This is Motörhead's most famous song; it is about gambling and risks. Lemmy recalled writing the song in an interview with Mojo magazine February 2011: "'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."
The "Ace Of Spades" is the dead man's hand, which was Wild Bill Hancock's hand as he was shot dead (he was an American sheriff who was killed during a game of poker). The hand consists of aces and eights, including the ace of spades.
After playing this for years, Lemmy admitted he was sick of the song, but said he kept it in the setlist because, "If I went to a Little Richard concert, I'd expect to hear Long Tall Sally
John - Glasgow, Scotland, for all above
This song was featured in the episode of The Young Ones
called "Bambi," where Motörhead performed as the the stars of the show got to the train station.
Amandass - Buckley, WA
This is used in the video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
, and also appears in the movie Superbad
Matt - Milton, PA
Lemmy had a tattoo of the ace of spades on his left forearm. After the Motörhead frontman died on December 28, 2015, Dave Grohl got an ace of spades tattoo on his wrist.
Bertrand - Paris, France
He may have embellished the tale a bit for the sake of a story, but Lemmy claimed he wrote this song in the back of a transit van traveling at 90 mph.
Lemmy recorded a new down-tempo blues version with bandmates Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee in 2010 for a Kronenbourg 1664 commercial. This updated more leisurely rendition, which sees Lemmy playing harmonica, emphasises the brand's assertion that this is a beer that should be "enjoyed slowly."
It was the first time Lemmy had taken the song back into the studio since it was originally released 30 years previously and director Matt Doman, who shot the ad for Kronenbourg, said it was a challenge working with the rock icon. "But it's really because he's very protective of the track," he explained. "Spending a day with him in the recording studio was a roller coaster."
This is one of the most commonly covered songs among Punk and Hardcore bands. Elvis Suissa of Three Bad Jacks told us why: "It's one of the greatest and most aggressive rock and roll songs I've ever heard in my life. Makes me just want to f--king scream at the top of my lungs. Every time I hear it my blood just pumps and I just want to explode. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever heard in my life."
The Three Bad Jacks version appears on their 2005 album Crazy in the Head.
This was produced by Vic Maile, who also worked with Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton. Motorhead were strangely receptive to some of Maile's more left-field production ideas such as adding woodblock to this song. "He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, and he was very delicate because he was diabetic," guitarist Eddie Clarke recalled to Uncut. "He had to have his Ryvita (a rye-based crispbread) at six o'clock. We couldn't get heavy with him, couldn't f--king shake him, you know what I mean? He might die! So we had to listen to him."
"If it was anyone else, we'd have told him to go and f--k off and die or tied 'em to the car and run around the car park with them," Clarke added regarding the wood block. "But because it was Vic we said, 'Oh, all right Vic...' So we're there with these blocks of wood banging them together. He put loads of reverb on and that's the sound you hear - 'dang dang dang dang dang dang CLACK.' We didn't want to upset him in case we killed him."
Sadly Maile did pass away at the age of 45 from cancer on July 11, 1989.
The "Desert Scene" Ace of Spades album cover was actually shot in a sandpit near Barnet, 10 miles northeast of London.
A campaign to send this song back into the UK Top 40 following the death of Lemmy on December 28, 2015 saw the track re-enter the singles chart at #13. This was two places higher than its original position of #15.
In tribute to Lemmy, who died about six weeks earlier, The Hollywood Vampires (led by Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry
) performed this song at the Grammy Awards in 2016. Dave Grohl introduced the act and said, "I have an ace of spades tattoo but the truth is, Lemmy and Motörhead left their mark on me a long time ago, just as they did for everybody who has ever loved rock and roll. As Lemmy taught us in the song 'Ace of Spades,' the pleasure is to play."