says guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke. “Unfortunately, Lemmy wasn’t too up for rehearsing in those days – he had a nice bird up there with him, so he was distracted. But Phil [drummer ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor] and I used to like playing, so after we’d finished fishing and fucking about and God knows what, me and Phil would have a little bash. It gave us an opportunity to work out some riffs.”

Ace Of Spades was one of them. The band recognised its potential, and worked it up into a rough song and recorded an instrumental version at Rockfield. Back in London, they added vocals and overdubs. This early incarnation first appeared on the 1989 odds-and-sods album Dirty Love. While not dissimilar from the finished version, it lacked two key components: that steel-plated central riff, and the breakdown that Lemmy memorably described as “the tap-dancing section”.

Producer Vic Maile, who had previously worked with Lemmy’s former band Hawkwind and who Clarke affectionately describes as “a nice bloke, very soft, big hooter, short hair”, played a big part in fixing both.

“Vic kind of questioned what we were doing with the song,” says Clarke. “He made us look at that riff, so Lemmy and I started fucking around with it a bit. It was one of the only times we’d written in the studio.”

Maile also had what Clarke called “his box of tricks” – a cardboard box full of items used to provide sound effects. Amid the maracas and rattlesnake tails was a set of woodblocks which would provide the clacking sound during the breakdown.

“He said: ‘This is what we’ll do’,” explains Clarke. “We were pissed or speeding and we were totally against it. ‘Well, we’ll do it cos it’s you, Vic, but we ain’t gonna fucking use it.’ He set up a nice Neumann mic, and the three of us stood there with the blocks. Of course, at first we’re all doing it at different fucking times: ‘Come on, Phil, for fuck’s sake!’ ‘No, man, it’s you!’ But when we heard it, we thought: ‘Oh, it’s not bad.’”

With its turbo-charged new riff and memorable breakdown, the track was beginning to sound special. The final piece in the jigsaw was Lemmy’s lyrics – an attempt, he said, to cram as many gambling references in as possible: the high one, snake eyes, dead man’s hand (and don’t forget the joker…). In typical myth-making fashion, he claimed to have written the lyrics in the back of a Transit van while speeding down the motorway at 90mph.

“He might have written it in the fucking shitter for all I know,” Clarke says with a laugh. “He used to do that. We’d say: ‘Man, we need some fucking lyrics for this.’ So he used to go for a shit and write the lyrics. But if he said he wrote it in a Transit van, then you’ve got to believe him.”

Ace Of Spades reached No.15 in the UK when it was released in November 1980. It swiftly became a highlight of their live set.

The last time Clarke saw Lemmy was at the Classic Rock Awards in October 2015, two months before the singer’s death. Motörhead were due to play UK dates the following January, including two dates at Hammersmith Apollo, and the two of them talked about the guitarist joining them on both nights.

“He looked so frail at the Classic Rock Awards,” says Clarke. “I was a bit shocked. I did think that he wouldn’t make the gigs because he was so frail. I never thought he was going to die, though.”

After Lemmy’s death, an online campaign to get Ace Of Spades back in the charts pushed it to No.13, two spots higher than its original peak more than 35 years before. In 2016, Clarke joined old sparring partners Saxon and Girlschool on tour. Each show would culminate with a mass rendition of Ace Of Spades.

“It went down a fucking storm,” he says. “It didn’t bring tears to my eyes, but it was very emotional. What can I say?”

In his later years, Lemmy had mixed feelings about the song he played every night on stage with Motörhead. While he recognised its enduring quality, familiarity definitely bred contempt.

“I’m sick to death of it now,” he wrote in his 2002 autobiography, White Line Fever. “We didn’t become fossilised after that record, you know, we’ve had quite a few good releases since then. But the fans want to hear it so we still play it every night. For myself, I’ve had enough of that song.”

Eddie Clarke has no such issues: “It’s a fantastic track. It’s got a natural speed, a velocity of its own, it’s got a great arrangement and it rocks like a bastard. And Lemmy’s lyrics are fantastic.

I sometimes say to people: ‘I used to be in a band years ago’, and they say: ‘Oh, which one?’ When I say Motörhead, they look bemused. So I say: ‘Ace Of Spades’ and the penny drops. They might not know Motörhead, but they definitely know Ace Of Spades.”

