1916 (album)

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Motörhead - 1916 (1991).jpg
Studio album by
Released 26 February 1991[1][2][3]
Recorded 1990[3]
Genre Heavy metal
Length 39:28
Label WTG / Epic[3]
Producer Peter Solley, Ed Stasium[3]
Motörhead chronology
Nö Sleep at All
March ör Die
Singles from 1916
  1. "The One to Sing the Blues"
    Released: 24 December 1990 (7" vinyl and CD), 5 January 1991 (12" vinyl)

1916 is the ninth studio album by Motörhead, released 26 February 1991. It was their first on WTG Records (a subsidiary of Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music International).[1][2][3] The single "The One to Sing the Blues" peaked at #45.


In 1990, Motörhead vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister moved from England to the U.S., settling in West Hollywood within walking distance of the Rainbow Bar and Grill. With Phil Carson managing the band, the sessions for what would become the album 1916 began with Ed Stasium, best known for producing Living Colour. The band recorded four songs with the producer before deciding he had to go. When Lemmy listened to a mix of Going to Brazil, he asked him to turn up four tracks, and on doing so heard claves and tambourines Stasium had added without the band's knowledge. Stasium was fired and Pete Solley hired as producer.[4] According to Stasium, Lemmy's drug and alcohol intake exceeded the limits of the producer's patience, so he quit.


1916 was Motörhead's first studio album in nearly four years, and their first release on WTG after a legal battle with GWR Records was resolved. Some of its songs – including "The One to Sing the Blues," "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)," "No Voices in the Sky," "Going to Brazil" and "Shut You Down" – were originally performed on Motörhead's 1989 and 1990 tours.[5][6][7] The title track – an uncharacteristically slow ballad in which Lemmy's singing is only lightly accompanied – is a tribute to, and reflection on, young soldiers who fell in battle during World War I. In his 2002 memoir, Lemmy reveals that the song was inspired by the Battle of the Somme:

..'Nightmare/The Dreamtime' and '1916' both relied heavily on keyboards, which was very different for Motörhead – or any heavy band in 1990. I wrote the words before the music. It's about the Battle of the Somme in World War I...Nineteen thousand Englishmen were killed before noon, a whole generation destroyed, in three hours – think about that! It was terrible – there were three or four towns in northern Lancashire and south Yorkshire where that whole generation of men were completely wiped out..

Although songs like the ballad "Love Me Forever" and "Angel City" (which includes a saxophone) were stylistic departures for the band, the album still contained Motörhead's ear-splitting brand of rock 'n' roll, including "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)" and "R.A.M.O.N.E.S," a tribute to punk band the Ramones, by whom it was covered. Both bands have been cited as iconoclasts who ignored musical trends, remaining loyal to their fan base by touring relentlessly. In the 2002 book Hey Ho Let's Go: The Story of the Ramones, Everett True quotes singer Joey Ramone as saying: "It was the ultimate honour – like John Lennon wrote a song for you."

In the album's liner notes, the band says:

"To the people we left behind – we didn't want to leave ya, but we really had to go! This album is the better for it. Stale and on a treadmill in our career, a change was needed. We decided a change of locale was an idea to try, and we think its done us good musicially, and attitude wise (which is even worse)."[3]

Due to an unintentional oversight, the French, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian and Portuguese flags were not featured on the album artwork. "Love Me Forever" was later covered by Doro Pesch, and Beyond the Black.

The Yugoslavian release of the album on ZKP-RTVL was the final record to be released in Slovenia prior to its independence and the renaming of the label to ZKP-RTVS.[8]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau A−[10]
Entertainment Weekly A+[11]
Classic Rock (reissue review) 9/10[12]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
Select 4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[15]

1916 was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 1992 Grammys, but lost to Metallica's Metallica, released approximately six months later.

The LP received mostly positive reviews. Robert Christgau rated it an A-, calling it "sonically retrograde and philosophically advanced."[10] Entertainment Weekly awarded the album an A+.[11] Select gave it four out of five, hailing it as "..the most cohesive and downright ferocious record to appear under the Motorhead banner since the timeless blast of 'Ace Of Spades' in 1980... Motorhead badly needed an album like this, but no one could have guessed they'd do it so convincingly."[14]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Alex Henderson gave it three stars out of five: "The band's sound hadn't changed much, and time hadn't made its sledgehammer approach any less appealing... whether the subject matter is humorously fun or more serious, Motörhead is as inspired as ever on 1916."[9] Reviewing a reissue on the Hear No Evil label,[16] Kris Needs wrote in Classic Rock: "One of their most well-rounded sets, this memorabilia-stacked reissue comes with two non-album belters, 'Eagle Rock' and runaway hell train 'Dead Man's Hand'."[12]

In the Motörhead documentary The Guts and the Glory, Lemmy states:

That was really the renaissance album for Motörhead, 1916... It got great reviews, which [its predecessor] Rock 'n' Roll didn't.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Taylor except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The One to Sing the Blues"   3:08
2. "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)"   3:14
3. "No Voices in the Sky"   4:12
4. "Going to Brazil"   2:31
5. "Nightmare / The Dreamtime"   4:42
6. "Love Me Forever"   5:28
7. "Angel City" Kilmister 3:57
8. "Make My Day"   4:25
9. "R.A.M.O.N.E.S."   1:26
10. "Shut You Down"   2:42
11. "1916" Kilmister 3:48
Castle Communications 1996 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
12. "Eagle Rock" 3:11
13. "Dead Man's Hand" 3:31
Total length: 44:04


Per the 1916 liner notes.[3]



Chart Peak


UK Albums (OCC)[17] 24
U.S. Billboard 200[18] 142
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[19] 14
Switzerland (Media Control Europe)[20] 24
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 23


  1. ^ a b Release Date 26 February 1991 – Allmusic
  2. ^ a b "Originally released on February 26, 1991 on WTG Records – Nuclear Blast.de". Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g 1916, Motörhead, Sony Music Entertainment Inc, 1991 Liner Notes, page 1, 2 and rear
  4. ^ Kilmister, Ian Fraser and Garza, Janiss White Line Fever (2002) — Simon & Schuster pp. 227–228 ISBN 0-684-85868-1.
  5. ^ "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care) by Motörhead".
  6. ^ "Going to Brazil by Motörhead".
  7. ^ "Motörhead Concert Setlist at Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood on November 9, 1990 – setlist.fm". setlist.fm.
  8. ^ "Motörhead - 1916". Discogs. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b "1916 Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Robert Christgau: CG: Motorhead".
  11. ^ a b "1916". Entertainment Weekly. 8 March 1991. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b Needs, Kris (June 2014). "The Hard Stuff: Reissues". Classic Rock #197. p. 95.
  13. ^ Q (3/91) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "..at 45 the godfather of thrash metal still won't give the old folks a break...Motorhead's ninth studio album is a mad morass of noise, the turbocharged twin guitars of Wurzel and Campbell adding a modern machine sheen to the more primeval approach of Lemmy's shot-blasted vocals."
  14. ^ a b Perry, Neil (March 1991). "Life's a Riot". Select. p. 77.
  15. ^ Rolling Stone (3/21/91) - 3.5 Stars - Good Plus - "..manages to mingle ruthlessness and listenability like never before...creating a new threshold of sharpness for the genre. Fortunately, the crisper approach only makes the cruelty of the group's playing more pronounced."
  16. ^ discogs.com/Motörhead-1916/release/6242179
  17. ^ "1916 | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Motörhead 1916 Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". www.offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Motörhead - 1916 - hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  21. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 17 December 2019.

External links

  • Motörhead official website
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