While Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, speed metal or thrash metal (and often regarded as a foundational influence on the latter two syles); Lemmy dislikes such labels, preferring to describe the band's music simply as "rock and roll". Motörhead's approach has remained the same over the band's career, preferring to play what they enjoy and do best, their like for the early rock and roll is reflected in some of their occasional cover songs. Motörhead's lyrics typically cover such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and "life on the road". World-wide the band has sold more than 41 million albums.
The band's distinctive fanged face logo was created by artist Joe Petagno in 1977 for the cover of the Motörhead album and has appeared in many variations on covers of ensuing albums.
Initially released as a 7" vinyl single on October 27, 1980 as a preview to the album Ace of Spades and autumn tour, Bronze Records also released a 12" vinyl pressing in special 'Christmas' picture sleeves, limited to 50,000 copies. The picture of the band in Santa outfits used on the cover was taken whilst the band were on tour at the Aylesbury Fair. In November the song reached #15 in the UK Singles Chart. The song is considered to be the definitive Motörhead anthem, and "put a choke on the English music charts and proved to all that a band could succeed without sacrificing its blunt power and speed". It is considered to be a metal masterpiece.
For the lyrics, Lemmy said he "used gambling metaphors, mostly cards and dice - when it comes to that sort of thing, I'm more into the one-arm bandits actually, but you can't really sing about spinning fruit, and the wheels coming down".
In September 1993 WGAF Records re-released the original 1980s track on CD-single, cassette single, 12" vinyl picture sleeve and picture disc versions, the song was covered with "Louie Louie", "Dirty Love", and "Ace of Spades (The CCN Remix)", and although the band were not too pleased with the CCN Remix version, this single reached #23 in the UK charts.
The song ranked in at #10 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at #27 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. (read more...)
"If this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die."
People don't read any more. It's a sad state of affairs. Reading's the only thing that allows you to use your imagination. When you watch films it's someone else's vision, isn't it? — Interview in the English newspaper The Independent, 15 October 2005.
"We've never had a good world, we don't understand how to make it a good world. the only thing we've learned in 2000 years of civilization is how to kill more people from further away, so we don't have to see it. our mindset hasn't improved at all."
"Safe sex, safe music, safe clothing, safe hair spray, safe ozone layer. Too late! Everything that's been achieved in the history of mankind has been achieved by not being safe."
"The only time I've seen any rebellion was in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. The rest of it you can keep."
"One thing I am very glad of is that I went through the sixties. People who didn't really don't know what they missed. We pushed a certain consciousness, a way of life and it was exciting - no AIDS, people weren't dying so much from drug abuse and it was truly a time of freedom and change."
"That was a great time, the summer of '71 - I can't remember it, but I'll never forget it!"
"If you think you are too old to rock 'n roll then you are."