Motörhead's 'Ace of Spades': 7 Best Uses, From 'House M.D.' to Finnish Acapella
"Ace of Spades" is Motorhead's signature song, the one that even non-fans can name (and warble) if dared to sing it. So, it's no surprise that the band's best-known anthem rears its hard-charging head in pop culture the most, from video games to television syncs to weird cover versions on YouTube. In honor of frontman Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, who passed away Monday (Dec. 28) from cancer, here's a selection of some of our favorite uses.
TONY HAWK PRO SKATER 3: Lemmy's anthem has been a favorite of video games for years and has appeared in one way or another in Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Rock Band, DJ Hero and there's a karaoke version in SingStar Amped. But most of those are covers or re-recordings — for the real deal just pop in your copy of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, circa 2007, to hear Lemmy rip a vocal chord while Hawk and friends land sick tricks and whatnot.
MOTORHEAD GAME: Licensing your song to appear in video games is one thing, lending your name and image to one is a whole other ball game. In Motorhead, developed by Kaitsu in 1992 for Amiga computers and Atari, you play a bass-wielding Lemmy on a mission to free your kidnapped bandmates from fans of other music genres by fighting through... Rap City? It's been described as a "Double Dragon-esque journey" where you (Lemmy) are really just there to beat up fans and enjoy the spoils (one of them being a large mug of beer when you successfully kill an enemy).
HOUSE M.D.: When Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) get stuck waiting for a funeral procession to pass, they decide to throw etiquette to the wind and gun it past the mourners. Of course, with "Ace of Spades" as their soundtrack to this burst of mischief, they inevitably overdo it and, naturally, crash the hell out of the sports car they're riding in.
SKINS: One of the more direct inclusions of "Ace of Spades" on television was on the British series Skins. In one episode, the character named Cook wakes up, gets drunk and struts down a residential street screaming Lemmy's lyrics while bugging his elderly neighbors.
AIR GUITARISTS LOVE IT: Just look at these fricking guys.
LEMMY'S FAVE COVER (MAYBE): Though it can't be substantiated, Canadian 'motorgrass” band Jughead claims that their hard-to-find version of "Ace of Spades” was the "only cover of [Lemmy's] song he ever liked." So obscure is their take on the metal classic that the only version on YouTube is a video of a video. Enjoy?
ACE OF ACAPELLA: Another off-kilter cover comes from Finnish one-man "band" Paska, who gets to the punk rock heart of the song in about :52 seconds flat on his 1989 EP, Super Double Mega Maxi Hits. That's not saying it's any good but it's certainly one of the weirdest, most deconstructed versions out there. And his frantic vocal distortion is pretty on point. Listen starting at 1:07: