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

On August 21, 1977, Motörhead’s punk energy invaded hard rock for the first time on record. It was the release date of their self-titled debut album by Chiswick Records. The band was called after Lemmy’s final song written before being asked to leave Hawkwind in 1975, following an incident at Canadian customs. There had been talk of naming the new band Bastard, but that idea was dropped, maybe wisely. Lemmy gathers himself anew. Until Ted Carroll’s Chiswick came to Motörhead’s rescue, the gap period had been spent looking for a record deal. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Lemmy, who told Sounds in 1977 about his ejection from Hawkwind: “When that band kicked me out, I couldn’t believe it.” I just sobbed uncontrollably. I didn’t know or care what was going on for two days. But you have to put yourself back together.” Motörhead’s full-on sound infused the hard rock arena with much of the spirit of the surrounding new wave.

The band rushed through the recording sessions under the watchful direction of John ‘Speedy’ Keen, featuring the power trio of Lemmy, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, and Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor. In the preceding pop generation, he was the writer of Thunderclap Newman’s 1969 UK No.1, “Something in the Air.” A collection of stepping stones The album barely charted at No.43 in the UK, and it would be the turn of the 1980s before Motörhead really hit their stride as a recording powerhouse, selling 30 million albums worldwide. However, Lemmy was upbeat about the new band when he spoke to ZigZag magazine about their growing success as a live act in 1977. “We get everyone, Hawkwind fans in plimsolls and greatcoats, a few punks…it’s good, you know.” If someone gets away, I don’t care if he has a bald skull with a bolt through it.”

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