The Ultimate Ranking of Every Mötley Crüe Song
If you want to really live vicariously, put on a Mötley Crüe song. Experience all the drugs, sex, stardom and violence you want (albeit secondhand), and when you've had enough, simply lift the phonograph needle or press pause. No rehab, penicillin shots or lawyers necessary.
On Nov. 25 (but available now for pre-order), Mötley Crüe will release a new box set, The End, built around the legendary Los Angeles glam-rock band’s first five albums and final studio LP on vinyl and CD, along with a DVD and CD of their final shows ever, which took place at Staples Center Dec. 30 and 31, 2015. The End also includes a hardcover book, four exclusive lithograph photo prints of the band, Mick Mars guitar picks and a Final Tour laminate pass. It’s all housed in packaging designed to look like a tombstone.
Singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist (and primary songwriter) Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee experienced seismic ups and downs during the band’s 35-year run. Having seen The Final Tour, I can tell you they were an electric live act until the end. But all the pyro, dancing strippers and upside-down drums wouldn’t mean a thing without songs. Listening back to the group’s catalog, particularly their first five albums — Too Fast For Love, Shout at the Devil, Theatre of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls and Dr. Feelgood — makes you appreciate Mötley’s gift for making raising hell sound so much fun.
To celebrate the release of The End box set, we ranked all of the songs in Mötley Crüe’s studio output. We left out instrumental tracks (such as“God Save the Children of the Beast”), short intros to albums (like “In the Beginning”), remakes ("Shout at the Devil '97") and transitional snippets (“Nona"). We also did not include songs from the self-titled 1994 LP the band made with John Corabi as their singer instead of Neil. That’s a solid album, but make no mistake: Mötley Crüe is Vince, Nikki, Tommy (except on 2000's New Tattoo) and Mick.
90. “Going Down Swinging,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
For the closing song on Mötley Crüe’s last studio LP, the band returns to being “local gutter rats on the streets of gold/Crashing stolen cars and selling souls.” Welcome back to 1981, boys.
89. “Treat Me Like the Dog I Am,” New Tattoo (2000)
Tag, Stooges' “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” you’re it.
88. “A Rat Like Me,” Generation Swine (1997)
If the universe has any sense of right, fellow '80s Sunset Strip vets Ratt will eventually cover this song.
87. “What’s It Gonna Take,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
The chorus hook bucks like a mechanical bull. But why are rock bands so reluctant to use question marks in their song titles?
86. “The Animal in Me,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
If Def Leppard's "Love Bites" had mullet-removal surgery.
85. “Just Another Psycho,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
The diary of a mad band, fed through Marshall stacks.
84. “She Needs Rock n' Roll,” New Tattoo (2000)
A she-devil finds sanctuary in power-chords, radios and sweaty shows.
83. “Welcome to the Machine,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
Record labels didn't want anything to do with Mötley Crüe when the band started. Then they became one of the biggest bands in the world, until they became persona non grata again, until they picked up the pieces and became a huge touring act again. Damn right, this band has a few ideas about the record business, as outlined in this song.
82. “This Ain’t a Love Song,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
If the nightlife adventures described in “This Ain’t a Love Song” happened to most of us, it would be the craziest night of our lives, by far. For the Mötley Crüe dudes, it’s an average Tuesday.
81. “Brandon,” Generation Swine (1997)
Instead of just penning a liner notes shout out, Tommy Lee wrote a sweet orchestral-rock ode to his son Brandon.
80. “Porno Star,” New Tattoo (2000)
Don’t fall in love with the hottie on your laptop screen — so sayeth the Crüe.
79. “Sex,” single (2012)
Direct-to-video film music supervisors take note: Here’s a song for the next tawdry hook-up scene that arrives in your queue.
78. “Find Myself,” Generation Swine (1997)
A demented central riff and art-rock spoken passages alternate with jangly self-loathing.
77. “Punched in the Teeth by Love,” New Tattoo (2000)
Early-Crüe type snarl polished like a new Ferrari.
76. “Let Us Prey,” Generation Swine (1997)
Most of the track sounds like a steel-cage wrestling match between Pantera and Nine Inch Nails before Soundgarden breaks the fight up during the coda.
75. “White Trash Circus,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
A swaggering, staggering Mötley biopic in the form of a three-minute rock track.
74. “Beauty,” Generation Swine (1997)
The Crüe splices rubbery modern R&B touches into their Hollywood sex-rock.
73. “1st Band on The Moon,” New Tattoo (2000)
The rumbling intro and opening riffs to supergroup Velvet Revolver’s debut single “Slither,” released four years later, bear a striking resemblance to those here.
72. “Dragstrip Superstar,” New Tattoo (2000)
Convincing grunge-pop, propelled by late drummer Randy Castillo, who stood in for Tommy Lee on the New Tattoo LP.
