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Motorhead's Top 10 Songs

Motorhead's Top 10 Songs

The Loudest Band on Earth released their first album ‘Motorhead’ in 1977 and brought their custom punk-inspired rock and roll to fans around the world for four decades. They were categorized as being hard rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, and speed metal, and while they influenced bands across all of those genres, their leader, bass player, and lead vocalist, Lemmy Kilmister, insisted that they were rock and roll band inspired by the punk music scene more than any other. That certainly comes through in their music. 

They played fast and raw; inspired by their need to cater to their own vision and nothing else. They were treated as rock gods by the fans, downplayed by most critics, and largely ignored by the mainstream over their long and storied careers that left us with twenty-three studio albums, ten live records, twelve compilation albums, and five EPs.
With more than two hundred and fifty tracks to choose from, picking just ten is a daunting task, but…

Here are the Top 10 Motorhead Songs: 

10: “Born To Raise Hell” - ‘Airheads’ Soundtrack

Although the band released “Born To Raise Hell” as a single in November 1994, it was originally released as the opening track on August’s ‘Airheads’ soundtrack, and Lemmy makes a cameo appearance in the film.

 The single features contributions from Ice-t and Ugly Kid Joe frontman Whitfield Crane, and at 2016’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival, long-time Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell was joined by his band The Bastard Sons and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider to perform the song live as a tribute to Lemmy. Unfortunately for the world, Lemmy passed away on December 28th, 2015. 

Born To Raise Hell


9: “Bomber” - ‘Bomber’

The 1979 album’s title track peaked at number thirty-four on the UK charts and gave fans a look into a part of Lemmy’s life that they were previously denied. He was a collector of WW2 memorabilia, and this song showcased that. It raised some controversy, but in typical Lemmy fashion, he didn’t care and even leaned into it by having the band’s stage show include a forty-foot WW2 bomber built into the light trusses. “Bomber” is an essential, heavy Motorhead track. 

Motörhead – Bomber (Official Video)

8: “Motorhead” - ‘Motorhead’

As a member of Hawkwind, “Motorhead” was the last song Lemmy wrote before being fired from the band in 1975. He explained the song’s origins: 

“I was on tour with Hawkwind in 1974, we were staying at the Riot House and Roy Wood and Wizzard were also in town. I got this urge to write a song in the middle of the night. I ran downstairs to the Wizzard room, got Roy's Ovation acoustic guitar, then hurried back to mine. I went onto the balcony and howled away for four hours. Cars were stopping and the drivers were listening then driving off, and there I was yelling away at the top of my voice…The six thousand miles was a reference to Los Angeles, and the rest is self-explanatory. And yes, I am the only person to fit the word 'parallelogram' into a rock'n'roll number! I'm very proud of that.”

Lemmy suggested he was fired from Hawkwind for his preference for amphetamines over “downers.” How very fitting. 

Motorhead - Motorhead (Remastered full length official music video)

7: “Doctor Rock” - ‘Orgasmatron’

The next-to-last track on Motorhead’s seventh studio album, “Doctor Rock” is one of the most underrated tracks on their most underappreciated album. It was their first album to feature two guitarists and the first without Filthy Phil Taylor on drums, and the guitar addition adds to the depth of “Doctor Rock” wonderfully. It was the opening song the first time I saw them on tour, and I’ll never forget that chainsaw-type buzz of the guitar to open a rock show. 

Motörhead - Doctor Rock

6: “Iron Horse / Born To Lose” - ‘Motorhead’

This song has the perfect mix of sludge on the blues groove, accented by frenetic guitarwork. “Iron Horse” sounds underproduced because it is; the whole album is. That’s what adds to the charm of the group’s first album. Iron horse is a reference to a motorcycle, and the song was written for one of Lemmy’s biker friends. 

Motörhead - Iron Horse - Born To Lose


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5: “Hellraiser” - ‘March or Die’

Lemmy collaborated with Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde to write “Hellraiser.” Ozzy recorded and released it on his 1991 ‘No More Tears’ album before It was released by  Motorhead on their 1992 ‘March or Die’ album and as a single. 

On October 29, 2021, a 30th-anniversary version of the song was released. It features both Ozzy and Lemmy's vocals, with Ozzy as the prominent voice. There is also a video featuring Lemmy playing poker with Pinhead - the villain from the ‘Hellraiser’ movie franchise. 

Motörhead - Hellraiser (Tonight Show with Jay Leno 1992) (HD 60fps)

4: “Overkill” - ‘Overkill’

In 1975, Lemmy joked that the band “will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die.” In 1979, fans were given something to test that theory when they wrote and released “Overkill.” It’s heavy, loud, and most likely lawn-killing. As a bonus, the drums would inspire thrash and heavy metal drummers for years to come. 

Motörhead – Overkill (Official Video)

3: “Killed By Death” - ‘No Remorse’

1984 represented a resurrection of sorts for the band, and "Killed by Death" led the way. ‘No Remorse’ is a compilation album that introduced fans to only four new tracks, and was the first with an all-new lineup. Drummer Phil Taylor left with guitarist Brian Robertson to start a new band. Robertson left Thin Lizzy to join Motorhead, replacing Eddie Clarke in 1982. 

"Killed by Death" accentuates everything that makes Motorhead great; Lemmy’s wordplay and bourbon-aided rasp paired with the straight-line agression that fans expect. It was a staple of almost every live show and is fourth most played song in the band's long history. The music video, linked below, is pretty amazing stuff, and definitely added to the song’s popularity. 

Motörhead – Killed By Death (Official Video)

2: “Stay Clean” - ‘Overkill’

The band is named after a slang term for ‘speedfreak,’ but Lemmy was always clear about his opposition to heroin, and “Stay Clean” was one his messages about the dangers of it.  Overtly, the lyrics address “integrity, conscience and honesty,” but the underlying message seems pretty clear. Fast Eddie’s guitar riff elevates the song throughout, including his hard blues solo, until Lemmy’s galloping bass solo ending. Although I can’t in good faith rank this their best song, it is my favorite Motorhead track. 

Motörhead – Stay Clean (Official Video)

1: “Ace of Spades” - ‘Ace of Spades’

Motorhead’s debut release in the US tun out to be the most important event in the history of the band. ‘Ace of Spades’ is their most successful album, and has become an important album in music history. The title track is one of the most recognizable tracks in music history and is one of its greatest anthems. It belongs not only on this top ten list, but on a all-time top ten list of rock and roll’s most iconic songs. 

In his autobiography, Lemmy says about the song: “I used gambling metaphors, mostly cards and dice – when it comes to that sort of thing, I'm more into the slot machines actually, but you can't really sing about spinning fruit, and the wheels coming down. Most of the song's just poker, really - ‘I know you've got to see me, read ‘em and weep, Dead man's hand again, aces and eights’ - that was Wild Bill Hickock's hand when he got shot. To be honest, although “Ace of Spades” is a good song, I'm sick to death of it now. Two decades on, when people think of Motörhead, they think “Ace of Spades.” We didn't become fossilised after that record, you know. We've had quite a few good releases since then. But the fans want to hear it so we still play it every night. For myself, I've had enough of that song.”

Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (Official Video) 

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