Motörhead - 1979 - Bomber


01. Dead Men Tell No Tales 3:06
02. Lawman 3:57
03. Sweet Revenge 4:15
04. Sharpshooter 3:18
05. Poison 2:56
06. Stone Dead Forever 4:57
07. All The Aces 3:26
08. Step Down 3:43
09. Talking Head 3:43
10. Bomber 3:50

Bass [& 8-String Bass], Vocals – Lemmy
Drums, Percussion [Human Leg, Etc.] – Philthy Animal Taylor
Guitar – Eddie Clarke

Recorded at Roundhouse Recording Studios and Olympic Recording Studios between July 7th-August 31st, 1979.

By 1979, Motörhead had been together for four years and had amassed a loyal following in both punk and heavy metal circles. After recording an album for United Artists that the label shelved, the band released its eponymous debut LP in 1977, but it was with 1979's Overkill that the band hit their stride. The title track landed in the UK Top 40 and, after appearing again on Top of the Pops, the band returned to the studio that summer with legendary producer Jimmy Miller to record what would become Bomber. However, the band did not have the opportunity to work up the songs on the road, as they had with their previous album. Joel McIver quotes singer and bassist Lemmy in his book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motörhead:

"..I wish we'd played the songs onstage first, like we did with the Overkill album, if we could've played them for three weeks on the road it would have been less slick.....Listen to the way we play them live and compare that to the album.."

Nonetheless, Bomber would peak at #12 on the UK albums chart, their strongest showing up to that point.

During the recording of this album, Jimmy Miller was increasingly under the influence of heroin, at one point disappearing entirely from the studio and being found asleep at the wheel of his car. Ironically the album features the band's first anti-heroin song – "Dead Men Tell No Tales." Miller had produced some of the Rolling Stones most heralded work from 1968 to 1973 but, after struggling through the sessions for 1973's Goats Head Soup, had been shown to the door. In the documentary The Guts and the Glory, drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor marvels:

"..We used to think that we were bad at being late, but he would be, like, half a day late, or even more late, you know, and his excuses were marvellous.."

In his autobiography White Line Fever Lemmy states:

"..Overkill was supposed to be something of a comeback album for Jimmy Miller, which is exactly what it turned out to be for him. He had got very heavily into heroin (which likely began when he was working with the Stones) and he had lost it for a couple of years...but months later, when we were working with him on Bomber, it was sadly clear that he was back on smack.."

The band returned to Roundhouse Studios in London with additional recording taking place at Olympic Studios. This album caught Lemmy at his most ferocious, hitting hard at the police in "Lawman," marriage and how his father left him and his mother in "Poison," television in "Talking Head" and show business in "All the Aces." This album is the first to have a picture of the band on the cover, which all three members are inside a plane. The title track was inspired by Len Deighton's novel Bomber. On one track, "Step Down," Eddie Clarke is featured on vocals. In his memoir, Lemmy reveals that:

"..[Clarke] had been bitching that I was getting all the limelight, but he wouldn't do anything about it. I got sick of him complaining, so I said, 'Right, you're gonna fucking sing one on this album'...he hated it, but really, he was a good singer, Eddie.."

During the recording of Bomber, Motörhead played the Reading Festival, performing alongside other acts like the Police and The Tourists.

The single "Bomber" was released on 1 December 1979, five weeks after the album; the single's initial pressing of 20,000 on blue vinyl was soon sold out and was replaced by black vinyl. The album was released on 27 October 1979 and like the single, was initially pressed on blue vinyl. The Bomber Tour followed, for which a 40-foot (12 m) aluminium-tube "bomber" was made; this had four "engines," whereas the plane depicted on the album sleeve (which bore a resemblance to the Heinkel He 111) had two. This lighting-rig could move backwards and forwards, and side-to-side – the first to be able to do so. The album cover features art by English commercial artist, Adrian Chesterman who was also responsible for creating cover art for, amongst others, Chris Rea for his 1989 The Road to Hell album.

In White Line Fever, Lemmy calls Bomber "a transitional record" but admits "there are a couple of really naff tracks on it, like 'Talking Head.'" In 1980 interview with Sounds, Clarke compared the LP unfavourably to Ace of Spades, stating "Bomber felt wrong. It wasn't all there".

