Motorhead's Ace of Spades Record

Motorhead's Ace of Spades Record

Wassup fellow headbangers, I promise I didn't forget about you all! Life's kept me busy from my music making and take creating. So this day we go back in time to November 8th, 1980, the day that Motorhead's iconic Ace of Spades album was released.

So first thing to point out, the album cover. It has more of the wild west theme to it. This ended up being a pretty big change compared to their usual bad ass mascot, "Snaggletooth". Really the album cover changed slightly once this album was remastered in 2005. Can you spot the tiny differences? It took awhile for me to.

Motorhead's Ace of Spades Record

Anyway, so this was Motorhead's 4th album released, after other albums such as Overkill and Bomber. By this time in 1980, these guys became well known through constant touring and television performances. Yet they considered themselves a rock n roll band, their wild, fast, "in your face" sound appealed equally among punks and metal heads. They were also very influential in the birth of thrash metal, influencing bands such those in "the big 4" (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer). Motorhead also got labeled as a part of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or NWOBHM, grouped with other bands like Saxon, Def Leppard, and Iron Maiden.

Recording Ace of Spades didn't take long for the Motorhead guys to do. Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister (bass/vocals), Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums), and "Fast" Eddie Clark" (guitar) worked with Vic Maile through August and September of 1980. This is the tracking list for the album (well the original version)..

1. "Ace of Spades"

2. "Love Me Like A Reptile"

3. "Shoot You In The Back"

4. "Live To Win"

5. "Fast And Loose"

6. "(We Are) The Road Crew"

7. "Fire, Fire"

8. "Jailbait"

9. "Dance"

10. "Bite The Bullet"

11. "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch"

12. "The Hammer"

Maile worked with other bands like The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin and happened to come across Lemmy Kilmister at the time he was in the space rock band Hawkwind. During Hawkwind's time Maile had a mobile recording studio that the band ended up using.

Some of the most popular songs from this album are "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch", "We Are The Road Crew" and the iconic "Ace of Spades", which ended up being a hit single. In Lemmy's autobiography "White Line Fever", Lemmy talks about that 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.."

It does ring true that even to this day, may people associate Motorhead with "Ace of Spades". My theory is that its partially due to how much Lemmy loved poker. However he did admit one thing about singing a part of it..

"..I'm glad we got famous for that rather than for some turkey, but I sang 'The eight of spades' for two years and nobody noticed.."

"(We Are) The Road Crew", as you can tell by the name, was written as a tribute to the roadies that travelled and worked with Motorhead. For sure the roadies had to have felt quite honored to have a bad ass song dedicated to them. The songwriting is also influenced from how Lemmy was once a roadie himself, for the bands The Nice and Jimi Hendrix.

Like any other rock & roll/heavy metal band of their time, Motorhead got the heat from opposing views. Songs like "Love Me Like A Reptile", "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch", and "Jailbait" obviously have a more sexual nature to them, which drew the attention of feminists, music critics, heavily religious folks, etc. I know probably for sure it drew even more attention when Lemmy and Wendy O Williams performed songs like "Jailbait" together.

Motorhead's Ace of Spades Record

One I don't understand though is how around this time, Motorhead was also able to go on a children's TV show in the U.K. You'd think it wouldn't be allowed to happen lol.

The Ace of Spades album got re-released in 1996 and included the bonus tracks "Dirty Love", "Please Don't Touch" and "Emergency". The last 2 were from a collaboration Motorhead did with the band Girlschool, which is also on the EP St Valentine's Massacre.

Motorhead's Ace of Spades Record

"Dirty Love" ended up having credits only towards "Fast" Eddie even though all three Motorhead guys were involved. The Ace of Spades album was re-released again as a deluxe edition in 2005, however I'm not putting the tracking list here, simply because it'll be too damn long.

So this album is one I don't have yet. Normally 99% of the Takes I create have to do with albums that are in my collection. However this is one I'm soon getting. The first time I ever heard anything from this album (which was also the first time I heard Motorhead) I was 10 years old. My mom bought a new Hyundai, and we had Sirius XM (still do!). I remember a few nights after we got the car, I was riding in the back, bored to death. I was looking out the window at the stars and the moon that shined out. Really at the moment the song "Hells Bells" by AC/DC was playing. But then right after, "Ace of Spades" came on. My dad, sitting in the passenger seat at the front, cranked up the volume, saying "I haven't heard this in so long!!" I remember right then smiling, thinking "woah this is so cool!" and I started banging my head to it. I thought it was such a fun song.

Over time, I began hearing other stuff from the album, such as "Fast And Loose" and "(We Are) The Road Crew". My mom ended up getting "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch" from iTunes and put it on her phone. As for "Jailbait", it brought on a slightly awkward moment when I was 15, where it played in the car radio and my dad asked me if I knew the meaning of "Jailbait". At the time I didn't. I saw this look of "oh shit" come on his face, and all he said was "a quite young girl." lol.

Even if I don't have a physical copy (or even digital) of this album yet, I've heard it plenty. I'd say that my most favorite song among the rest is "Ace of Spades", but there's so much other killer stuff to love as well.


Up next will be a take that won't be on an album this time. This a take requested by @Nice222, which will be about my experience in guitar playing and stuff about my guitar rig set up and what not. Thanks for the request! After it will be a line of takes that are about different musicians that have been very influential to me and my own music, which will be separated into categories of what they play. The first will be for the bassists. So keep an eye out!

Stay true to the music \m/ and may Motorhead forever Rock In Peace \m/

#MotorheadBand

#AceOfspades


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What Guys Said 11

  • nice

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  • 5d

    You mentioned Lemmy with Hawkwind and a as a roadie for the Nice. Here's a nice bit of history for you! Enjoy:

    Hawkwind - Orgone Accumulator
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJgMyk5vJ20

    The Nice (Keith Emerson) Live at Essener Pop & Blues Festival 1969
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpmYreOplfA

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  • 4d

    Killer album and my second favorite Motorhead after Overkill. Not a weak song on it.

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  • Thank you for this. I'm always looking for new stuff. I'll checkem out.

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  • Great take Lemmy is one of my Favorites. I never knew he started out as a roadie. Very cool.

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  • Yeah I just got hooked on a track called brotherhood of man. Very cool rock Band.

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  • Lemmy's dead...

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  • Do Black Flag's Damaged.

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  • Killer album. RIP Lemmy.

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  • coolio!

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  • Nice !

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