ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Motley Crue

Updated on April 13, 2015
(From left to right) Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee
(From left to right) Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee

History and Introduction

Anyone who's a hair/glam metal fan like me or followed rock music during the MTV-craze from 1984 to 1992 is all to aware of Motley Crue and their compatriots - Starting out virtually unknown with low budget production budgets in 1981 to being rated by VH1 as one of the top 10 heavy metal groups of all time, the quartet has sold in excess of 75 million copies of their singles and albums worldwide. It was hence fitting for me, a massive hair-band fan to write an article about them considering they recently announced they were calling it quits after a final worldwide tour which would end in 2015.

In 1981, drummer Tommy Lee (born on October 3 1962 as Thomas Lee Bass) and bassist Nikki Sixx (born on December 11 1958 as Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr.) began rehearsing some songs and jamming some material along with vocalist and guitarist Greg Leon, who later quit to pursue other projects. The duo, in search of new members, put out an advertisement to find a new guitarist, the advert was answered by future and permanent Crue guitarist Mick Mars (born on May 4 1951 as Robert Alan Deal) who apparently also helped coin the group's name, 'Motley Crue', after he heard someone say - "now isn't that a motley looking crew?" Still without a lead vocalist, Tommy Lee decided to contact his former schoolmate from California, Vince Neil (born on February 8 1961 as Vincent Neil Wharton) and asked him to give it a shot. Back in the day, Vince wasn't really known to be the best singer around however what he lacked in vocal ability, was compensated by his stage presence and persona - this exactly is what guitarist Mick Mars noticed who believed that regardless how good Vince is as a singer, he's got the looks and antics which were needed considering they were launching their careers at the dawn of the 'MTV revolution'.

After being signed up by producer Allan Coffman on a label called 'Leathur Records', Motley Crue released their debut album in November 1981 called 'Too Fast For Love'. The following year, the group signed up for what would become more or less their permanent record-label, "Elektra Records" which employed producer Roy Thomas Baker to rework and reproduce "Too Fast For Love" and release the song "Live Wire" as a single in August 1982.

Though being far from being their best selling album (or single), "Too Fast For Love" managed to sell in excess of 200,000 copies and was met with positive reviews, thus making the possibility of future success for the quartet fairly plausible.


Motley Crue - Live Concert (29 May 1983)

Front cover for Too Fast For Love (1981/82)
Front cover for Too Fast For Love (1981/82)

Shout At The Devil (1983) and Theatre of Pain (1985)

Upon receiving decent airplay for their video of 'Live Wire' the previous year, Motley Crue got back into the studios and began working on their next album, which would essentially (and ironically) mark the onset of international fame, recognition, riches along with typical rock-star excess and personal problems including numerous brushes with the law, escapades with women and even short stints in prison.

In 1983, the group released their 2nd and as such 'breakthrough album' called 'Shout At The Devil' which was a lot longer in length than its predecessor and thanks to slick production by new producer Tom Werman, cemented the group's status as being one of the most influential musical acts of the time to promote the MTV-backed 'hair-band/glam metal/Sunset Strip Rock' scene.

Despite the success of 'Shout At The Devil', the group also began garnering some unwanted attention (which is probably what made them even more popular) from Christian groups who accused them of being Satan worshipers (The cover for 'Shout At the Devil' clearly showed the quartet sporting a 'Pentagram') while the song 'Bastard' made its way to #3 in the list of 'filthy fifteen' (A list of songs compiled by the 'Washington Wives' in 1985/86 which they believed were the most offensive on radio and TV that their teenage children were being exposed to).

The video clip for 'Too Young to Fall in Love' showed the group among a group of young Asian girls and older Asian men (suggesting the theme of the song was about underage prostitution in the Eastern hemisphere) and this gave them even more notoriety. Nevertheless, 'Shout At the Devil' managed to turn Motley Crue's fortunes around and established itself as a base for the group's future successes.

In 1985, the quartet released their 3rd album, 'Theatre of Pain' dedicated to the memory of British drummer Nicholas 'Razzle' Dingley (drummer for the Finnish hard rock group, 'Hanoi Rocks') who was killed that year in a car-crash with singer Vince Neil on the wheel driving drunk. While still produced by Tom Werman, the album featured a less 'hard rock' sound and featured a more 'glam' sound featuring more keys and a less 'raw' drumming effect. The biggest singles to be released from 'Theatre of Pain' were 'Smokin' In The Boys Room' (a cover of the original song released in 1973 by Brownsville Station) and 'Home Sweet Home'. The video for 'Smokin' in The Boys Room' featured Michael Berryman (of the 'Twisted Sister' videos fame), who reprised his role as an antagonistic school principal while 'Home Sweet Home' became one of the group's biggest hits and concert staple along with being considered the best and one of the first 'power ballads' of all time, with Tommy Lee playing the piano parts of the song both in the studio and in concert.

