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Phil, Mikkey and Lemmy

Motörhead are a canonical speed metal band. Their name derives from a slang term for an amphetamine user. Founded by ex-Hawkwind bassist Lemmy Kilmister in 1975, they specialise in songs that are extremely loud to the unaccustomed listener. The title of one of their live albums, Everything Louder Than Everyone Else, reflects this assertion.

While the band are typically classified as heavy metal or speed metal, Lemmy has refused such labels, preferring to describe Motörhead's style as "rock and roll". Their sound tends to be "half metal, half punk, and half rock 'n roll" — purposefully adding up to three halves of a band. Motörhead's lyrics generally cover topics such as war, good and evil, abuse of power, substance abuse and "life on the road" - the latter for which they wrote songs like "We Are The Road Crew", "Iron Horse", and "Keep Us On The Road".

Contents

History

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The classic line-up. From left to right: Philthy Animal Taylor, Lemmy Kilmister and Fast Eddie Clarke.

After being sacked from Hawkwind in 1975, supposedly for "doing the wrong drugs", Lemmy decided to form a new band, originally to be called "Bastard". Realising that this would preclude them from commercial acceptance, he eventually settled on "Motörhead", after a song he had written for Hawkwind. Lemmy's stated aim was for the outfit to be "the dirtiest rock 'n' roll band in the world".

The first line-up of the band featured Larry Wallis (ex-Pink Fairies) on guitar and Lucas Fox on drums. They recorded sessions at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, during which Fox left to be replaced by drum virtuoso Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. The sessions did not see the light of day until they were opportunistically released in 1979 once the band was becoming popular. Deciding that two guitarists were required, the band recruited "Fast" Eddie Clarke, but Wallis left during the auditions and so the idea was shelved. The team of Lemmy, Clarke and Taylor is today regarded as the "classic" Motörhead line-up, although initial reactions were unfavourable: they memorably won a poll for "Worst Band in the World" in one music magazine.

The band's first official album release was the self-titled Motörhead, released in 1977. By this time the standard of their performances had improved considerably, and the uncompromising nature of their music was beginning to garner a following from the worlds of both metal and punk. Follow-up albums Overkill and Bomber cemented their reputation as one of Britain's foremost heavy metal groups.

In the early 1980s they experienced UK Top 40 chart hits with singles such as "Ace of Spades", the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP (their collaboration with 'apprentices' Girlschool) and Iron Fist. "Ace of Spades" is considered by many to be the definitive Motörhead anthem. The albums Ace of Spades and the live No Sleep 'til Hammersmith from this era are also considered to be among their best work and were their most commercially successful.

In 1982, Motörhead recorded a cover of Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man with Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics. Clarke felt that this compromised the band's principles and resigned to be replaced by Brian Robertson, formerly with Thin Lizzy. Robertson only lasted for one album (1983's Another Perfect Day) having caused friction in the band due to his refusal to play their most popular tunes. The group then returned to the concept of dual guitars and hired Wurzel and Phil Campbell to fill these roles. Mainstream success has dwindled since then but the band still have a large and loyal fanbase and continue to record and tour extensively. Many artists of the modern era cite Motörhead as an important influence.

Motörhead are well-known in the professional wrestling community for performing popular wrestler Triple H's entrance music, "The Game," beginning in 2000. In addition to the track being heard live nearly every Monday on WWE RAW and at numerous other wrestling shows, they have performed the song live at two WrestleMania events, WrestleMania X-Seven and WrestleMania 21. They also provided the entrance music for Triple H's Faction, Evolution.

In 2005, Motörhead picked up their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category for their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash".

The umlaut over the ö in their name is a record-cover art conceit, possibly derived from the similar "heavy metal umlaut" in the name of the Blue Öyster Cult. However, the band's name is not pronounced as the German usage; instead, Lemmy pronounces it (IPA) //. Lemmy is also quoted to have: 'put the umlaut on the middle-O in order to make the name more 'German-looking', meaner!'

Line-ups

Lemmy is the only member of Motörhead who has been in all of the line-ups, although Phil Taylor has played with all of the guitarists (Larry Wallis, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, Brian Robertson, Phil Campbell and Wurzel). (Note: The drummer on March or Die is Tommy Aldridge)

1975 (On Parole) - initial line-up

1976 (temporary line-up, no recorded material)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • Larry Wallis - guitar
  • "Fast" Eddie Clarke - guitar
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor - drums

1976-1982 (Motörhead, Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, Iron Fist)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • "Fast" Eddie Clarke - guitar, vocals
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor - drums

1983 (Another Perfect Day)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • Brian Robertson - guitar
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor - drums

1984-1987 (No Remorse, Orgasmatron)

1987-1992 (Rock 'n' Roll, No Sleep At All, 1916, March or Die)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • Phil Campbell - guitar
  • Wurzel - guitar
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor - drums

1992-1995 (March or Die, Bastards, Sacrifice)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • Phil Campbell - guitar
  • Wurzel - guitar
  • Mikkey Dee - drums

1995-present (Overnight Sensation, Snake Bite Love, Everything Louder Than Everyone Else, We Are Motörhead, Hammered, Live At Brixton Academy The Complete Concert, Inferno)

  • Lemmy Kilmister - bass, vocals
  • Phil Campbell - guitar
  • Mikkey Dee - drums

Discography

Albums

(In order of UK release date)

EPs

Videography

VHS

  • 1982 Live In Toronto - Castle Hendering
  • 1984 Another Perfect Day EP
  • 1985 Birthday Party
  • 1986 Deaf Not Blind
  • 1988 EP
  • 1991 Everything louder Than Everything Else

DVD

Snaggletooth

Snaggletooth on Motörhead's first album.
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Snaggletooth on Motörhead's first album.

Snaggletooth (full name Snaggletooth B. Motörhead) is the name of the fanged face that acts as a symbol for Motörhead. It was created by artist Joe Petagno in 1977 for the cover of the band's first released album. It has remained a symbol of Motörhead throughout the years, with Petagno creating many variations of the Snaggletooth for the covers of many following albums (e.g. Overkill, Bomber, Orgasmatron).

External links

da:Motörhead de:Motörhead fr:Motörhead ja:モーターヘッド pl:Motörhead sv:Motörhead

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