Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Remembering MOTÖRHEAD – Motörhead

Motörhead – Motörhead (Chiswick Records, 1977)

With the recent passing of Ian Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015) I’ve decided to revisit the entire Motörhead discography. As an homage but also as a way to mourn this immortal legend of rock and roll.

After being kicked off of Hawkwind, his previous band for doing the wrong kind of drugs, presumably cocaine, Lemmy Kilmister formed Motörhead for the name of the last song he wrote for Hawkwind. The line-up on the first LP by Motörhead was Lemmy on vocal duties and his legendary bass, Fast Eddie Clarke on the guitar and backing vocals, and Phil Philty Animal Taylor on the drums. To many Motörhead fans, this is the classic line-up for the band. Recording most of the band’s greatest hits it is quite understandable that many feel they are the most legendary players of the band. Ironically, two members of the classic line-up have disappeared at the end of 2015. Phil Philty Animal Taylor died in November leaving Fast Eddie Clarke as the last remaining actor of the elevation of rock and roll to another level in music.

Released in 1977, the same year that Eagles released Hotel California, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Pink Floyd’s Animals, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, the self-titled The Clash, David Bowie’s Low, and Wire’s Pink Flag. This selection of the best albums of the year demonstrates how music was at a turning point between mainstream and underground. Motörhead brought edge, intensity, with faster music, a heavier sound and a penchant for Black Sabbath, Jimmy Hendrix, and bluesy rock.

It was about playing louder than everything else and being closer to rock and roll. The likes of Chuck Berry are more than influences on Kilmister. They are his gospel. Lemmy always shouted out loud that he was playing rock and roll and nothing else. He played his own particular kind of rock and roll with loose approach and a peculiar sense of live loudness.
The eight songs on Motörhead are the perfect example of Motörhead’s sense of loud version of rock. In fact, from there you have the pattern for early punk, heavy metal, thrash metal, black metal, and death metal.

With the songs Motörhead, Iron Horse/Born To Loose, Lost Johnny, and The Watcher you have stellar legend songs of the most important music act of heavy rock. Even the lesser The Train Kept A Rolling and The Vibrator are engaging and yet White Line Fever really has an edge that transcends musical trends and time.

This is not a surprise that only two years after this first effort, Motörhead will release one of their first of a series of masterful records with Overkill in 1979.

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