Motley Crue - Too Young To Fall In Love (1983)

Front cover for 'Shout At the Devil' (1983)
Front cover for 'Shout At the Devil' (1983)

Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home (1985)

Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) and Dr Feelgood (1989)

The group's success from sales of 'Theatre of Pain' and the following tour introduced them to the world of typical 1980s rock-star excess and indulgencies like drugs, excess alcohol, prostitutes and insomnia and it is during the height of their addiction that Motley Crue began recording songs for their 4th album, 'Girls, Girls, Girls', again produced by long term Crue producer Tom Werman. While the sound of this album shifted once again to a more 'bluesy' tone from a 'glam' feel as was the case in 'Theatre of Pain', the album was both a commercial and critical success despite the less than ideal circumstances it was released under - During the subsequent tour to support the album, 3 out of the 4 bandmembers underwent extensive drug rehab to get rid of their heroine addictions while in December 1987, Nikki Sixx overdozed on heroin to the extent he was declared clinically dead for 2 minutes before being miraculously revived by a paramedic.

Despite the album's release being marred by the group's personal demons and battles, it went on to chart very high on Billboard - 3 songs, "Wild Side", "You're All I Need" and the title track were released as singles with accompanying music videos.

The video for "Girls, Girls, Girls" was censored due to the depiction of topless women in strip joints while that for "You're All I Need" was banned as it depicted a murder committed as a crime of passion.

Until the release of "Dr. Feelgood" in 1989, "Girls, Girls, Girls" remained Motley Crue's best selling album, only to be outdone by its successor

"Dr. Feelgood" was and still is Motley Crue's best selling album and was met with much more positive fanfare as it marked the group's recovery from the drug and alcohol addiction and the follow up tour to support the album was also one of the most spectacular fans had witnessed. The key tracks (and singles) from this album were the title track, "Same Ole' Situation" and what will become Motley Crue's signature song, "Kickstart My Heart". The lyrics and name for "Kickstart my Heart" were coined and inspired by Nikki Sixx, who credited his clinical death due to an accidental overdoze on heroine as the basis for writing the song.

The release of "Dr Feelgood" marked the height of Motley Crue's career - they followed the album up with a compilation album in 1991 called "Decade of Decadence - 81 to 91" including the release of a previously unreleased track, "Primal Scream" which became the group's last major hit before changes within the music industry will have a drastic change in fortunes for the quartet.


Motley Crue - You're All I Need (1987) (Banned from MTV)

Motley Crue - Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)

Album cover for 'Girls Girls Girls' (1987)
Album cover for 'Girls Girls Girls' (1987)

Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart (1989)

1992 and Beyond

Like the fate faced by most glam metal and hair-band artists, the sudden change in the music industry and the emergence of grunge practically (and almost suddenly) killed any future paths to continued success and Motley Crue's fate was no different.

Despite a successful tour and the compilation album 'Decade of Decadence' selling extremely well, interest of fans eventually began waning and some bickering among the group members also began taking shape, which eventually led to the departure of lead vocalist Vince Neil (though to this date he maintains he was fired).

After a few turbulent years within the group and the band members pursuing various other solo projects, a couple of producers organized a meeting between Mick, Tommy and Nikki along with Vince and his manager across the table with the aim of negotiating a comeback with Vince taking up vocal duties once again.

By the end of the 90's, Motley Crue, like many hair-bands of the 80's saw renewed interest (both mainstream and 'cult') and after ending their long term association with 'Elektra' Records and creating their own label to which they signed up to, the 4 original members reunited for good and after years of releasing compilation albums, released their 9th album, 'Saints of Los Angeles' in 2008 - the first album after 9 years to feature original material and with Tommy Lee on drums. Reviews of the album were fairly positive with contemprary music channels including Channel V and VH1 offering reasonable airplay to the title track.

The success of 'Saints of Los Angeles' ensured the return of the group to embark on more tours (including supporting KISS in Australia in 2013) before the group announced by the beginning of 2014 that they had signed a 'death pact' which will see them retire forever after embarking on a final worldwide tour lasting until 2015.

Motley Crue - Saints of Los Angeles (2008)

Conclusion

As they say, there're only a few artists within the music industry who're evergreen and no matter how hard they try, their legacy cannot be replaced. A few examples which spring to mind are Abba, Led Zeppelin, KISS and Van Halen. However, when it comes hair-metal, the influence which Motley Crue left on generations ahead is more or less irreplacable.

