13 of the Most Inspiring Motörhead Lyrics of All Time

Published on:

Heavy metal will never know another star greater than Lemmy Kilmister. Lemmy was the real deal — prolific in his songwriting, rabid in his bad habits, unrepentant in his attitude, and true to his word to the bitter end. While countless other big names in rock and metal toned down, cleaned up, and wrote a bunch of classic rock radio bullshit, Motörhead were always ready with another furious song about bad luck, stiff drinks, rotten moods, twisted people and good times. In a world built on compromise and shifting trends, Lemmy remains undeniable proof that anyone can throw on a denim jacket, pick up a guitar, and give their all to rock and roll.

Five years ago today, Lemmy did the most metal thing any rock star can do: he died. The act was in keeping with the infamous lyric from Motörhead’s megahit “Ace of Spades” — “I know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools, but that’s the way I like it, baby — I don’t want to live forever.” But while those lyrics have been played and drunkenly chanted over and over — and over, and over — they are just the tip of the iceberg that is Kilmister’s poetic genius. For those willing to look into the band’s vast back catalog, Motörhead’s lyrics provide powerful insight into both into Lemmy’s infamous attitude and our own relationship with rock music.

Here are 13 Motörhead lyrics we want carved on your fucking tombstone. Live to win.

Chris Krovatin

“Don’t you listen to a single word against rock and roll
The new religion, the electric church — the only way to go”
–”Built For Speed” (Orgasmatron, 1986)

“So you see, the only proof
Of what you are is in the way you hear the truth
Don’t be scared, live to win
Although they’re always gonna tell you it’s a sin
In the end, you’re on your own
And there is no one who can stop you being alone”
–”Stay Clean” (Overkill, 1979)

“I make love to mountain lions
Sleep on red-hot branding irons
When I walk, the roadway shakes
Bed’s a mess of rattlesnakes.”
–”I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)” (1916, 1991)

“Obsequious and arrogant
Clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery
Of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount
Paranoia the law
My name is called Religion
Sadistic, sacred whore”
–”Orgasmatron” (Orgasmatron, 1986)

“Sons of bitches, crocodile tears in their eyes
We scare them shitless just by showing up alive
Why don’t you tell ‘em to shove it?
You know they might as well love it!”
–”(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down” (Iron Fist, 1982)

“We live on borrowed time, hope turned to dust
Nothing is forgiven, we fight for every crust
The way we are is not the way we used to be, my friend
All things come to he who waits, the waiting never ends.”
–”Get Back In Line” (The World Is Yours, 2010)

“I’m in love with rock ’n’ roll
It satisfies my soul
If that’s how it has to be, I won’t get mad
I got rock ’n’ roll
To save me from the cold
And if that’s all there is, it ain’t so bad”
–”Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1987)

“You know you can’t be hurt
You gotta believe in your star
They’ll always treat you like dirt
They can only push you so far

“They can’t take it away
When you’ve got something to say
They might try to fence you in
But you’ve only gotta live to win”
–”Live to Win” (Ace of Spades, 1980)

“Evangelistic Nazis
You cannot frighten me
The name you take in vain
Shall judge you for eternity
I spit in the eye of Satan
Spit right in your eye too
You are the spooks you’re chasing
You know not what you do”
–“Bad Religion” (March or Die, 1992)

“Another hotel we can burn
Another screw, another turn
Another Europe map to learn
Another truck stop on the way
Another game that I can play
Another word I learn to say
Another blasted customs post
Another bloody foreign coast
Another set of scars to boast”
–”(We Are) The Road Crew” (Ace of Spades, 1980)

“Iron child out of Vulcan’s forge
Metal scream and thrash
Red steel in the driving wheel
Hear the pistons crash
Black dragon, breathing big black smoke
Howlin’ up the tracks”
–”Ridin’ With The Drivers” (Orgasmatron, 1986)

“Know your body’s made to move, you feel it in your guts
Rock’n’roll ain’t worth the name if it don’t make you strut”
–”Overkill” (Overkill, 1979)

Can’t see the way no more, needles in my eyes
Rotten to the core, hang me out to dry
Give me satisfaction or a damn good reason why
Cross your heart and hope to die
Stay on the right track, you can’t live a lie
Make sure you don’t go back, look me in the eye
Know I ain’t no angel, broken wings don’t fly
I know the law, I know how to die
–“I Know How to Die” (The World is Yours, 2010)