25 Fascinating Facts About Motörhead

Updated on November 26, 2018
FatFreddysCat profile image

I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.


Born to Lose, Out to Lunch!

On January 10, 2018, British rock guitarist Edward "Fast Eddie" Clarke, best known for playing in Motörhead and Fastway, died at the age of 67. He was the last member of the "classic" Motörhead lineup to pass away, following the deaths of drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor in November of 2015 and iconic bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmister in December of the same year.

Between 1977 and '82 this trio released five classic, bombastic, skull-crushingly loud studio albums: Motörhead, Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, and Iron Fist, as well as one legendary live disc, No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, forever blurring the lines between old time rock 'n roll, heavy metal, and punk rock.

Many band members came and went throughout Motörhead's long and mostly-proud history, with Lemmy as the only constant. Clarke's death marks the closing of a major chapter in hard rock history, so as a way to honor the memories of Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Philthy, here are 25 fascinating facts about Britain's all-time loudest band!

1. The band's name came from a song Lemmy wrote while he was a member of the progressive rock band Hawkwind. "Motorhead" is a slang term for a "speed freak," or amphetamine user. Lemmy also considered calling the band "Bastard," but was told that they'd never get played on the BBC's "Top of the Pops" with that name.

2. One of Motörhead's earliest press releases boasted that the band's music was so loud that, if they moved in next door to you, "your lawn will die."

3. Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Philthy are considered the "classic" Motörhead lineup, but they are not the original lineup. Lemmy recorded the first Motörhead album in 1976 with drummer Lucas Fox and guitarist Larry Wallis, but United Artists Records deemed the recordings "unusable" and shelved them. Three years later, when the band's star was on the rise in England, the label cashed in by belatedly releasing the disc as On Parole.

4. Motörhead's catalog consists of 22 studio albums (23 if you count On Parole, which is not considered "official" by some sources), 13 live albums, and dozens of compilation albums, singles, EP's, and videos.

5. The original 2-LP release of 1982's "Greatest Hits" set No Remorse was packaged in a cover made from real leather.

6. The fanged, toothy beast that adorns the majority of Motörhead's album covers and merchandise is known affectionately by fans as "Snaggletooth," though artist Joe Petagno (who created the critter) also calls it the "War-Pig" or "The Little Bastard."

7. Lemmy's full name was Ian Fraser Kilmister. His nickname "Lemmy" came from his youthful addiction to slot machines, because he was always asking friends "Can you lemmy (lend me) a quid?"

8. Drummer Mikkey Dee officially joined Motörhead in 1993, though he actually played on one song on the prior year's March or Die album. Before Motörhead, Mikkey had played for King Diamond and in Don Dokken's solo band.

9. Lemmy helped write four songs on Ozzy Osbourne's mega-selling No More Tears album (1991). He later said that he made more money off the royalties from those four songs than he ever did from Motörhead .

10. A Motörhead song appears on the soundtrack to The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004). "You Better Swim" is a re-worked version of the 1992 song "You Better Run."

11. Lemmy was a big fan of the Ramones and wrote a song about them on the 1916 album ("R.A.M.O.N.E.S."). The Ramones later recorded their own version of the track, and Lemmy joined them onstage at their final concert in 1996 to perform it with them.

12. At Lemmy's 50th birthday party in 1995, the members of Metallica made a surprise appearance as a tribute band called "The Lemmys," dressed up in wigs and sunglasses and playing a set of Motörhead covers. Live recordings from that gig were released on Metallica's Garage Inc. album in 1998.

13. Comedian Michael Palin of Monty Python fame made a guest appearance on 1987's Rock & Roll album, offering a "blessing" upon the band members. He asks the Lord to "increase four-fold their already large sums of loot," which would allow them to own "one other pair of trousers each" in their lifetimes.

14. Motörhead was nominated for several Grammy awards during their career, but their only win was in 2005 for a cover of Metallica's "Whiplash." Lemmy later called the award a "mercy f**k" from the Grammy academy, and said that the win would've meant more to him if it had been for one of Motorhead's original songs.

15. The band's music video for "Killed By Death" was banned by MTV in 1984 for "excessive violence." In the clip, Lemmy crashes through the wall of his girlfriend's house on a motorcycle, flips off her parents, gets shot by police after a high speed chase and executed in the electric chair. Later he roars back out of his own grave on the bike!

16. Over the years Motörhead has covered songs by the Rolling Stones, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Ted Nugent, David Bowie, and many others. Most of these tracks were compiled on the 2017 posthumous release Under Covers.

16. During his down time from Motörhead , Lemmy was a member of Head Cat, a rockabilly group with Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom that performed songs by Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly.

17. Prior to joining Hawkwind, Lemmy played guitar for The Rockin' Vickers, who released several singles between 1964 and '66, including a cover of the Kinks' "Dandy."

18. In the late '70s, Lemmy was asked to teach then-new Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious how to play bass, but Lemmy gave up after only a few lessons, saying Sid was "hopeless."

19. Motörhead collaborated with female rockers several times. A "split EP" with British all-girl band Girlschool in 1981 was called The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A 1982 single with Lemmy and Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics, covering the Tammy Wynette chestnut "Stand By Your Man" is widely considered to be one of the worst records ever made.

20. Motörhead's highest-charting album in the U.K. was the No Sleep 'til Hammersmith live disc, which hit #1 in 1981. Their highest charting studio album was the prior year's Ace of Spades, which made it to #4.

21. 1983's Another Perfect Day was the only Motörhead album to feature Brian "Robbo" Robertson, formerly of Thin Lizzy, on guitar. Lemmy would later describe the record as "very good," but said working with the temperamental Robertson was "f**king torture." Robertson was dismissed as soon as they were done touring for the album.

22. Lemmy is the only band member to appear on every Motörhead release. The band employed five guitarists and four drummers during their long career.

23. The final Motörhead lineup - Lemmy, guitarist Phil Campbell, and drummer Mikkey Dee - was also its most solid, lasting from 1996 to 2015. This trio recorded a total of ten studio albums together (Overnight Sensation through Bad Magic).

24. Motorhead's final live performance took place in Berlin on December 11, 2015. Lemmy passed away two weeks later, on December 28th.

25. Lemmy's funeral service was live-streamed on the official Motörhead YouTube channel and was viewed by more than 200,000 people. Members of rock royalty including Dave Grohl, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, and Rob Halford of Judas Priest gave tributes during the service.

"We are Motörhead... and we play rock 'n' roll!"


© 2018 Keith Abt


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gracchus Gruad profile image

      Gracchus Gruad 

      2 years ago

      Lemmy was the coolest, still hard to believe he's gone.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)