One critic suggests that the album is well regarded by the fans, and packed full of essential Motörhead tracks, with "Dead Men Tell No Tales," "Stone Dead Forever" and the title track itself being phenomenally good metal songs, adding that, with the exception of the bluesy "Step Down," the tracks are full of the characteristic sound of the classic line-up of Lemmy, Clarke and Taylor, with Clarke’s solo in "All the Aces" described as "blistering" and Lemmy spitting out intentions to "poison his wife" in the life-reflecting "Poison" making it a sound of metal-dripping brilliance. Jason Birchmeier of AllMusic writes, "There are a couple killers here, namely "Dead Men Tell No Tales", "Stone Dead Forever," and "Bomber," but overall, the songs of Bomber aren't as strong as those of Overkill were. Granted, this is somewhat of a moot point to raise, as Bomber is still a top-shelf Motörhead album, one of their all-time best, without question." In 2011 Motörhead biographer Joel McIver wrote, "Some think that the effort of writing two killer albums in the space of a year was too much for Motörhead at this early stage, and that Bomber – released on October 27, seven months after its predecessor – couldn't hope to match up to Overkill".

A special double CD reissue of Bomber was released in June 2005 to coincide with Motörhead's 30th anniversary tour. The bonus tracks on the second CD, however, have all previously been available. In 2005, Bomber was ranked number 397 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time

Recorded in late summer 1979 and released by the end of the year, Bomber quickly followed up Overkill, Motörhead's landmark breakthrough album from earlier in the year. Bomber bears a lot in common with its fan-favorite predecessor. For starters, it features the classic Motörhead lineup: Lemmy (bass and vocals), "Fast" Eddie Clarke (guitar), and "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums). Also like Overkill, Bomber features the production grace of Jimmy Miller, the man responsible for the Rolling Stones' late-'60s/early-'70s albums, including such masterpieces as Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. And the music here on Bomber explodes on song after song, thanks to the crazed performances of the aforementioned bandmembers as well as the well-overdriven, ear-rattling production perfection of Miller. Actually, there's only one marked difference between Overkill and Bomber that's worth noting: the songs. There are a couple killers here, namely "Dead Men Tell No Tales," "Stone Dead Forever," and "Bomber," but overall, the songs of Bomber aren't as strong as those of Overkill were. Granted, this is somewhat of a moot point to raise, as Bomber is still a top-shelf Motörhead album, one of their all-time best, without question. But it does fall just a notch or two below Overkill and Ace of Spades, the latter of which would follow a year later and catapult the band to further acclaim. Bomber kicks ass, in any event, and its best moments are as superlative as any Motörhead would ever record. The band was really on fire during this point in time and could seemingly do no wrong.

Because sometimes you wanna listen to something challenging, and other times you just wanna listen to something that kicks ass and boogies at the same time. Motorhead is the latter to a tee. I'll also mention that while the band was hugely influential toward metal as a whole, their essence was never entirely captured by later bands. The reason being is that, at heart, Motorhead were a rock band that just so happened to define a lot of metal's musical language, whereas a lot of their imitators kinda discarded the "roll" part of rock 'n roll.. if that makes any sort of sense, i'm kind of tired right now.

This is definitely the lesser of the two albums they cut in 1979 (the other being the immortal Overkill), but this is still an insanely solid record that has the key traits that defined the band. Rock 'n roll supercharged into metallic fury, with a healthy dose of old school punk nastiness & sleaze thrown in. Songs are shortish for the most part, cram about as many hooks as you could shake anything at, Lemmy's voice is as beautifully ugly as it ever was etc. One of the things about Motorhead's approach - and a big reason why they deftly avoided coming off as formulaic for a long time - is that there was a really strong sense of groove that underpinned a lot of these songs, and so while they were always reliant on verse/chorus structure, there's an organic, from the gut quality to their writing that really stood out. Again, the 'roll' part of rock 'n roll..

Lemmy's voice is as vicious as he ever got in "Sweet Revenge". Vicious & crippling slower jam, with that awesome main riff to boot. "Stone Dead Forever" and the title song are perhaps the other two main highlights; the middle being a midpaced song and - again - really showcasing that wonderfully nasty sense of boogeying groove they had, not to mention the raw heaviness of those riffs & Lemmy's bass just growling along. "Bomber" is a faster song and really fuckin' viciously quick for its time. I like how Eddie's guitars sound like they're about to start disintegrating into sheet metal during the bridge. Also worth mentioning is "Step Down", one of the few songs Fast Eddie ever sang with the band - a nasty, mean-spirited slow bluesy jam.

