‘Motörhead’: Lemmy And Co’s Spirit Of Punk Invades Hard Rock

On August 21, 1977, the cutting-edge rockers had their self-titled debut album released by Chiswick Records.

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Motörhead - Photo: Courtesy of Fin Costello/Redferns
Motörhead - Photo: Courtesy of Fin Costello/Redferns

Motörhead’s spirit of punk invaded hard rock for the first time on record on August  21, 1977. It was the date that marked the release of their self-titled debut album by Chiswick Records.

The band were named after the final song written by Lemmy before he was invited to leave Hawkwind in 1975, after a certain contretemps at Canadian customs. There’d been discussion of the new band being called Bastard, but that suggestion was ditched, perhaps wisely.

Lemmy puts himself together again

The interim period had been spent searching for a record deal until Ted Carroll’s Chiswick came to Motörhead’s aid. It was not a moment too soon for Lemmy, who confessed to Sounds in 1977 about his dismissal from Hawkwind: “When that band kicked me out, I couldn’t believe it. I just broke down and cried. For two days I didn’t know or care what was happening. But you have to put yourself together again.”

Motörhead’s full-on sound brought much of the spirit of the new wave that was happening around it into the hard rock arena. Featuring the power trio of Lemmy, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor, the band raced through the recording sessions under the watchful eye of John ‘Speedy’ Keen. In the previous pop generation, he had been the writer of Thunderclap Newman’s UK No.1 of 1969, “Something in The Air.”

A stepping stone album

The album had only modest success, reaching No.43 on the UK charts, and it would be the turn of the 1980s before Motörhead really hit their stride as a recording force, on their way to 30 million album sales worldwide. But Lemmy was in confident mood about the new band when he spoke to ZigZag magazine about their increasing popularity as a live act in 1977.

“We get everyone, disillusioned Hawkwind people in plimsolls and greatcoats, a few punks…it’s good, you know. If somebody gets off, I don’t care if he’s got a bald head and a bolt going through it.”

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  1. phoebe chamberlain

    August 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I’m proud to say my hubby was the live sound engineer from 78 to 82. Lots of dancing and temporary deafness RIP Lemme. From Phoebe

  2. nedkelly

    August 22, 2019 at 12:15 am

    R.I.P. Lemmy. Dug you in HW, dug you in Motörhead.

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