10 Best Motorhead Songs
The best Motorhead songs mix punk and metal seamlessly, all the while earning respect and reverence from the likes of Metallica and just about every other metal outfit on the planet. The band’s signature sound – frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s whisky-drenched, gravelly growl, thrashtastic riffs and ominously thunderous percussion — has remained in tact since the mid-1970s. The band is consistent, and never fails to deliver anthemic, gritty and fast metal, even as the individual members approach their late ’60s. In honor of their enduring (and continually growing) legacy, we’ve selected the 10 Best Motorhead Songs from their expansive and extensive catalog.
‘Motorhead’ is one of the fastest and most punk rock Motorhead songs. It also serves as the band’s birth announcement, declaring: This is who we are and what we will always sound like. The song is aggressive, loaded with three chords and Lemmy’s gargled-with-acid vocals. Like a fine wine, Motorhead improved with age, but this eponymous song indicated just how good they would be for the long haul.
Kilmister wrote this song with Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wyde in 1991 for the Ozzman’s ‘No More Tears’ album. However, Motorhead re-recorded the tune for ‘Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth’ and for their 10th album ‘March or Die.’ It’s as dirt-caked as it is catchy. It is also one of the most commercial Motorhead songs, without giving up on the signature grit.
‘(We Are) The Road Crew’
‘(We Are) The Road Crew’ is an ode to the hedonism of life on the road – women, hotels, beer, gigs, bleeding ears– featuring all the Motorhead sonic hallmarks, and a touch of bluesy riffing. It’s certainly required listening for any rocker that wants to join a band. That’s why it’s one of the 10 Best Motorhead Songs.
Raise your first. Your ‘Iron First,’ that is. As fast as lightning, this song is the perfect execution of the Motorhead-designed thrash and punk rock hybrid. Ripping solos, percussion as immediate as your own heartbeat and the Lemster’s gravelly vocals all reign supreme.
‘Built for Speed’
The engines rev ‘Built for Speed,’ which is one of the 10 Best Motorhead songs because it’s tougher than the leather jackets that Lemmy wears. It doesn’t veer from the band’s established formula; it builds (for speed, of course) on it.
‘Born to Raise Hell’
‘Born to Raise Hell’ was used in the opening credits of the music industry comedy ‘Airheads,’ which features Lemmy in a cameo. It’s also pretty much the song that should have played when Lemmy entered the world. It shows the “rawk” side of Motorhead, with the fist-pumping chorus and an assist from rocker/rapper Ice-T and Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe and Life of Agony fame. Quite a hellraising trinity.
‘Orgasmastron’ isn’t about a sex goddess robot, although the title might suggest it if your mind tends to live in the gutter. It’s actually one of the sludgiest Motorhead songs, vocally speaking, addressing politics in the lyrics. It’s chunky riffs will put hair on your chest.
Besides the fact that Metallica covered the song as a birthday gift to Lemmy, ‘Overkill’ is quintessential Motorhead from start to finish because of its sludgy sound and thrash riffing. There is nothing clean or polished about Motorhead — which the fans prefer — and this song is a textbook example of that beloved imperfection.
‘Killed By Death’
‘Killed by Death’ mixes the thud of metal with the grit of Lemmy’s Jack Daniels-soaked voice. It’s gnarly as it gets. Did we mention that it’s fast and furious, too? Well, we didn’t really need to, since that defines most of Motorhead, thankfully.
‘Ace of Spades’
The Ace of Spades is the card in the deck that players covet. The tune by the same name also tops the list of 10 Best Motorhead Songs as it is flawless in its fusing of the band’s punk rock pacing and ethos, the dirty metal production, the nasty riffing and the overall badassness that is Motorhead into one sonic Molotov cocktail. It’s a riff-roaring anthem that’s among the most iconic hard rock tunes of all time.