100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #73 Motorhead – Ace of Spades

Released : 1980

Motorhead were famously the metal band which punks could like and vice versa, occupying a unique spot in British music taste, one which was cemented by the the relase of Ace of Spades.

As the story goes the demo version was recorded in Wales largely without front man Lemmy’s presence, guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clark recalling his absence later being due mainly to the singer spending most of his time with a “Nice bird”.

Returning to London the band agreed that whilst it was good, it was missing something: back on duty, Lemmy added his trademark sandpaper howl (Just try singing it properly without destroying your larynx). Meanwhile producer Vic Maile persuaded the trio to deploy his secret weapon: wood blocks, used in a breakdown which came to be known by the band as “the tap dancing section”.

Adding to the group’s mythology, Lemmy would go on to claim he wrote the lyrics – the words of a card sharp living his life as a game of russian roulette – in the back of a van speeding at 90 miles an hour. Truth or lie?, metal or punk?, speed or vodka? The fact was that Ace of Spades was Motorhead’s contribution to the pantheon of rock n’ roll – and nothing else mattered.


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