In 1975 Motörhead began a journey that would change the Rock & Roll scene forever. Through tenacity, hard work, and a deep-seated ability to produce an original, face melting sound, Motörhead would become one of the most popular bands in the world with a fan-base that is second to none.
The story of Lemmy and Motörhead is awe-inspiring and they continue to add new chapters year after year, including a new studio album “Aftershock” slated for release in late 2013. We are proud to present a timeline biography of Motörhead with photos and information covering over 35 years of Motörhead history. Starting in 1975, fans can scroll through the years and learn more about what lead to the creation of one of the most iconic bands of all time:
Fired from Hawkwind after a drugs bust going into Canada, Lemmy Kilmister returned to London. Determined to start his own band to avoid being fired again, he decided it would be called 'Bastard,' but management overuled and 'Motorhead,' a song Lemmy had written as a B-side for Hawkwind, was born. With drummer, Lucas Fox and Pink Fairies guitarist, Larry Wallis, and Lemmy on bass and vocals, Motorhead began gigging and recorded their first album, which their record company refused to release at the time, (it later emerged in 1980 as 'On Parole').
Lucas didn't have the required 'attack' for the drumming required, so a Leeds punk, named Phil Taylor, whom Lemmy had come to know, was invited to a rehearsal. Lemmy and Larry were impressed, and erased Lucas' drumming on the album and replaced it with Phil's.Larry needed a rhythm guitarist to 'bolster the sound' whilst he was taking solos. Phil had met Eddie Clarke on a day-job, so Eddie went to a rehearsal with Lemmy and Phil to find they worked well together as a trio. Larry was late getting there, but when he did so, after playing one song, and considering Motorhead's bad press to date at the time, realised the Pink Fairies would be his best option; and left the band.With no record label and Tony Secunda, their manager now, trying to find them a record deal, Lemmy, Phil and Eddie just kept gigging and refining their sound. In the December, they recorded 'White Line Fever' and 'Leaving Here' as a proposed single for Stiff Records.
Stiff released the two songs across two albums instead of giving Motorhead a break with the single. Disheartened, they decided to quit, but asked Chiswick Records boss, Ted Carroll, to record their final gig. Ted couldn't afford to, but instead gave them 2 days in the studio to record a single, but well-rehearsed as they were, they recorded their complete live set in the time, so Carroll agreed for extra time to make the sessions into a single and album release. The band toured as guests to Hawkwind, then, to co-incide with the Chiswick release of the 'Motorhead' / 'City Kids' single and the 'Motorhead' album, toured again with The Count Bishops, but 4 gigs in, Phil Taylor broke his wrist so their dates were cancelled. With the album to promote, the band continued gigging as soon as Phil's bones had repaired themselves.
Secunda recorded the band Live in the February, and from the tapes the 'What's Words Worth?' album was released 5 years later. But Secunda had fallen out with and lost the band the opportunity of a second album with Chiswick, so again, they had no record company behind them. They also dumped Secunda, so had no management, either, so Motorhead, as such, were in limbo. Lemmy asked Hawkwind manager, Doug Smith, if he would manage them? Reluctant beforehand, he agreed, and won them a 'one single deal' with Bronze Records. 'Louie, Louie' / 'Tear Ya Down' was released, Chiswick re-issued the 'Motorhead' album, and Motorhead headlined a full UK tour. Pleased with 'Louie's' chart placing, Bronze gave the band studio time to record another album.
The resulting 'Overkill' album and single was everything the fans needed and more, and Motorhead took it out on another UK tour with female rockers, Girlschool, as support. Bronze ask for another album, and other than their appearance at The Reading Festival, Motorhead deliver the 'Bomber' album and single in the Autumn, and another UK tour follows, with the breath-taking 'Bomber' lighting rig hanging over the band and going through its manoeuvres during the song of the same name.