Honestly this review didn't need to be this long. It's a fucking Motorhead album from the 70's; of course it's worth listening to! Like I said, it's not as brilliant as Overkill (and i'd say Ace of Spades is a hair above it), but it's sure as hell worth listening to.

Motörhead - 1979 - Overkill


01. Overkill 5:12
02. Stay Clean 2:43
03. (I Won't) Pay Your Price 2:57
04. I'll Be Your Sister 2:55
05. Capricorn 4:12
06. No Class 2:42
07. Damage Case 3:03
08. Tear Ya Down 2:42
09. Metropolis 3:37
10. Limb From Limb 4:57

Recorded at Roundhouse Studios and Sound Development Studios December 78 - January 79.

Lemmy: bass guitar, vocals, lead guitar
Fast Eddie Clarke: rhythm guitar, lead guitar
Philthy Animal Taylor: drums

Bronze Records signed Motörhead in 1978 and gave them time in Wessex Studios in London to record Richard Berry's "Louie Louie" and a new song by the band, "Tear Ya Down." The band toured to promote the single "Louie Louie," which became a modest hit, while Chiswick released the Motörhead album in white vinyl, to keep the momentum going. In the Classic Albums documentary on the making of Ace of Spades, Gerry Bron of Bronze Records admits:

"..The first time I heard Motörhead was when I listened to a single that I put out without hearing, which is "Louie Louie," and when I heard it I was absolutely horrified. I thought it was the worst record I've ever heard, so it was a bit of a shock. The bigger shock was, having put out a record I thought was terrible, it went straight into the charts at #72. But I actually put the record out as a favour.."

Sales of the single brought the band their first appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops, which gave Bronze the confidence to get the band back into the studio to record a second album.In the 2011 book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motörhead, biographer Joel McIver quotes guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke:

"..We had so many false starts and disappointments by the time Overkill came around in 1978 we had stored up a lot of energy and ideas – and we were just waiting for the opportunity to show what we could do. Also we had a great following, and we always felt we owed the fans who had been with us from the beginning.."

Speaking to James McNair of Mojo in 2011, vocalist and bassist Lemmy concurred:

" the time of Overkill we were getting our sound together.."

Overkill was co-produced by legendary producer Jimmy Miller, who had previously worked with Traffic and the Rolling Stones, and recorded at Roundhouse Studios and Sound Development Studios in London. '"Damage Case" was co-written by the band and Mick Farren of The Deviants. In his autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy claims that he wrote the words to "Metropolis" "in five minutes" after seeing the movie of the same name at the Electric Cinema in Portebello Road, and also claims that he always wanted Tina Turner to record "I'll Be Your Sister," insisting:

"..I like writing songs for women. In fact, I've written songs with women. I've been called a sexist by some factions of radical, frigid feminists (the kind who want to change the word manhole to personhole, that kind of crap), but they don't know what they're talking about.."

The title track is notable for Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor's use of two bass drums. In the documentary The Guts and the Glory the drummer recalls:

"..I always wanted to play two bass drums but I always said to myself, 'No, I'm not gonna be one of these wankers who goes on stage and has two bass drums and never even fuckin' plays 'em'. Not until I can play 'em. So I got this other bass drum and I used to get to rehearsals a couple of hours before the other guys and just practice, you know, just sit there going (mimes kicking with both feet) like running, or something like that...I was actually playing that riff, just trying to get my coordination right, when Eddie and Lemmy walked in, and I was just about to stop and they went, 'No, don't stop! Keep going!'...And that was how Overkill got written.."

Because if you can't get it up for "THE ONLY WAY TO FEEL THE NOISE IS WHEN IT'S GOOD AND LOUD", this band - or just loud guitar music in general - probably isn't gonna be your bag...

