Motörhead – Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Jason Wellwood

Rock ‘n’ Roll is a pretty mediocre record as far as Motörhead albums go, there’s no two ways around it. It was obviously rushed, hoping to capitalize on the growing U.S. fan base and the song writing suffers for it. ‘Traitor’ goes into a strange direction after the chorus, and both ‘All For You’ and ‘Dogs’ are both rather dull, while ‘Blackheart’ has an awful chorus. Even though none of the songs are particularly great, there are parts in all of them that work but they just don’t go in the right places. If the band had given the songs more time to gestate, I’d bet that this album could have been a solid classic. In fact, the live versions of some of these songs that came later were 10 times. Recorded in this, original, 1987 format though, they just don’t work.

Side one of Rock ‘n’ Roll ends with a speech by Michael Palin which exemplifies the sense of humour in the band. What seriously heavy band would have a member of Monty Python doing a bit on their record? Motörhead, that’s who! And, of course this album isn’t all bad, in fact there are a few shining moments on here which help keep the record from falling into ‘average’ territory. ‘Eat The Rich’ is a classic song that almost everyone can sing along to, and keeps up with the band’s humour but is also one of the dirtiest, scuzziest tracks musically on the album (and that’s a good thing!). ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is a rump shaker in the first degree, ‘Stone Deaf In The U.S.A.’ is exactly what you’d expect from Motörhead and ‘The Wolf’ had classic written all over it. Unfortunately, the original release didn’t have two excellent tracks on it: ‘Cradle To The Grave’ and ‘Just ‘Cos You Got The Power’ which were b-sides later released on the CD reissue. Personally, I would have replaced a couple of the stinkers with these two tracks which would have created a better album overall.

Rock ‘n’ Roll suffers from being pushed out too fast, but still has a handful of solid tracks on it. This is one of the few albums I’d advise getting as a CD reissue though, the two b-sides really push the quality way up.

(GWR [LP]; CMC [CD reissue])

Original LP rating

1997 Reissue CD rating

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.

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