METAL! Skulls. Cider. Screaming. Donington. Long hair. Longer guitar solos. Ludicrous lyrics. Bottles of piss. Dungeons and Dragons. Right, that’s the clichés out of the way.
Flipper – Sex Bomb
Motorhead – Ace of Spades
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
First off, it’s Flipper with “Sex Bomb”. Who, I hear you ask? I dunno, I reply. After listening to this a few times, reading the book, doing a bit of background work, I still have no idea. One of those bizarre, random entries that really don’t make any sense. It’s not like it was massively influential, or even that good. Listen for yourself:
Hmm. Any ideas? Anyone? Well, I suppose it’s got a certain chaotic charm to it, rather like James Chance playing something from the “Nuggets” compilation, but that’s no reason to put it on the list. Goes without saying that Kurt Cobain was a huge fan. Oh, and I hasten to say, it’s not metal, I’ve just lumped it in here for convenience.
Back to some normality with Motörhead’s“Ace Of Spades”. I remember watching this on The Young Ones and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. And it was. Still is. This song rocks. It rocks with a studded belt, a dirty t-shirt, oil-stained jeans, long manky hair, and an array of facial hair, metal adornments, and tattoos, possibly about your mother. Just look at them:
They rock. Lemmy rocks even when selling pensions, and manages to be even more rock by being rather more erudite and intelligent than most indie-schmindie kids (although the Nazi memorabilia thing is somewhat disturbing). Drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor looks like he’s spent his entire life mainlining meths and puts speed on his cornflakes, which, in fairness, he probably has. This is the man who continued to play after breaking his neck, and in a separate incident, gaffer-taped a drumstick to his hand after breaking it in a fight. See, Metallica? THAT is rock, not your pussy-assed whining about your therapist.
If an alien came up to you and said “So, Earthling, what’s this heavy metal all about then?” you’d just play them this. And they would agree, and spread the word of rock to the galaxy. This is rock. Sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, death, gambling, umlauts, what more can a man ask for?
Have I said it rocks yet?
Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” rocks too, only not quite so much, and in a much more ludicrous way. Whilst “Ace Of Spades” is out drinking cider and shagging your girlfriend, “Run To The Hills” is throwing an 18-sided dice and wondering when it will finally get to feel a lady’s front bumps. Featuring more drums and guitars than you should shake a Staff of Nightbane (+10HP, +3 INT, -1 AGL) at, it also features Bruce Dickinson’s patented “Sing Like You’ve Caught Your Bollocks In A Door” singing style. Mind you, when you’re singing about the destruction of Native American civilisation and the murders of thousands, nothing less will do, I suppose.
Goes without saying that, just like “Ace Of Spades”, the drumming and guitar is phenomenal. This song defines that certain brand of Heavy Metal (NWOBHM)1 so beloved of spotty teenage herberts, much maligned and patronised, but also has a certain ludicrous beauty to it. I’d much rather listen to this than bloody Hall and Oates any day.
Next up, more Heavy Metal with Orange Juice.
1 New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, since you’re asking
The whole list is here.