Terrific album that straddles the line between rock, metal, and punk like everything else Motorhead did to varying degrees over their career, before metal really became codified. Of course, it actually skews the most toward the former - some of the last traces of Lemmy's psychedelic past is here in "Capricorn", and in general the bedrock of their music is all those thick-ass rock 'n roll grooves all over the place, just played at locomotive speed. Take "Overkill": aside for the fact that it's the heaviest tune since "Symptom of the Universe", that main riff fuckin' boogies over that double bass groove; it just kicks so much ass that you almost don't realize it at first. Really, aside that That Line in the song (which might as well be something to fuckin' live by), that sums up what was great about Motorhead, and in particular how adept they were at crafting hooks without the songs feeling like they're completely in the service of them. Not to mention: the glorious fake endings of the song, and how Fast Eddie's bluesy solos sound like they're fuckin' melting after a certain point...

It's not just that song, even if "Overkill" is one of the greatest tunes anybody wrote and would justify the whole album's existence by itself. No, the rest of this album is fucking fantastic - "Stay Clean" is a little slower, a bit more groove and a lot of fuckin' bangage. Again, another example of how Lemmy's heart was always with rock 'n roll: that main riff shares more kinship with, say, 50's rock than it did later thrash metal; it's just performed in such an insanely ferocious manner. "Capricorn" is maybe the outlier of the record, an oddly space-out, psychedelic number that, as mentioned, is one of the last real stabs at such Lemmy and crew did, and it's surprisingly one of the highlights of the band's career - Lemmy's voice never sounded quite as assured as here (which is saying a fuckin' lot), and the little bluesy fills Eddie interjects into the chorus is some great shit. Special commendation also goes to "Limb From Limb", which starts out as this viciously menacing mid-paced number - that main riff being shades of Sabbath - constantly seeming like it's about to escalate, draws out this chord in the middle right before exploding into this raging quick basher of a song. There's a lot of albums faster than Overkill, even in Motorhead's catalog, but i'll be damned if the performances on this record don't make everything feel like it's going WAY faster than it actually is. Their sense of pacing was ridiculously fantastic too.

There isn't a song on here that's less than "good"; if anything it's their most consistently brilliant record. If you have to hear only one Motorhead album.. well, you should listen to most of 'em, but make it this one most of all.

Motörhead - 1977 - Motörhead


01. Motörhead
02. Vibrator
03. Lost Johnny
04. Iron Horse / Born To Lose
05. White Line Fever
06. Keep Us On The Road
07. The Watcher
08. Train Kept A Rollin'
Single B-Sides
09. City Kids

Beerdrinkers E.P.

01. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
02. On Parole
03. Instro
04. I'm Your Witch Doctor

Recorded at Escape Studios, Egerton in April/May 1977, at the same sessions that produced the first Motörhead album and single.

Lemmy Kilmister: Bass, Vocals
Fast Eddie Clarke: Guitars
Philthy Animal: Drums
Lucas Fox: Drums (track 3)

In May 1975, bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister was fired from Hawkwind after he was arrested at the Canadian/US border in Windsor, Ontario on drug possession charges. Lemmy later explained to Classic Albums that he had been at odds with the band because:

"..[I] did the wrong drugs, you know, I didn't do the designer drugs...I did the street stuff, so I was massively unpopular for that.."

After he got back to England, he put together a new band, which he wanted to, and temporary did, call Bastard; recruiting guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took's Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox to his side. The (at the time) manager Doug Smith stated to the band, that:

"..they wouldn't get on Top of the Pops with a name like Bastard.."

So he suggested Motorhead, as it was the last song Lemmy wrote with Hawkwind, which seemed fitting, so it became the name and history was written. They managed to get signed by United Artists, mainly because it was the label Hawkwind were signed with, and they recorded songs for an album at Rockfield Studios in Wales over the British winter of 1975–76, but United Artists doubted its commercial viability and refused to release it. The Umlaut over the second o was added later by Lemmy after he and Joe Petagno had talked, as the Hawkwind version of the song does not have it on the original release of the track.