Despite the personal lives of the band members and their notoriety including Tommy Lee's sex tapes with Pamela Anderson, Nikki Sixx's drug overdoze and Vince's repeated run ins with the law, it is exactly this sort of rebellous attitude which propelled the group to stardom due to the fact that despite everything else, they were indeed a bunch of talented musicians and the image they presented, whether real or for entertainment, has left an impression and precedence in the world of rock which will last forever.



Nikki Sixx promoting his book 'The Heroine Diaries'

Motley Crue announces The Final Tour and Retirement in Los Angeles

Please Rate

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Motley Crue

Which is your favourite song by Motley Crue?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      Cool stuff, the Crue was one of my early favorite bands back in the 80s. I lost interest in them around the Theater of Pain record, but Shout at the Devil and Too Fast For Love still hold up pretty well.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for the comment Freddy'sCat .. actually I really liked Crue's stuff after Theatre of Pain .. Too Fast for Love and as such early glam rock from that time was a bit too raw for my liking ..

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      I liked 'em better when they were raw... my tastes started heading into heavier fare by '85 so when "Theater" came out with the new look and the big hit piano ballad, I was like "check please"...haha.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      hahah lol yeah hardcore rock fans found the entry of pianos and keys a bit hard to take on any band really ..

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      Can you guys believe that Motley Crue is breaking up after 30 years? I think out of all the heavy metal bands from the 80's, they were by far one of the most solid rock bands and one of the few 80's bands to still be going strong today.

      If you guys can see them on their farewell tour this year, please do. They put on a great show and are co-headlining with Alice Cooper.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hotweb.. thanks for the comment ..yup Motley Crue's certainly one of a kind ..in fact I was at their concert with Kiss last year when they were in Sydney however they had to cut it short coz Vince had to be rushed to hospital due to kidney stones ...if they do accompany Alice Cooper down to Australia I'm definitely gonna go and watch!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      I was never a fan of the Crue when they were popular, but in retrospect they hold some sentimental value for me. Great hub, very well researched and executed.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      Alice Cooper put on the best live show I have ever seen, so the Crue better bring their "A" game on their tour with him, or Alice is gonna upstage them every night. Just sayin'.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      FatFreddysCat, interesting. I am definitely going with my daughter to see Motley Crue with Alice Cooper. I have seen Motley Crue live, but never Alice Cooper, so I am looking forward to that.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for the comment Mel Carriere .. and yes they really need to pull off a spectacular display if they have to match Alice .. They have to appear that Alice is supporting them..and not the other way round lol

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful journey back in time and to enjoy this talented band once again. Loved it and now looking forward to so many more.

      Eddy.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your comment Eddy...yup no modern genre of music can ever match 80's hair metal!.. I wish it came back

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      @hackslap, It's coming back for sure. All the 80's groups are touring, but what is not happening is the influx of new original music that they came out with in the 80's. It would be good if these bands would put out new music like Whitesnake did a few years ago with Forevermore ;)

      Onward and upward, my fellow metalheads!

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @hotweb .. yup they're touring for sure ... Over the past 3 years I've watched Def Leppard, Heart, Kiss, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy and Metallica .. but these guys won't be around forever given many are in their 50's and even 60's now .. we need new young groups who instead of being 'satire' acts actually come out with radio/TV friendly tunes like it was between 83 and 92

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      @hackslab, I think we have those groups now ;)

      Here are some of the new metal bands that I listen to that I think are just as good as any of the 80's hair band metal acts. Check out these bands. They are all excellent and I know you have heard of a lot of these bands. In fact, I like these bands better than some of the 80's bands:

      Which of these newer bands do you listen to?

      Black Label Society (Zack Wilde of Ozzy Osbourne's band)

      Avenged Sevenfold

      Volbeat

      Skillet

      Redlight King

      Pop Evil

      Shinedown

      Rev Theory

      Chevelle

      Adelita's Way

      Five Finger Death Punch

      Against All Will

      Bulletproof Messenger

      Cavo

      Egypt Central

      HellYeah

      Marion Crane

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @Hotwebideas... wow this is an interesting list! ..I have to admit I'm very ignorant and don't think I've heard about any of these.... but I think I'll waste no time now in giving these a shot..

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      @hackslab - I think I will write a hub later today on some of these bands. I have a lot bigger list than this that I listen to, but these are some of the metal bands that come to mind. I have grown up the 80's hair band sound and was getting tired of that same sound, so I got into the newer metal bands for a fresher sound.

      All of the bands on the list are influenced by the 80's hair bands ;)

      As a matter of fact, Black Label Society is probably the most like the 80's hair metal bands since Zak Wilde plays with Ozzy Osbourne.

