1916 (album)

Last updated

Motorhead - 1916 (1991).jpg
Studio album by
Released26 February 1991 [1] [2] [3]
Recorded1990 [3]
Genre Heavy metal
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] 1916 reached number 24 in the UK and 142 in the US. The single "The One to Sing the Blues" peaked at #45.

Motörhead English rock band

Motörhead were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

The One to Sing the Blues single

"The One to Sing the Blues" is a song by the British heavy metal band Motörhead, which Epic Records released in a number of formats; 7-inch and 12-inch singles, cassette-single, CD-single as well as a shaped picture disc. It reached number 45 in the UK Singles Chart. It is the opening track on the 1916 album. It was the band's first CD single.



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.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Rainbow Bar and Grill Bar and restaurant in California, United States

The Rainbow Bar and Grill is a bar and restaurant on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, United States, adjacent to the border of Beverly Hills, California. Its address is 9015 Sunset Boulevard.

Phil Carson is an English former record label owner and London-based Senior Vice President of Atlantic Records from 1968 to 1985. He is known for his association several rock bands, including Led Zeppelin, Yes, AC/DC, and Twisted Sister.


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:

GWR Records record label

GWR Records were an independent record label active in the UK from 1986 through to 1991.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Battle of the Somme battle of the Western Front, World War I

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the World War I fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Battle of the Somme was fought in the traditional style of World War I battles on the Western Front: trench warfare. The trench warfare gave the Germans an advantage because they dug their trenches deeper than the allied forces which gave them a better line of sight for warfare. The Battle of the Somme also has the distinction of being the first battle fought with tanks. However, the tanks were still in the early stages of development, and as a result, many broke down after maxing out at their top speed of 4 miles per hour.

"..'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.."

Lancashire County of England

Lancashire is a ceremonial county in North West England. The administrative centre is Preston. The county has a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2). People from Lancashire are known as Lancastrians.

Yorkshire historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

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."

Saxophone type of musical instrument of the woodwind family

The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. Like the clarinet, saxophones have holes in the instrument which the player closes using a system of key mechanisms. When the player presses a key, a pad either covers a hole or lifts off a hole, lowering or raising the pitch, respectively.

Ramones American punk rock band

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are sometimes cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was influential in the United States and the United Kingdom.

<i>Were Outta Here!</i> 1997 live album by Ramones

We're Outta Here! is the fourth live album by the American punk band the Ramones. It was released on November 18, 1997, through Eagle Rock Records.

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
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [9]
Robert Christgau A− [10]
Entertainment Weekly A+ [11]
Classic Rock (reissue review) 9/10 [12]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [13]
Select Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [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 written by Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Taylor except where noted.

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"Kilmister3:57
8."Make My Day" 4:25
9."R.A.M.O.N.E.S." 1:26
10."Shut You Down" 2:42
Castle Communications 1996 reissue bonus tracks
12."Eagle Rock"3:11
13."Dead Man's Hand"3:31
Total length:44:04


Per the 1916 liner notes. [3]


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  1. 1 2 Release Date February 26, 1991 – Allmusic
  2. 1 2 "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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 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. https://www.discogs.com/Mot%C3%B6rhead-1916/release/5316739
  9. 1 2 "1916 Overview". Allmusic . Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  10. 1 2 "Robert Christgau: CG: Motorhead".
  11. 1 2 "1916". Entertainment Weekly . March 8, 1991. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  12. 1 2 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. 1 2 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