On 1 April 1977, disheartened by their experience with United Artists and their lack of commercial success in general, the band – which had consisted of drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, who joined the band when it was clear Lucas Fox wasn't that committed, as he was also an acquaintance of Lemmy's from the 'bikie' drug scene who said to Lemmy when giving him a lift to the studio one day 'he could play the drums'; plus guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke, who Philthy knew from a house boat painting job he had, as Eddie was the foreman on site who had claimed he 'played guitar in some bands' previously; Eddie had originally joined the band as the second guitarist in what was to be a double guitar 4-piece, but Larry Wallis left shortly after for his own reasons – had decided to disband after playing one final show at the Marquee Club in London that year. Ted Carroll had started the Chiswick Records label after Lemmy had been fired from Hawkwind, and as they knew each other well from the rare 45 Record's store that Ted owned in London, Lemmy was a frequent customer, Ted decided to give them the break they needed, almost as a favour, because UA had shelved the album they had made over the British winter of 1975–76 in Wales; what would later be released as On Parole in 1979 by United Artists. As Clarke recalls in the documentary The Guts and the Glory:

"..It was going to be our farewell gig. I said, Let's get a mobile down at least to record the fuckin' year and a half we've been together and put something on the fuckin' tape, you know?.."

The band asked Chiswick label owner Ted Carroll to record the show but, according to Clarke:

"..the problem with the Marquee was they wanted 500 quid for doing a recording at the Marquee. Well, that was out of the question in those days.."

Carroll then offered the band two days at Escape Studios in Kent, England, to record a single with producer John "Speedy" Keen. As Clarke explained to John Robinson of Uncut in 2015, the band finished the gig at the Marquee and drove straight to the studio in Kent:

"..That was Friday night, so we had all Saturday and Sunday. We'd been playing these songs for a year, so we thought fuck it, we can do an album. In a few hours we had all the backing tracks down. Put the vocals down. Bit more speed, put some more guitars on. Few more beers – we were fucking steaming. Come Saturday night, we'd nearly finished it.."

As biographer Joel McIver recalls in his book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motörhead:

" the story goes, by the time Carroll came back to the studio to hear the results, the band had recorded no fewer than 11 tracks. Impressed, he paid for more studio time to allow them to complete an album. The album did well enough to ensure the band would remain together, but it would be their next album, 1979's Overkill, that proved to be their true breakthrough.."

For their eponymous album, the band chose to re-record the United Artists album in almost its entirety; only Fools and Leaving Here weren't re-recorded at these sessions. In addition, two new self-penned compositions, White Line Fever and Keep Us on the Road, were added, as well as a cover of John Mayall's Train Kept A-Rollin. Three tracks on the album were written by Lemmy when he was with Hawkwind, "Motorhead", "Lost Johnny," and "The Watcher," the latter a psychedelic acoustic piece. Like the band name itself, the song "Motorhead" (About this sound sample (help·info)) is a reference to speed – Lemmy's drug of choice til the day he died- and was coupled with the non-album track City Kids for release as 7" and 12" singles. In his autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy recalls that producer Speedy Keen and engineer John Burns:

"..were speeding out of their heads because they couldn't afford to go to sleep – they didn't have time, and they wanted to make an album as much as we did. They mixed twenty-four versions of Motörhead alone!.."

In the Classic Albums documentary on the making of Ace of Spades, Eddie Clarke states that Lemmy's bass style, which featured maximum Mid-Range on his Marshall amps, with the Bass and Treble nearly turned off, was unique and still is to this day:

"..Motörhead wasn't a straight forward outfit to play with because, with Lemmy's bass playing being the way it was, it made it slightly different than all the other bands you'd hear at the time because there was no real bass guitar – it was like a bass rhythm.."

Four remaining tracks from the session were shelved until 1980, when they were released on the Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers EP. In his memoir Lemmy noted:

"..Once again it was cash-in time – for the record labels, at least. I've never recorded more than we need since! But having said that, I don't begrudge Ted Carroll that – he saved my band.."

The B-side and the EP were later added as bonus tracks to the CD release. The band members were less than pleased with the album's muddled sound, however, with Joel McIver quoting Clarke in 2011:

"..That first album was pretty dreadful, the songs were good but the sound was shocking...It wasn't good enough, really. I wouldn't shell out four pounds for it.."

This is Motörhead's first "proper" studio album. They had previously recorded the On Parole album for United Artists Records, which was intended for a 1976 release date, but the record company refused to release it. For this album, the band chose to record On Parole again in almost its entirety, only "Fools" and "Leaving Here" weren't re-recorded at these sessions. In addition two new self-penned compositions were added in "White Line Fever" and "Keep Us on the Road", as well as a cover of "Train Kept a-Rollin'".