71. “Chicks = Trouble,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
Given the band who recorded it and their back history, if this title doesn’t make you smile or laugh you need to lighten up. Plus, the band stomps furiously on the track.
Johnn Novello, Tom Scott, Chris Standring
TicketsTue., Sep. 19, 8:30pm
Chin Up Kid, Morning in May
TicketsWed., Sep. 20, 7:00pm
Orphaned Land, Pain, Voodoo Kung Fu
TicketsThu., Sep. 21, 7:00pm
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
TicketsThu., Sep. 21, 7:30pm
Salute to John Coltrane
TicketsThu., Sep. 21, 8:30pm
70. “Glitter,” Generation Swine (1997)
Always wanted to hear Vince Neil croon an atmospheric synth-pop ballad? Here’s your chance.
69. “Mutherfucker of the Year,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
Lee, Mars and Sixx rain down savage, post-industrial hard-rock. Meanwhile, Neil does some nice vowel-stretching during that “Here I am again” part in the chorus.
68. “White Punks on Dope,” New Tattoo (2000)
This 1975 Tubes tune was destined to be Crüe-ed. Mötley’s version ups the glam and slam and evokes “Fox on the Run” faves Sweet.
67. “Generation Swine,” Generation Swine (1997)
The skittering guitars and Scott Weiland-ish verse melody proved 15 years after their major label debut LP, Mötley could still find new scars to pick at.
66. “Rodeo,” Girls, Girls, Girls (reissues 1999 and on)
For Mötley Crüe, “Rodeo” plays like a Saturday Night Live sketch skewering Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” For some hunky young Nashville fella, this "Girls, Girls, Girls" outtake would likely be a country chart-topper.
65. “Fight for Your Rights,” Theatre of Pain (1985)
Come for the bludgeoning rhythm track, ideally suited for getting wasted to and crushing beer cans on the side of your head. Stay for surprisingly socially conscious lyrics like, “Martin Luther brought the truth/The color of our blood's the same/So break the chains and solve the pains/And we all become one race.”
64. “Confessions,” Generation Swine (1997)
Somewhere between Alanis Morissette and “Werewolves of London.”
63. “Tonight (We Need a Lover)," Theatre of Pain (1985)
Pollution-distortion guitar bordering on thrash.
62. “If I Die Tomorrow,” Red, White & Crue (2005)
The nu-metal production feels like it was test-marketed to determine the best way to get Mötley on 21st century radio. Well, it succeeded. “If I Die Tomorrow” penetrated the mainstream rock chart’s upper regions.
61. “Afraid,” Generation Swine (1997)
The sonic equivalent of the band dressing up as Smashing Pumpkins for Halloween.
60. “Rocketship,” Generation Swine (1997)
A rare lead vocal from Nikki Sixx. “Rocketship” seemed to draw equally from Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and Marc Bolan’s freak-folk. A stylistic departure that was no doubt a struggle for Crüe fans weaned on “Dr. Feelgood” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” to process.
59. “Down at the Whisky,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
Mötley summons up some of that “Same Old Situation”-style sugar-crunch.
58. “Keep Your Eye on the Money,” Theatre of Pain (1985)
Mötley Crüe was regularly compared to Kiss early in their career. You can certainly hear a few “Strutter” guitar licks here.
57. “Jailhouse Rock,” Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)
Mötley Crüe is no stranger to incarceration. And this amphetamine-paced Elvis cover, the closing track on Girls, Girls, Girls, had appeared in their set lists dating back to their earliest shows.
56. “Fake,” New Tattoo (2000)
Self-referencing rock songs are typically more palatable when they’re detailing a scrappy new band’s travails, instead of a veteran act crowing about the millions of records they’ve sold. But this music-biz kiss-off makes it work, with venomous chug and an anthemic chorus
55. “Anybody Out There?”, Generation Swine (1997)
One of the band’s shortest fully realized songs on record, the punkish and very effective “Anybody Out There?” makes you pine for an entire album of Mötley tracks like this.
54. “Save Our Souls,” Theatre of Pain (1985)
More than one person has slagged Theatre of Pain for having only two good songs on it. But there are plenty of mid-'80s glam-rock bands that would love for their mediocre tracks to be this fierce.
53. “Saints of Los Angeles,” Saints of Los Angeles (2008)
A silver-sleek update on signature Mötley Crüe sleaze.
52. “Flush,” Generation Swine (1997)
Probably the most successful of Generation Swine’s alt-rock carpetbaggers.
51. “She Goes Down,” Dr. Feelgood (1989)
Even on the throwaway Dr. Feelgood cuts — all four are right in a row, here on our list — the larger-than-life guitars and drums and Velcro hooks are undeniable. But unless you’re a horny teenager, the oversexed lyrics make it difficult to get through the entire track.
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