Great Metal Albums of 1987: Motorhead- Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Rock ‘n’ Roll” is Motorhead’s worst performing album chartwise of all time. It was slammed by so-called critics and even Lemmy admitted that it wasn’t their best album. He sites some of the reasons such as having the wrong producer and the personal problems that guitarist Wurzel was experiencing at the time. Taking all into account, while I won’t equate “Rock ‘n’ Roll” with the classics, it is far from a bad album.

The first two tracks are the best ones on the album. Both prove that Motorhead hadn’t lost their touch and were capable of kicking your ass at 120 miles an hour. “Eat the Rich” was used in a film of the same title where Lemmy appears in the film in the role of Spider. Reflecting back to Gene Simmons’s role in a film a few years prior, maybe there is a correlation to bass players acting in films and the effect it has on their next album. I haven’t seen the film in ages but I wasn’t that impressed, especially coming from the Comic Strip group which made “Bad News.” But I remember Lemmy was pretty good in the film.

While the first two tracks are the best ones, I don’t think the album downturns that drastically afterwards. If there is any criticism to be aimed at the album is that Motorhead rely on the same formula that had made them so great over the years. Some people might have got tired of what they perceived as the same sound again and again. However, I say that true, there are similarities to classic Motorhead material, they do it with the same passion as well. You still get thrashing guitars, Lemmy’s unmistakable vocals, some great guitar solos, my favourite is on “Stone Deaf in the USA,” which is also my pick for the hidden gem.

If listeners wanted something different on a Motorhead album, then “Blessing” provides it. The band doesn’t play on it but instead it’s a prayer offered by Monty Python star Michael Palin who asks God to bless Motorhead. Michael says his prayer in the same fashion as his character in the Python film, “The Meaning of Life.” Being both a Motorhead and a Monty Python fan, I found it all very funny. Even if you don’t find it funny, the tracks “Traitor” and “Dogs” go back to traditional kick ass Motorhead sound. “Dogs” is especially a great song to bang your head along to.

The album saw one change in personnel as drummer Pete Gill was out and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor was brought back in. While no one debates Phil’s efforts on the album, to some, it wasn’t enough to save it but what do they know? I like this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock ‘ n’ Roll
  2. Eat the Rich
  3. Blackheart
  4. Stone Deaf in the USA
  5. Blessing
  6. The Wolf
  7. Traitor
  8. Dogs
  9. All For You
  10. Boogeyman

Lemmy Kilmister- bass, lead vocals

Wurzel- lead guitar, slide guitar on “Stone Deaf in the USA”

Phil ‘Wizzo’ Campbell- rhythm guitar, slide guitar on “Eat the Rich”

Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor- drums

Michael Palin- Speech on “Blessing”

British fans might have been getting tired of Motorhead, but it wasn’t the case in the USA. The lack of chart success for “Rock ‘n’ Roll” made Lemmy relocate to America where fans were wanting to see Motorhead live and buy their albums.

Next post: Napalm Death- Scum

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16 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Motorhead- Rock ‘n’ Roll”

  1. I really like this one, I reckon its a bit underrated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I didn’t listen to Motorhead at this time and I’ve never gone back to hear this one. I guess I stuck with basically Ace of Spades.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ew Lord, who art on high, who has made the sunshine and the blades of grass and the tiny things that creep there in, who has made hankies, who has made cricket bats. Who has made… all things. Bless these people from Motörhead…

    Or something like that. I think this is one of their best albums. I love Blackheart (and the Camden pub it’s named after) and stone Deaf In The USA. Eat the Rich is one of their best singles and the title tracks an anthem

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t really think of them as still being around in 1987 – ‘Eat the Rich’ sounds fine though.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I like rock and roll.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The production is a bit weak but this is a great album in my book. Stone Deaf is my fav track on it and it is where I learned that I cannot boogie with the boogieman.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This band could really rock!

    Liked by 2 people

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