10 Best Motorhead Albums

Motorhead Albums

Photo: MarkMarek [CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

With our Top 10 Motorhead albums list, we are looking at ten of the best albums of one of Britain’s most beloved heavy metal bands. In part thanks to the larger than life personality of frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, Motorhead often had a wider appeal than a lot of their contemporaries. As well as metalheads, many punks loved them as well as many other kinds of music fans. (Not to mention the countless people who have never heard of them wearing their t shirts!) When they came out during the punk era of the late 1970’s, Motorhead’s fast, noisy and above all LOUD brand of metal set in motion the blueprint for the direction the genre would go in the following years, particularly with the development of the Thrash and Speed Metal genres. However, the band very rarely took credit for this, with Lemmy always seeing them as nothing more than a classic rock n’roll band.

There are not many people who argue against the fact that Lemmy was Motorhead, which made it impossible for the band to carry on after his passing in 2015. However, that definitely does not mean that any of the other members were simply hired guns. Accompanying Lemmy in the band’s early days was the two other members who made up what is the classic line-up- guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke and drummer Philty Animal Taylor, who have now both also sadly passed away. Not to mention the longest serving line-up with Phil Campbell on guitar and Mickey Dee on drums.

A lot of people are of the opinion that Motorhead’s classic recorded output came to an end after the first few years, with much of their later work being largely forgettable. While it is certainly true that not all of their albums have been great, with this list we take a look through various eras of the band’s long history to show that there are a fair few albums that maybe don’t quite get the recognition that they deserve. Read on to find out which…

# 10 – Overnight Sensation

 Motorhead Albums Overnight SensationKicking off the list is an album that was notable for the removal of the band’s mascot Snaggletooth with the cover instead featuring a picture of the band (the first to do so since 1980s Ace of Spades). Released in 1996, Motorhead’s thirteenth album Overnight Sensation is definitely a notable footnote in the Motorhead story as the departure of late guitarist Wurzel saw them return to being a trio, something that they were often revered for being in the early days.

Despite having fewer members, the album has a heavier sound than several previous albums. You can hear the effect that the loss of a member has had on the band with this record. They sound very tight and the songs are an eclectic mix of fast tracks and more mid-paced numbers.

# 9 – The World is Yours

Motorhead Albums The World is YoursUp next is the band’s twentieth album from 2010 which was a prime example of how they could still deliver the goods over thirty years into their career. The album was dedicated to Ronnie James Dio who had died a few months earlier. This record showed that even though Motorhead don’t deviate much from their traditional formula they can still make it sound fresh when they are feeling inspired enough to do so.

Cameron Webb’s production gave the band a much-needed dose of energy and when it was released, The World is Yours received a largely positive reception.

# 8 – Another Perfect Day

Motorhead Albums Another Perfect DayThis sixth album from 1983 was the first after the departure of Fast Eddie Clarke who was replaced by Brian Robertson who had previously been in Thin Lizzy. Robertson and his style reportedly did not fit in well with the band with Lemmy recounting how he would often spend very long periods of time recording his guitar parts.

Upon its release, the album received a mixed critical reception with many feeling that the band was messing around a bit too much with their established formula.

The album is notably more clean sounding than much of their other work. However, Another Perfect Day has garnered a lot more appreciation over the years with many fans and critics considering it a solid effort that has stood the test of time.

# 7 -1916

Motorhead Albums 1916In the number seven spot is 1990’s 1916, Motorhead’s ninth album which is definitely the biggest departure from the band’s usual sound, being much more mainstream sounding to the point where they got recognized enough to be nominated for a Grammy. They lost to Metallica’s Black Album, which is a similar album in the sense that it saw the band move away from their metal sound in favor of a more accessible rock style.

The album features several slow ballads, one of which is the title track which talks about a sixteen-year-old man going to fight in the first world war. Despite its very uncharacteristic sound it works very well and is very heartfelt. Lemmy may not have ever been the most technically talented singer but hearing him using his gravelly voice to sing this sad and melancholy song works even if it does not sound like it should. On the more conventional side of things, the album also features the track “R.A.M.O.N.E.S,” a song that Lemmy penned about the New York punks who were his long-time friends and comrades.

# 6 – Overkill

Motorhead Albums OverkillNext on the list on what some might say is the rather low position of number 6 is 1979’s Overkill the band’s second album. As well as the iconic title track which features Philty Animal Taylor’s famous use of two bass drums, practically every song on the record is great, with the band having improved as musicians from their self-titled debut and truly establishing themselves as one of the leading bands of the then- flourishing New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement.

The album was produced by Jimmy Miller who had previously worked with the Rolling Stones and was a surprising commercial success reaching number 24 in the UK charts. It has received many accolades over the years, often being included in many Greatest Albums lists including reaching number 46 in Kerrang magazines 100 Greatest Metal albums of all time.

