Motörhead: Vinyl Reissues

White line fever: Motörhead on wax.

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In June it will be 40 years since Lemmy led his first lineup of Motörhead on to a stage, kick-starting the roller-coaster that would out-noise punk, redefine metal and hoist rock’n’roll’s original primal spirit back into the ring.

Nine early Motörhead albums getting the heavyweight vinyl treatment is welcome for reasons varying from providing much-needed replacements for knackered originals, to consolidating one of the most magnificent bodies of work in rock’n’roll.

The campaign starts with second album Overkill, 1979’s rampaging declaration of intent from the classic line-up of Lemmy, drummer Phil Taylor and guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, the same year’s Bomber and 1980’s breakthrough Ace Of Spades, possibly the greatest hard rock album ever. Then comes 1981’s chart-topping No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, one of the mightiest live albums of all time.

Cracks were showing by 1982’s Iron Fist, Clarke leaving to be replaced by former Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson for 1983’s Another Perfect Day, which didn’t click with fans. Then 1984 saw the leather-bound No Remorse compilation, including new songs unveiling the new lineup that saw Lem joined by guitarists Phil Campbell and Würzel plus drummer Pete Gill. They recorded 1986’s super-weighty Orgasmatron before the following year’s Rock ‘N’ Roll saw Philthy back on drums.

Lemmy and Motörhead, as we all know, went on to become an institution, part of rock’s very foundations. For sheer defiant spirit and rampant outlaw power, nothing comes close to these early bombardments./o:p

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!