Motörhead made hot-blooded music that has, and will continue to, live on long after death finally caught up to Lemmy Kilmister in 2015. Undoubtedly one of the most influential heavy bands of all time, the English group had an inimitable sound that rumbled between punk, hard rock and thrash metal, a sound developed and honed across a whopping 22 studio albums throughout their 40-year career.
Due to Lemmy's prolific genius, picking a favorite Motörhead song out of the mountain-like pile isn't easy, and when we asked our readers to make the tough call, the responses came from all corners of their catalog. Below, are the top five vote-getters ranked accordingly.
Unlike many of the band's faster cuts, "Orgasmatron" — the closer of Motörhead's seventh album of the same name — moves at a grim chug while Lemmy delivers a sinister spoken-word sermon about the violence of religion, the lies of politicians and the nihilistic sacrifice of war. In between his wise words are churning hard-rock riffs, laced with searing solos from guitarists Michael "Würzel" Burston and Phil "Wizzö" Campbell.
Lemmy was taunting death every day he was on earth — from his devil-may-care lifestyle to a song as aptly titled as "Killed by Death." In this 1984 single, the frontman doles out lines like, "If you squeeze my lizard, I'll put my snake on you," that could either be interpreted as an exotic threat or a bizarre flirtation. The thesis of the song is that he's not an easy guy to deal with, but once death comes knocking, he'll surrender peacefully. However, by the sound of his croaky laugh during the final chorus, he didn't sound so certain.
Motörhead were masters of writing songs that cruised the fine line between scary and fun, and "Iron Fist" is one of their best. The intro track of the band's 1982 album rattles and shakes like it's going to fall apart at any moment, but Lemmy's sturdy bass line keeps it all glued together as he shouts the words, "You know me, evil eye/You know me, prepare to die," with his fearsome gravel. It's a tune that makes you question whether you should smash a bottle or crack another — so why not both?
Motörhead fan or not, there's no denying the punk-metal perfection of the band's most quintessential anthem. As the voters in this poll determined, "Ace of Spades" isn't necessarily the band's best song — though many will swear it is — but it certainly distills everything great about Lemmy's work into less than three minutes of raucous, raging, boot-stomping, cig-flicking, ass-kicking, card-flipping joy.
For as undeniably great as "Ace of Spades" is, we also agree that "Overkill" is the superior song. The title track from the band's second album features an overwhelming onslaught of noise coming from Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor's epic double-bass drum kicks, "Fast" Eddie Clarke's enflamed solos, Lemmy's gnarled huffs and his workmanlike bass lines. The track begins at max power, and even when it fades briefly during the elongated instrumental outro, it always comes back to life like a party that keeps getting revived by someone showing up with a fresh case of beer. "Overkill" rules.