Motorhead start the New Year with tours through Europe, with 3 albums behind them now, there was no stopping them. A massive Live attraction, tracks are recorded and 4 released as 'The Golden Years EP' and the lead track, 'Leaving Here' rockets it into the Charts. To celebrate the Silver Disc status for the 'Bomber' album, the band headline The Over The Top Heavy Metal Brain Damage Party at Bingley Hall, in Staffordshire in the Summer; then go into the studio again to record the 'Ace Of Spades' album, then take it on tour throughout the UK in the Autumn.
Motorhead tour Europe with Girlschool, then play and record 3 gigs in Leeds and Newcastle for a Live album. Whilst on tour in America with Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Oz, Motorhead are told their live album, titled 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith,' has gone straight to #1 position! They release 'Motorhead' as a live single, then return to the UK to headline The Heavy Metal Holocaust at Port Vale Football Stadium. Motorhead end the year touring Europe and Scandinavia, strengthening their hard-core fan base with the sizzling live album, which until that point had been every fan's wildest dream!
Following a Live album would never be easy, and 'Iron Fist' suffered due to lack of rehearsals, time, but mostly the lack of an independant producer. However, the album and single charted fairly well, and after a Spring UK tour, the band recorded a single with Wendy O Williams and The Plasmatics, started an American tour, then guitarist, Eddie Clarke, left the band. Thin Lizzy axeman, Brian Robertson stepped in to complete the tour. The band made debut UK performances at Wrexham and Hackney stadiums in the Summer, and completed European tour to end off the year.
The 'new' line-up record another album, and 'Another Perfect Day' is taken on tour in May in the UK. The album, and the 'I Got Mine' and 'Shine' singles Chart fairly well. A massive American tour followed, then Europe in the Autumn, but fans were disappointed at Robertson's refusal to play the 'Motorhead Classics' live, and after the November date in Berlin, he is fired.
Lemmy and Phil advertise for a new guitarist, and end up with two! Phil Campbell and Wurzel complete the new 4-man Motorhead line-up. They record 'Ace Of Spades' for the prestigeous 'The Young Ones' UK comedy show, then Phil Taylor quits to join Robertson in forming a new band. Phil Campbell suggests ex-Saxon drummer, Peter Gill, who rehearses and is found to be more than suitable. Bronze Records see the disruptions as suicidal for the band, and start getting a 'Best Of' compilation together. Lemmy intervenes and insists the new line-up record some new tracks for the release. They do so, and 'Killed By Death' is released as a single, and becomes yet another mighty anthem for the band and their fans. The new line-up debut at Hammersmith Odeon, the compilation, titled 'No Remorse' makes the Charts, but the band are not happy with the way Bronze Records are treating them, and look to get out of their deal. Court action follows, Bronze use an injunction to stop Motorhead from recording, so the band tour Australia and just about everywhere else rather than sit back and wait.
Motorhead win the battle with Bronze and manager Doug Smith starts his own record label, GWR. The band have their 10th Anniversary Birthday Party at Hammersmith Odeon in June, and the 'Motorhead' encore sees everyone who has ever played in the band, other than Larry Wallis, who believed filming had been completed the day before, onstage for the song. Motorhead tour Europe and spend the Autumn touring America with Wendy O Williams.
Motorhead record the 'Orgasmatron' album, tour Europe, Scandinavia, and make a large number of radio appearances following the release of the album. In the Autumn they tour the UK, then the States for 2 months with Megadeath, and Germany to end the year. The 'Orgasmatron' track quickly becomes a live classic with Lemmy reciting the ominous words picked out by a lone, green spotlight.
Motorhead tour Europe with Onslaught, then America with Savage Grace, record their second album for GWR with 'Rock 'n' Roll,' then tour the UK with Sword to promote it. Lemmy stars in the 'Eat The Rich' movie, and Motorhead provide the majority of the soundtrack. European and Scandinavian dates follow with King Diamond, and the 'Stuff The Turkey - Eat The Rich' Xmas show sells out at Brixton Academy.