While thrash has its roots in punk rock and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, perhaps no band influenced the to the extent that Motörhead did. Ironically, Motörhead founder Lemmy Kilmister didn't listen to much punk and considered his band, which released its self-titled debut on Aug. 21, 1977, a faster, louder offshoot of his favorite artists: Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry.
“It’s all just rock and roll,” Kilmister told me in 2013. “From the start, this is how we’ve always done it. You write some songs, turn your amps up and start playing. And when you’ve reached the end of one song you start the next one.”

From the start, Motörhead were ahead of the curve. Having been a member of the psychedelic freak rock band Hawkwind -- from which he was fired after getting arrested in Windsor, Ontario, on drug possession charges -- Kilmister was used to taking chances and going against the grain. Motörhead were named after a song Kilmister wrote for Hawkwind and the band’s first studio release featured two other Hawkwind songs, “Lost Johnny” and the “The Watcher.” The rest of the album, with the exception of “Keep Us on the Road” and “White Line Fever” featured songs the band wrote for 1976’s On Parole, which the band’s UK label refused to release until 1979.
“We were already a machine when we recorded that [self-titled] album,” Kilmister says. “We had been playing the songs live for a year so we knew what we were doing. It was just a matter of doing them a little louder maybe a little faster.”

One major difference between On Parole and Motörhead is that the latter featured guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke on every song. Clarke would remain with the band until 1982, when he quit after recording Iron Fist (he was upset that the band agreed to record a version of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” with Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics). “Before ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke we had Larry Wallis on guitar,” Kilmister says. “It was strange because he kept going on about how we needed another guitar player so we would sound stronger. So we got Eddie and then Larry left. So obviously, he was trying to leave, but not leave us stuck. It took me a couple years to see that.”
Clarke played blues-based guitar, but he could also fire off metallic solos and coupled with Kilmister’s raspy vocals and distorted, trebly bass and Philthy Animal Taylor’s crashing beats, Motörhead were the sonic equivalent of a fireworks factory explosion. In addition to capturing the band’s galvanic live performance, Motörhead is enhanced with the raw fury of guitars being mangled, the thunderous echo of amps being kicked over and, on “The Watcher,” spacey, processed vocals. The volatility of the entire recording exemplified the chemistry of the musicians that made it.

“We fought all the time,” Kilmister said. “Eddie’s not a man to back down, and him and Phil were not afraid to use their fists, so you’d get them fighting in the back room all the time.”

The band started recording its debut at Escape Studios in Kent, England right after playing a gig in London at the Marquee. The owner of Chaswick Records, Ted Carroll, paid for them to record a couple songs for a single over a weekend with producer Speedy Keen. Since they were amped up and had a surplus of material they finished 11 songs over three days. Impressed, Carroll paid for additional studio time and the band finished the record, as well as five bonus tracks, which Big Beat held onto until the album was reissued in 1988.

Standout cuts on Motörhead include the roaring title track, the trippy head-slammer “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” and “White Line Fever,” which is redolent of Jimi Hendrix, for whom Kilmister used to roadie (“I was in charge of getting Jimi his drugs”). Elsewhere, Kilmister plays a sweet, meandering bass solo in “Keep Us on the Road,” and the band barely keep the wheels on the rail on an amphetamine-fueled cover of Tiny Bradshaw’s “The Train Kept A-Rollin’."
Motörhead was available as an import in the United States from the time it was released and many specialty record stores stocked the album, but it didn’t receive a proper release in the States until 1988 when Roadracer added the title to its catalog. Amazingly, none of the band’s first four albums came out on a U.S. label until after the live album No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith came out in 1981.
“Nobody wanted to know us in America,” Kilmister says. “We fell between the old surge of heavy metal like Deep Purple and just before the new surge of heavy metal, which was Iron Maiden and bands like that. So we were pretty f---ed, really. We couldn’t get signed in America until No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith was No. 1 [in the U.K.] and that [was after] Ace of Spades was No. 4 and Bomber was No. 6.

“I don’t think we were cute enough,” he concluded. “Back then, all the big rock stars always looked like Motley Crue. They’re a great rock band but they were very effeminate in the early days. We never had that dubious advantage. But we certainly always had the rough end of the metal scene who were our fans. There weren’t many Yes fans with us, but we got a lot of listening. We had people who actually listened to us and we were lucky there because a lot of people don’t listen. They listen to the pace or the volume, they don’t listen to the lyrics or the music.”