With an influence that was more than just wide-reaching, Motörhead touched a multitude of genres and broke into the mainstream….no mean feat when you made as much noise as Motörhead did!
But, as highly lauded as they are, the vast majority of their recorded output seems to be overlooked – or completely ignored – in favour of the albums they recorded with the ‘classic’ line-up of Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and “Philthy Animal” Taylor.
While casual fans may only know the early classics from the more well known aforementioned trio, all true Motörheadbangers know that the band never stopped writing great music, no matter what the line-up and no matter what the era.
So, in order to highlight some of Motörhead‘s ‘later’ treasures, Worship Metal presents The Ten Best Motörhead Songs From 1984 – 2015…..
10. “Victory Or Die”
From the album: Bad Magic (2015)
This lead off track from Motörhead‘s final studio album was the epitome of kick ass rock ‘n’ roll from a band that had been raising hell for 40 years and an astonishing 22 studio albums! In Lemmy, they had a leader who may have been suffering from numerous serious health problems but could still deliver an album with more hunger and vitality than bands a quarter of their age.
“Victory Or Die” – how Motörhead is that title! – is the essence of Motörhead distilled into just over 3 minutes of bellicose rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not big, it’s not smart but holy shit it’s one hell of a good listen and an amazing way to usher in the final chapter in Motörhead‘s unparalleled legacy!
9. “Take The Blame”
From the album: Snake Bite Love (1998)
If ever proof was needed that Motörhead could do heavy metal with the best of them, then this song is as good as any a place to start!
Lyrically the band are talking aim at Politicians and their treatment of us ordinary folk, which became something of a go to topic for the band as the years went by. In 1998, many of the old school were pushing away from heavy metal but, on this track, Motörhead fully embraced it.
From Phil Campbells scything riffs, to ‘that’ ever present bass rumble topped off with Mikkey Dee beating seven shades of shit out of his drums, “Take The Blame” was the Motörhead equivalent of being given a good shoeing by the school bully!
From the album: 1916 (1991)
How do you classify “1916”? Is it a song or a poem with musical accompaniment?
1916 was, like most Motörhead albums, a generally upbeat affair until it came to this, the closing number and one listen to it is enough to dampen even the brightest of moods.
The lyrics appear to be the dying thoughts of a young man during the great war with Lemmys choice of words and phrasing proving simply stunning throughout. Even the coldest of hearts can’t fail to be moved by lines such as “and I fell by his side and that’s how we died, clinging like kids to each other” and “and I called for my mother but she never came, though it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t to blame”; both portraying the horrors of war perfectly.
If there was any justice in the world, “1916” would be held in the same regard as the acclaimed “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle.
From the album: Sacrifice (1995)
The title track of Motörhead‘s twelfth studio album found our heroes in typically bullish form and playing to their strengths. Namely, unleashing bruising riffs courtesy of Phil Campbell and Würzel, earth shattering drums from Mikkey Dee and a typically scathing vocal from Lemmy that has him sounding like he’s chewing broken glass (which he did most of the time, to be fair).
Songs like this are your typical Motörhead fodder, loud, fast and obnoxious and designed to make you headbang like a lunatic and leave your ears bleeding from the aural hiding they’ve just received. Which is exactly what “Sacrifice” provided!
6. “Love Can’t Buy You Money”
From the album: Overnight Sensation (1996)
Ovenight Sensation saw Motörhead revert back to being a trio for the first time since Another Perfect Day with Phil Campbell quoted as saying he felt additional pressure now that he was the sole guitarist. Well, if that was the case then he kept his jitters well hidden! “Love Can’t Buy You Money” carries you along on a great big fuck off groove of a riff.
This mid tempo rocker proved that despite line-up changes, Motörhead in the mid-90’s were still operating at full throttle with Lemmy at his belligerant best delivering lines like “Shut your mouth or you might get the dentist you deserve” with barely concealed spite.
5. “In The Name Of Tragedy”
From the album: Inferno (2004)
Producer Cameron Webb has been widely praised as helping to rejuvenate Motörhead and “In The Name Of Tragedy” certainly has our heroes sounding their brutal, yet melodic, best.
This track has everything you can possibly ask for in a Motörhead song, from great lyrics to urgent bruising riffs and a typically effective performance behind the kit from Mikkey Dee, who’s thoughful use of double bass really gives the song some added welly!
Motörhead were rarely this ferocious.
4. “Brotherhood Of Man”
From the album: The World Is Yours (2010)
Coming on like the infernal bastard child of “Orgasmatron”, this tune – for the want of a better word – had Lemmy pouring scorn and vitriol on mankind as only he knows how and in true iconic Motörhead fashion!
Put simply, the lyrics to this song read like a hate letter to the human race, telling us to catch ourselves on before it’s too late (surprisingly prescient considering the current state of play just 7 years later).
Musically,”Brotherhood Of Man” was thunderously heavy and – as befits such a depressing topic – suitably oppressive. Proving Motörhead knew that it wasn’t always about playing as fast as you can!
3. “Killed By Death”
From the album: No Remorse (1984)
Recorded for the No Remorse compilation after record label Bronze wouldn’t let the band record a new album, “Killed By Death” became a live staple and rock club classic. Along with three other new songs (“Snaggletooth”, “Steal Your Face” and “Locomotive”) featured on No Remorse, “Killed By Death” would mark the recording debut of the Lemmy, Campbell, Wurzel and Gill line-up.
To put things bluntly, if you don’t know this song you have no business visiting this website….it’s a stone-cold classic!
2. “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me”
From the album: Bastards (1993)
After the ill fated March or Die, “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” was an obvious highlight from the return to form that was 1993’s Bastards .
“Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” saw the band in full, earnest ballad mode. The mostly acoustic music was sparse throughout and even when it gets “heavy”, it’s only for a short period and remains rather restrained….which is not often a word used in conjunction with Motörhead!
Despite the rambunctious nature of many Motörhead songs, Lemmy was a thoughful and intelligent lyricist; which this song proves in spades. This is a lesson in how to portray true pain and anguish without coming off as insincere and when coupled with Lemmy’s raw, yet warm, delivery, this song becomes an absolute gutwrenching classic that demands to be heard more.
From the album: Orgasmatron (1986)
Lemmy may have maintained that Motörhead were never really a heavy metal band but just one listen to this absolute beast of a track would have you doubting the great man instantly.
Containing only three verses based on religion, politics and war, it’s fair to say Lemmy’s lyrics are probably more relevant than when he wrote them nearly 40 years ago….and when delivered in his gritty,monotonous style it just adds further weight to the malevolence.
Musically the band operate at what amounts to a snails pace for Motörhead – with that now famous grinding, repetitive riff conjuring feelings of impending doom – but “Orgasmatron” remains a cornerstone of Motorhead’s work and somewhat of an anomaly in their back catalogue.