      Also, the most popular of these bands is Shinedown. They have many radio hits as well.

      The heaviest bands out of this list are by far "Five Finger Death Punch" and "Avenged Sevenfold".

      On YouTube, look for these videos and you will see that they are close to the hair metal bands:

      YouTube Videos for you to listen to:

      Pop Evil: Trenches

      Avenged Sevenfold - Hail To The King

      Black Label Society - "Stillborn"

      Rob Zombie - Sick Bubblegum

      Five Finger Death Punch - The Pride

      Five Finger Death Punch - Battle Born

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @hotwebideas.. thanks for this list mate! .. yeah I too believe the reason glam died in the early 90's was because the formula just kept gettin too repetative .. grunge and Nu-Metal definitely are more original but they lack that 'soul-filling' melody which AOR and glam did...I'll await your hub and in the meantime will check these videos out :)

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      @hackslab - I will be writing some new hubs on modern metal so I will let you know when they are done.

      Also wait till you see my hubs on the best FEMALE fronted metal bands!

      Bruce

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      One question: Who are those guys singing with Vince Neil at the end of the Saints from Los Angeles video?

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @Hotwebideas...not sure who the guys are with Vince...

      I'm certainly lookin forward to your hubs ..especially re the best female fronted metal bands! ..My pic would immediately be Vixen (for some reason they stand out)..

      Harry

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      Hey Harry, I like Vixen a lot, but after their second album, they just did not seem like they were trying to make an effort anymore to keep the 80's hair band sound. Their first two albums were amazing, but after the album Rev It Up, it seems nothing they released after that had the same flair.

      My hub is up, but it may be under evaluation, so you may need to check it out after the next 24 hours. Look on my hubpages home for the article titled "Best Female-Fronted Heavy Metal Bands Written By 80's Hair Band Metal Fan - Part 1"

      Bruce

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      As a hair metal bands fan, I also listened to Motley Crue and liked their song 'Wild Side' the best. Since I was more into melodious blues based rock bands, their style seemed outlandish to me. But I do agree that they were the wildest of the hair metal bands of their time, well, compared to those like Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Cinderella, Europe, Dokken, White Lion, Great White, etc.

      And then Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson were always in the news, were they not?

      Well written and researched hub. Voted up!

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hey Suhail .. thanks for your feedback! .. yup nobody can ever really replace the hair-metal era. .. even 25-30 years down the line and the music can still rock harder than most of the c*ap that feeds MTV today .... and lol the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson tapes ..it was a 90's internet rage amongst us who were teenagers then lol

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Teenagers then you said! LOL. Hey when It comes to listening to HM of 80s, I am still a teenager.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      hahaha I guess we're all juveniles when it comes to the music we loved when we were young ... it reminds us of happier times...in general

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Music of the eighties are still my best kind. You have great list.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      Yes, this is a great list. I still love the 80's metal bands, but I have drifted toward the more modern metal like Five Finger Death Punch and Pop Evil. Still Motley Crue puts on a great show and I cannot wait till they come to my area this summer.

    • theomajor profile image

      theomajor 3 years ago from New Zealand

      FAVE SONG: "Shout At The Devil '97".

      LA Saints was interesting to see here.

      Would be cool to see Motley Crue and Pop Evil do a combined album!

      Sadly I think Crue never reached their potential. Probably too much excess and the wrong producers. Good to see this article before they call it a day.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      @theomajor, Yeah agreed, Pop Evil and would be great with Motley Crue would be excellent.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I agree 'themajor' .. There're many great metal artists who never reached the fame of Bon Jovi because of the wrong producers or labels ....although I'd have a few favorite Crue songs in my list .. can't just choose one..

    • janesix profile image

      janesix 3 years ago

      awesome. Motley Crue was my favorite band in the 80's. I still remember the Dr. Feelgood concert,it was so fun.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for the comment janesix... You're lucky to have enjoyed MC during their heyday in concert! ... I watched them live last year with Kiss down here in Sydney ...but Vince had to be taken to hospital due to kidney stones so they couldn't even finish their set (ie no Dr Feelgood or Kickstart My Heart :( ...

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 2 years ago

      Hello there, I too love music. I learned to play the piano (a little) as a child and still enjoy "playing around" with the incredible instructment. The title of this hub really caught my eye because I really like this group. People who have not known me very long, and even some of my long time friends, wonder why.....oh well. Really enjoyed reading this. Looking forward to going through each of your hubs.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      haha well when people look at me the last thing they'll guess is I'm a 80's hair metal fan .. nice seeing you here and thanks for your comment :)

    Click to Rate This Article