As if 2016 wasn’t already a terrible year, it’s also been the first year since 1975 when there have been no Motorhead gigs. Never again will we emerge from a sweat-soaked venue, the sound of Lemmy’s bass still ringing in our ears, half deaf as we yell our order at some poor unsuspecting food vendor. Never again will we see the mighty Bomber prop descend from the rafters, lights blazing, or hear those glorious words, “We are Motorhead, and we play rock ‘n’ roll!” Fuck.
But while Motorhead may be gone, they will never be forgotten, their music as immortal as we once thought Lemmy to be, and to commemorate a year since their passing, we’ve put together the top ten Motörhead B-sides, and in the process uncovered a few gems that you may not have heard. You know the drill: half a pint of Jack, the merest splash of Coke, ice (if there’s room in the glass), stir with finger. Play very loud!
Over The Top
Given the title Over The Top it’s kind of strange to go back to this glorious tune now, originally the B-side of the Bomber single, and find it somewhat restrained; not exactly slow, but certainly less blistering than you might remember it. Like many Motorhead tunes, however, it got progressively faster as time went on and in later live versions was a full minute shorter! Now that is over the top!
It goes without saying that Ace Of Spades is a classic, perhaps the one song above all others that Motorhead will be known for until long after we’ve all joined Lemmy at that great bar in the sky. As such it did (and still does) tend to get a bit overplayed, but thankfully the self-explanatory B-side, Dirty Love, offered some filthy respite – an often overlooked classic in it’s own right, expounding the virtues of unsafe sex.
Under The Knife
For reasons known only to Motorhead, the B-side of Killed By Death featured two entirely different songs with the same name, both, as you may have surmised, called Under The Knife, and both, it could be respectfully argued, better than the A-side. Obviously that will be considered blasphemy to some fans since Killed By Death was a huge favourite, but the second, faster-paced Under The Knife in particular includes some astonishing bass work from Lemmy, and both songs offer great riffs from guitarists Phil Campbell and Wurzel who were new to the band at the time.
Okay, so technically this isn’t a Motörhead B-side, appearing, as it did, on the flip side of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre EP of 1981, a collaboration with Girlschool under the Headgirl moniker, on which the bands covered each others’ tunes. Girlschool offered up a decent rendition of Bomber for the B-side, but Motorhead absolutely destroyed with the ladies’ tune Emergency, wailing sirens and all. One of the few tracks to feature vocals by guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke, it also featured Girlschool drummer Denise Dufort because Philthy Phil was recovering from a broken neck!
Like A Nightmare
As you’d expect from such a title, Like A Nightmare, the B-side of No Class, simply oozes menace, a slow-paced tune replete with Lemmy’s rumbling bass and Fast Eddie Clarke’s oh-so-perfect guitar sustain. As with many of Motorhead’s finest it brings to mind the thunder of Harleys on an endless road, except with this one there’s a big black cloud on the horizon, and one imagines a lone rider on his way to enact revenge.
Turn You Round Again
Let’s be honest, the Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson era – if one album can be considered an era – was not exactly popular at the time, and it took a long time before the Another Perfect Day album was fully appreciated. As such, you may have missed this gem from the B-side of the I Got Mine single, because you were too busy complaining about Robertson’s sparkly shorts and ballet shoes. Well worth a listen.
Cradle To The Grave
In which Mr Kilmister rightly points out “Make sure you live/You’ll be a long time dead,” before further suggesting “If it makes you feel good, do it/And the get out!” Indeed, he was on fine lyrical form here, on the B-side of the Eat The Rich single, expounding ever-wise philosophies laced, as always, with his own particular brand of humour, “You’ll be living on the razors edge/Soon as you learn to shave,” being just one example. The song also showed up on The Decline Of Western Civilisation II soundtrack.
Just ‘Cos You’ve Got The Power
Another one from the B-side of Eat The Rich, this seven and a half minute blues infused powerhouse went on to become a live favourite for some years, and found Lemmy vehemently berating the corporate world. “You might be a financial wizard with a sack of loot,” he growls, “but all I see is a slimy lizard in an expensive suit.” Released in 1987, it is, unfortunately, all the more relevant in 2016.
Dead Man’s Hand
It’s a sad fact that you’ll never hear another new Motorhead song, but thankfully there are still some old rarities to be discovered like this breakneck tune from the B-side of 1990’s The One To Sing The Blues, the first single from the 1916 album. Released on Lem’s birthday it clatters along at a ferocious pace, bringing to mind Mean Machine, with perhaps a smattering of Out Of The Sun in the lyrics, and will now be played very loud for the rest of the week. How the fuck have we never heard this before?
Remember Me, I’m Gone
The B-side of 1982’s Iron Fist single, Remember Me I’m Gone was originally a lament about a lost love, but since Lemmy’s death it has, for obvious reasons, taken on a greater significance. Another track that was arguably better than the A-side, it’s kind of a mystery why it never made it onto the album in place of lesser tunes, but in the last year it has become a fitting memorial to a band who will never be forgotten.