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Band or artist: Motörhead
Where from: UK
Years active: 1975-2015
Number of studio albums: 22
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100: N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200: Bad Magic (#35)
At the tail end of last year, the metal world lost one of its most beloved characters, Motörhead's lead singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister. Lemmy was a firm believer that rock and roll could save your soul, and his music often relayed that message. After being booted from space rock group Hawkwind in 1975, he formed Motörhead, soon after bringing on board guitarist "Fast Eddie" Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (who himself passed away in November 2015). Over the next forty years, the band (with a few lineup changes, though never without Lemmy) released 22 studio albums and influenced a generation of hard rock and heavy metal bands in the process, with Lemmy's trademark gravelly voice and the band's rapid-fire mix of metal, punk, and rock.
Chances are, you know who Lemmy is, and maybe you have heard "Ace of Spades," but generally, outside metal circles and the UK, Motörhead's music is relatively under the radar. At the beginning of each live show, Lemmy would say "We are Motörhead, and we play rock and roll," and that's how he characterized Motörhead's music, rather than allow Motörhead to be pigeonholed into "metal" or any other genre. Of course, Lemmy himself reveled in the rock and roll lifestyle, as he famously smoked Reds, drank Jack and Cokes, and slept with over a thousand women. In honor of that mentality, the Motörhead song I'm going with is "Overkill" –- the title track off of the band's 1979 sophomore album. The song reached #39 on the UK charts, but never sniffed the Billboard charts. For me, the song embodies Motörhead. It's loud, fast, dirty, and kicks ass. Enjoy.