A 2 month tour of America with Alice Cooper kicks off the year, then Europe with Girlschool and Destruction. Motorhead record a new Live album in Finland, released and titled 'No Sleep At All,' they tour America with Overkill and Slayer, then play Xmas shows in the UK and Germany.
A full UK tour for the 'No Sleep At All' album follows in February, then 5 dates in Brazil and the 'Bastards Over Europe' tour. Another German tour follows, along with a month at The Music Farm in Sussex writing new songs. 'The Silent Night' tour of the UK sees out the year.
Relationships with Doug Smith and GWR Records result in another Court Case. Motorhead play short UK and European tours before Lemmy and Phil Taylor migrate to America. Once the Court action is over, Motorhead use The Music Farm songs and new Manager, Phil Carson. to gain a record deal with Sony / Epic. After more European dates, the band record the '1916' album in Los Angeles.
The '1916' album is Nominated for a Grammy. Motorhead play a bigger UK tour with The Almighty, then European dates with The Cycle Sluts From Hell. Japanese and Australian dates preceed The Operation Rock 'n' Roll Tour' with Alice Cooper and Judas Priest. The year ends with dates as 'The Christmas Metal Meeting' with Sepultura.
Motorhead record the 'March Or Die' album and tour America with Ozzy Osbourne and Ugly Kid Joe. Dates with Guns 'n' Roses and Metallica, and more in Argentina and Brazil with Alice In Chains follow. Scandinavian and European gigs, then 'The Bomber's & Eagle's Tour' with Saxon back up the album, which has received mixed reactions.
Along with other band's on the label, Motorhead are dumped after the 'March Or Die' album. They relocate in LA to start recording new songs whilst looking for another label. More dates in Argentina and a full European tour follow, then more recording. 'The Christmas Metal Meeting 1993' tour closes another year.
Motorhead play a huge American tour with Black Sabbath from February through to May. Dates in Argentina and Japan follow, then a European tour, Summer Festival dates and the release of the 'Bastards' album to wide praise and acclaim, and then 'Christmas Metal Meeting' dates in Germany keep the band busy.
The 'Sacrifice' album is recorded and released, with SPV / Steamhammer as Motorhead's new record company. Guitarist, Wurzel, elects to leave the band and they continue as a three-piece. They play the 'Motorious '95' European tour with Grip Inc; and 3 UK dates. Another American tour with Black Sabbath, then an extensive European tour with Skew Siskin preceeds 4 more UK dates in November. South American shows, including Chile and Argentina follow, then in December, Metallica play The Whisky in LA as 'The Lemmy's' to celebrate Lemmy's 50th Birthday.
Motorhead play an extensive American tour with Speedball and Belladonna. In March, rehearsals for another album begin, but are interrupted by the band's Summer Festival appearances across Europe. The 'Overnight Sensation' album is released, and extensive American and European tours follow with Dio.
The 'Overnight Sensation' album is released, he title poking sarcastic fun at the band's longevity. They play The Astoria in London in January, then tour relentlessly through Europe and Scandinavia and end off with 4 dates in Japan. The ill-fated Motorhead / WASP tour rampages through America before Summer Festival appearances in Germany and Hungary. More UK dates follow to promote the album in October, and 5 dates in Russia end the year.
Motorhead tour Europe for the 'Snakebite Love' album, with the Hamburg Docks show being recorded for a future live album. In July they're on The OzzFest through America and in August begin their Summer Festival dates. In October, they tour the UK and follow with an extensive dates through Europe.
The Hamburg show is released in its entirety as the double-live album 'Everything Louder Than Everyone Else' and the band play a US tour through until June. The Summer Festivals follow through Europe, including one in Slovenia. The band begin recording another studio album in Germany, then in October, tour America with Nashville Pussy. In November, Motorhead tour Scandinavia with 'The Monster's of the Millennium' tour, then end the year with 2 shows at London's Astoria.
