Nobody sounds like Motörhead but over the years we’ve seen countless bands add a cover version or two to their set. Some were genuinely impressive while some were just, well, awful. Let’s forget those, though, and celebrate the ten greatest Motörhead cover versions of all time!
Ramones – R.A.M.O.N.E.S
While this list is in no particular order, this is a complete no-brainer for the number one spot. Lemmy adored the Ramones, so much so that he penned this tribute to them which they promptly adopted as their own. The footage of Lemmy playing this with them at the last ever Ramones show in Hollywood, all but running on stage to join them, is truly heart-warming.
Reverend Horton Heat – Ace Of Spades
Pretty much everyone and their wife has covered this Motörhead classic – including trip-hop genius Tricky – but Lemmy loved the Reverend, recorded a few tracks with them for his unreleased solo album, got up to play with them, and even reviewed them once for Metal Hammer, so this is the one we’re going with. Stand up bass and all!
Sepultura – Orgasmatron
A crushingly heavy cover of Orgasmatron from the band who were actually named after Motörhead’s Dancing On Your Grave, from the Another Perfect Day album. Lemmy always said they were playing it too fast and chuckled at Max Cavalera’s pronunciation of the word ‘obsequious’, but there’s no doubt it was done with the right sentiment by true fans.
Girlschool – Bomber
Motörhead and Girlschool were quite a hit when they collaborated for a cover of Johnny Kidd And The Pirates’ Please Don’t Touch, back in 1980. For the B-side the bands swapped tunes, Motörhead playing Girlschool’s Emergency and Girlschool playing Bomber. Admittedly it doesn’t have quite the same power as the original, but they were one of Lemmy’s favourite bands, even set to tour the UK with them until he passed. Bet your ass Girlschool will be playing this live!
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Metallica – Overkill
Another no-brainer. As Lars and crew have pointed out many times, without Motörhead there would be no Metallica, it’s as simple as that. They covered numerous Motörhead tunes and even dressed up as Lemmy for his 50th birthday, where they played Motörhead’s greatest as The Lemmys! Overkill, however, it where Lars first had his mind blown (possibly something to do with the drums)! In a way, Metallica begins here.
Poison Idea – Motörhead
It takes a certain kind of lunatic to fully comprehend the feeling of day four in a five day marathon, and know why one might be “moving like a parallelogram”. Poison Idea are exactly those kind of lunatics. With songs like 4am and Welcome To Krell in their own back catalogue, Poison Idea get it. Fast and raw, this is as much a tribute to methamphetamine as to Motörhead.
Sister Sin (featuring Doro) – Rock N Roll
Yeah, this has Lemmy written all over it! He always did have a thing for ladies kicking ass, and here Sweden’s Sister Sin do just that with a little help from Lem’s good friend Doro Pesch. What’s more, it’s a pretty neat rendition with arguably better production than the original, and a bit more wallop in the drum sound. Does exactly what it’s supposed to and makes you love rock ‘n’ roll.
Zeke – I’ll Be Your Sister
Whilst on tour with Motörhead in the US, back around 2005, Zeke had the daunting task of headlining a sold-out House Of Blues in Los Angeles after Motörhead were forced to pull out of the show. It wasn’t the biggest venue, but to win over 1000-plus pissed off Motörhead fans is still no easy task. “Good for them,” said Lemmy upon hearing that Zeke did it with relative ease. Naturally, this cover is great.
Hobo Kin – 1916
No, we have no idea who Hobo Kin is either, but this folk version of 1916 is astonishingly beautiful. One of Motörhead’s few ballads, 1916 is without doubt the most poignant anti-war song ever to come from Lemmy’s pen, and Hobo Kin, whoever he may be, absolutely nails it. Be warned, it’s a bit of a tearjerker, as is the classical version also found on YouTube. When you’re ready…
Electric Frankenstein – (We Are) The Road Crew
Last one already, huh? And there are so many more great covers still to hear, like Australia’s Powder Monkeys doing Built For Speed, Speedealer’s rather apt Motörhead, Kvelertak’s Metropolis and Skarhead’s somewhat scary Sweet Revenge. But let’s go with Electric Frankenstein’s version of (We Are) The Road Crew just because we can’t include all of them. It’s got that raw thunder to it, dirt under the fingernails and the smell of whisky and sweat. Play loud.
Like these cover versions? Love Motorhead? Why not check out TeamRock Presents Motorhead – The Ultimate Tribute, a 148-page collectable magazine dedicated entirely to the legendary British band and their iconic singer featuring new interviews with the surviving members of Motorhead, rare photographs and classic encounters taken from the archives of Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines.
TeamRock Presents Motorhead – The Ultimate Tribute is available worldwide now onteamrockmags.com and in UK based WHSmith high street stores.