# 5 – Orgasmatron

Motorhead Albums OrgasmatronReleased in 1987,  Motorhead’s seventh album Orgasmatron was produced by Bill Laswell who is known for his work with Public Image Ltd amongst many other things across a wide variety of genres and styles. It was the first album to feature both Wurzel and Phil Campbell on guitar and the only one to feature Pete Gill on drums.

Released at a time when thrash was in its glory years, the album fits well alongside releases by bands who owed a great debt to Motorhead such as Metallica and Slayer. The title track was famously covered by the Brazilian thrash band Sepultura. The album is the angriest sounding thing in the band’s back catalog which could be because it was their first after a three-year hiatus after parting with their label, Bronze Records on bad terms.

# 4 – Bomber

Motorhead Albums BomberAt number 4 is the band’s third album Bomber coming hot on the heels of Overkill, literally being released the same year (1979) a few months later. To many bands these days rushing out another album is such a short space of time would not be considered a very good idea because it would surely affect the quality of the final product. However, we are talking about Motorhead here!

As it turns out anyone doubting that the band would make a solid release had no such worries as this album proved that Motorhead were a true powerhouse during their initial years. They once again recorded with Jimmy Miller who during this time was battling a heroin addiction. One of the album’s best tracks is an anti-heroin song “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” As well as the title track, the album features many other fan favorites such as “Stone Dead Forever.” It also brought them further commercial success with this album reaching number 12 in the UK album charts, surpassing Overkill.

# 3 – Sacrifice

Sacrifice Motorhead albumAlthough not generally regarded as one of the band’s best, this writer would argue that their twelfth album Sacrifice released in 1995 is extremely underrated and is one the best which warrants its place at number 3 on this list. It is probably Motorhead’s most out-and-out metal album, featuring less of the classic rock n’roll elements that are often an integral part of the band’s sound.

It was Wurzels’ last album with the band, making it the last one they ever did as a four-piece. It was not much of a success upon its release, failing to chart and not receiving much publicity. However, the album makes for a very intense listening experience, starting off with the title track and containing several other underrated tracks such as “Sex and Death” and “War for War.”

# 2 – Motorhead

Motorhead AlbumsAlthough this was not the first thing that Motorhead recorded, the self-titled record from 1977 was their debut release. After getting the original trio of Lemmy, Eddie and Phil together, they planned to record a farewell live album, feeling that they were not getting anywhere. However, Chiswick Records founder Ted Carroll gave the band a chance to record some music for a single and after hearing some initial tracks, he was very impressed and gave them some extra time. It was recorded in just two days.

Although it was not their breakthrough album, it at least gave the band enough enthusiasm to stay together, a choice they were no doubt glad they made in the following years. The band themselves did not think it was very good, but it is a great album. Notable tracks include “White Line Fever” and the album (and bands) title track which is a reworked version of a track by Lemmy’s previous band Hawkwind.

# 1 – Ace of Spades

Motorhead Albums Ace of SpadesAt number one on our 10 Best Motorhead albums what else could it possibly be? If you ever see a list of all-time greatest rock albums and this fourth effort from 1980 is not included, then that list should not be taken seriously. Containing the title track which is the song you have heard if you have only ever heard one Motorhead song, Ace of Spades is an album that anyone who considers themselves a rock fan should own.

The album was produced by Vic Mallie who had worked with Led Zeppelin and The Who. He had previously met Lemmy when he was in Hawkwind. It reached number 4 in the UK album charts upon its release and was also critically acclaimed. Every song on it is a classic with the title track “We are the Road Crew” and “The Chase is Better than the Catch” being just some of the highlights.


Updated June 4, 2023

10 Best Motorhead Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.

DMCA.com Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Roger Daltrey Songs
Top 10 Roger Daltrey Songs From His Solo Albums
30 Best 1970s Debut Singles In Rock Music
30 Best 1970s Debut Singles In Rock Music
Matchbox Twenty Songs
Our 10 Favorite Matchbox Twenty Songs
Burt Bacharach Songs
Top 20 Burt Bacharach Songs Loved By Fans
Stevie Nicks Albums
Top 10 Stevie Nicks Albums
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Thin Lizzy Albums
Top 10 Thin Lizzy Albums
Sinead O’Connor Songs
10 Sinéad O’Connor Songs We Love The Most
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch's Role in Fleetwood Mac
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch’s Role in Fleetwood Mac
Billy Joel's new single
Billy Joel To Release Brand New Song On February 1st 2024
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner Interview
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Rival Sons Interview
Scott Holiday of Rival Sons: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Scott Ward Interview
Scott Ward: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Drake Albums
Complete List Of Drake Albums And Songs
Michael Jackson Albums
Complete List Of Michael Jackson Albums And Discography
Metallica Albums Discography
Complete List Of Metallica Albums And Songs Discography
Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Complete List Of Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums
Complete List Of Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums And Songs
Foghat Night Shift Album Review
Why We Loved Foghat’s Night Shift Album
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Return of the Dream Canteen Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return Of The Dream Canteen Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review