Motorhead song ‘Ace of Spades’ is a dosage of pure unadulterated driving rock that will be sure to whip you out of bed after hearing it first thing in the morning, a number capable of getting your pulse racing to attack the day at full. A key cog in the Motorhead machine, one that is often overlooked is their beating heart, is the late Phil Taylor—but his prowess has nowhere to hide behind on this glorious isolated version of the track.
The track in question is undoubtedly the most famous of their creations and featured as the titular number on their fourth studio record in 1980—a record which sent their stock through the roof. ‘Ace of Spades’ was also an unlikely chart success for the metallers, with it spending 13 weeks in the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number 15 upon its initial release. Following Lemmy’s sad death in 2015, the track re-entered the chart where it reached a new high position of 13 with Taylor passing away himself just the month before.
Lemmy recalled writing the song in an interview with Mojo magazine February 2011, in which he declared, “‘Ace of Spades’ is unbeatable, apparently, but I never knew it was such a good song. Writing it was just a word-exercise on gambling, all the clichés. I’m glad we got famous for that rather than for some turkey, but I sang ‘the eight of spades’ for two years and nobody noticed.”
Taylor has been attributed for adding that level of ferocity that took Motorhead from being a standard rock ‘n’ roll outfit that Lemmy first envisaged they would be, to pioneering leaders of new wave British heavy metal. That wild edge that he had in his drumming was a characteristic that he held in his life off-stage, one which inadvertently landed him the job as drummer in the band.
Legend has it that when he met Lemmy, he then told him he was a drummer and offered him a lift to Rockfield Studios where the band were rehearsing. The pair then stayed up all night and, in the morning, a naked Taylor went outside. “It’s all right,” he shouted to anyone in a ten-mile radius. “I’m on drugs!” Back inside, Lemmy then suggested that he’d been having problems with the group’s then-drummer, Lucas Fox, and suggested Taylor have a go on the drum kit after being impressed with his partying ability.
After hearing about Taylor’s exploits, then guitarist Larry Wallis turned to Lemmy and proclaimed: “What a horrible little cunt. He’s perfect.” Taylor would go on to make the band the behemoth that they would go on to become with his excellence shining through the greatest on the blistering ‘Ace of Spades‘.