After completing their album recording in LA, the band shoot their 'God Save The Queen' video in London to accompany the single release. 7 dates in South America follow, then 'We Are Motorhead' is released in May, followed by another 2 month tour through America. A dozen Summer Festival dates through Europe, including 2 in the UK, 4 in Japan and Motorhead's 25th Anniversary Show at Brixton Academy, follow. The band then move on to tour Europe and Scandinavia, with 4 dates in Russia, then one each in Poland and Hungary.
Motorhead play 'The Game,' Triple H's introduction theme, Live at Wrestlemania at The Astrodome; the performance is televised worldwide. They tour the UK in May, then play another 12 Summer Festivals followed by an American tour with Mudhoney. Motorhead receive Gold Discs for 'The Game' and appear on The Drew Carey Show.
Motorhead tour America with Morbid Angel. The 'Hammered' album is released followed by 17 Summer Festival dates and more shows to strengthen their South American fan base. Both UK and European tours follow with Anthrax.
American tours with The Dwarves and Anthrax, then 7 Summer Festival dates prior to an American tour with Dio and Iron Maiden. The 'Hammered' album tour of the UK with The Wildhearts follows, then through Europe with Skew Siskin.
A prestigeous show at London's Royal Opera House in February is a one-off whilst the band are in the studios recording what will become the 'Inferno' album. Motorhead play a handful of South American dates, but some 20 Summer Festivals in the midst of which the 'Inferno' album is released. The UK tour follows with Sepultura and carries on through Europe.
Motorhead win a Grammy for 'Best Metal Performance' for their cover of Metallica's 'Whiplash' track. They tour America with Corrosion of Conformity and North America with Priestess. No less than 20 Festival dates span the Summer, including Motorhead's 30th Anniversary Show on June 16th at Hammersmith Apollo in London. A Scandinavian tour with Mondo Generator and UK dates with Girlschool follow, plus 6 in Australia with Motley Crue.
Four dates with Meldrum in America at The House of Blues venues kick's off the year as a new album is being recorded. Released in August amongst Festival dates, 'Kiss Of Death' is critically acclaimed as the band play Hyde Park in London as special guests to The Foo Fighters. Motorhead tour the UK with Crucified Barbara, then Europe with Meldrum.
'Kiss Of Death' tours in South America and Europe follow, along with the Summer Festival dates. The 30th Anniversary London Show is released as a double album titled 'Better Dead Than Motorhead.' 2 dates in Japan and an Australian tour with Rose Tattoo follow, then more dates in Europe end the year.
Recording a new album before Motorhead's now legendary Summer Festival dates across Europe, including Download in the UK. They play the 'Metal Masters' tour through America as their new album, titled 'Motorizer,' leaves the acclaimed 'Inferno' and 'Kiss Of Death' albums in the dust, then rips up the Charts Worldwide as Motorhead headline an American tour before Autumn dates in the UK and Europe.
Continuing to bring 'Motorizer' to the world with more sold-out global touring, including a headlining performance at the Wacken Festival, core-filming also began on the Lemmy documentary project (dir: Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski), which saw the last frames captured in Moscow during Dec 2009. Also, Motorhead enjoyed a 10-page feature story in Rolling Stone magazine during October, marking the first-time they had been afforded such space in the internationally iconic magazine.
With Spring and Summer seeing road-work in all the usual places, Motorhead sat down to make their latest album 'The World Is Yours' once again with Cameron Webb at the production/mixing and engineering helm in LA. Phil Campbell embarked upon a difficult personal journey when his father fell gravely ill, and he returned to Wales, UK where he recorded the guitar for the album. The resultant album showcases some of the band's best work in years, with richer, thicker guitar tones augmenting the classic Motorsound supremely well. The album will be released during December in Europe via their own Motorhead records label with UDR Records the partners. It will also enjoy a unique type of release in Europe during December, when Classic Rock magazine will publish a special magazine about the band with 'The World Is Yours' cover-mounted ahead of it's full-release, thus heralding a new era in providing the fans with access to new Motormaterial. Currently on another European tour, Motorhead will then return to the US for a full calendar of live activities and much more in 2011.