I was a fan of the big hair bands of the 80’s, there I said it. Well, actually I was a fan of the hard rocking groups, with Motley Crue at the top of the heap. I have been to every Crue concert in Iowa since my best friend saw them at the Iowa Jam in 1984. They turned me into a fan after just one listen. All props go to Nikki Sixx for writing most of the music and lyrics for the band, with Mick Mars. It was not easy to come up with a list of only ten great Motley Crue songs, but here are my favorites.
1. “Live Wire” (Too Fast for Love)
From the band’s first album, this song sounded bad the first time I listened. Turns out it was recorded so poorly it was a little hard to hear. After listening to a cleaned up version, this early gem turned out to be my favorite song from the boys of Motley Crue.
2. “Primal Scream” (Decade of Decadence)
From one of the latest original music albums, Tommy Lee makes this song amazing. Sure he banged life into most Motley Crue songs with his amazing drums, but this one shows real maturity. Vince’s vocals on this tune were the best I’ve ever heard from him.
3. “Shout at the Devil” (Shout at the Devil)
The song from their second album that put this heavy metal band on the map for most. Vince Neil’s vocals had come a long way from the first album. The power unleashed on “Shout at the Devel” left other hair bands of the 80’s in the dust. From the opening spoken word (voiced by Ozzie Osbourne), to the closing trail off, “Shout at the Devil” will always be the Crue’s anthem.
4. “Home Sweet Home” (Theater of Pain)
This ballad made Motley Crue a legitimate band to be reckoned with. Tommy Lee put away the double bass for a sweet piano opening that started a special song. Vince Neil showed us he could actually sing, not just scream. Even the growls delivered throughout the song feel touching compared to the band’s other works.
5. “Dancin’ On Glass” (Girls, Girls, Girls)
Nikki Six had drug issues throughout his career. This song describes the life of a heroin addict, and what it’s like to always be chasing the high. Well, it’s actually about trying to make this the last trip you take on heroin. A promise likely repeated daily by users.
6. “Helter Skelter” (Shout at the Devil)
A cover of the original cult classic by The Beatles, the boys in the Crue souped it up perfectly. If The Beatles gave it an eerie feel, Motley Crue gave it a blazing feel. After hearing this version, I finally understood the weird infatuation with this song.
7. “Wild Side” (Girls, Girls, Girls)
I really like the entire Girls, Girls, Girls album. This title track was the first released, and became a fast hit. It was not my favorite from the album, but it is one of my favorites from the band. This was the first song I could really hear the blend of a modern and mature Crue with the crazy boys from the Iowa Jam days.
8. “Without You” (Doctor Feelgood)
It may sound like another cheesy big hair ballad, but again I think it’s one of the best vocals from Vince Neil. Mick Mars has the ability to keep even a sappy ballad sounding like hard rock. The lyrics are not on par with “Home Sweet Home”, but the music is just as good.
9. “Smokin’ In the Boys Room” (Theater of Pain)
Another cover song, but again done better than the original. Listening to the Crue’s version of “Smokin'”, it just feels like it’s their song. I still think maybe Mick Mars wrote this one in the crib and passed it to the rest of the boys in junior high.
10. “Use It or Lose It” (Theater of Pain)
As a Tommy Lee fan, I think this song shows his drumming abilities at their finest. As my best friend’s boyfriend was learning new drum styles he practiced to this song over and over. It’s one of those tunes that can stick in your head, but you don’t mind it being there. Short and sweet, just great music.
Vince Neil’s voice has never been what’s drawn me to be a fan of Motley Crue, far from it. The music and driving beats from Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee are what keep me coming back. Go to one concert, watch the drum solo alone and you will likely become a fan. Tommy Lee has managed to bring his percussion skills to the front and keep them there. Every concert brings a new drum solo, anxiously awaited by the throngs of fans. From spinning his entire drum cage on the roof of a coliseum to incorporating magic, Tommy Lee forces you to become a Motley Crue fan.