If you’ve heard only one song by MotÃ¶rhead it’s almost certainly “Ace of Spades” from the album of the same name. There’s an AT&T television ad in heavy rotation, or maybe it’s just the type of shows I watch, that has a burly metalhead singing the song at the end. I’ve seen it so much I had to hear the real thing again.
One fun thing about the Ace of Spades (1980, this version on Profile Records 1986) album is its copious use of that curious percussion instrument the vibraslap. Hear one at Wikipedia. No sound conjures up the spaghetti-western, guns-about-to-be-drawn vibe more than the vibraslap’s rattle. I first became intimately familiar with the vibraslap when I was a percussionist in my junior high band, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. So, it’s probably no coincidence that my all time favorite Motorhead song is “Shoot You in the Back.” Just listen to all that vibraslap.
There are a few other great songs, but despite its fame this is not a consistent record. Unfortunately, there is also some really off-putting stuff like “Jailbait.” Come on, man.