If you think Motley Crue's best songs are mostly devoted to sex, drugs and rock and roll, well ... actually, you're pretty much right. The group are almost as famous for their wild offstage antics as they are for their music, making headlines for sex tapes, divorces and various arrests on a regular basis. Their songs are a musical chronology of their debauchery, but that's not to say the guys don't have a more sensitive side -- as you'll see in our list of the Top 10 Motley Crue Songs.
'Live Wire'From: 'Too Fast for Love' (1981)
Motley Crue made their debut with 'Live Wire,' the first single from the group's independent debut album 'Too Fast for Love.' Musically the song is an introduction to the straightforward riffing that characterized early Crue, earning enough attention that the group got signed to Elektra -- despite some detractors who felt the song borrowed too much from Girlschool's 'Yeah Right.'
'Looks That Kill'From: 'Shout at the Devil' (1983)
'Looks That Kill' was the shot heard 'round the world for the '80s L.A. glam metal scene, marrying an aggressive, heavy riff and lyric with a visual image that seemed both feminine and masculine all at once and landing in our list of the Top 10 Motley Crue Songs. The video gave Motley Crue their first mainstream MTV exposure, while the track provided a classic Mick Mars guitar solo. A longtime fan favorite, 'Looks That Kill' has become a staple of the group's live shows.
'Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)' From: 'Dr. Feelgood' (1989)
In an interesting lyrical twist, the fifth single from 'Dr. Feelgood' tells the touching story of boy meets girl meets girl, with the two starry-eyed women destined to be together in the end. "Introduced me to her lover in a cellophane dress / Then they bid me a sweet farewell / Last time I saw them they were kissing so softly / To the sound of wedding bells," Vince Neil sings over a funk-rock backing track.
'Shout at the Devil'From: 'Shout at the Devil' (1983)
Motley Crue's second single was another heavy, riff-driven rocker that resulted in the group being accused of Satanism. The track is dominated by a dark, aggressive tone and arguably isn't appropriate fare for church, but the lyric doesn't exactly seem to encourage worshiping evil, instead urging listeners, "But in the seasons of wither, we'll stand and deliver / Be strong and laugh and shout at the devil."
'Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)'From: 'Dr. Feelgood' (1989)
Motley Crue demonstrated a step forward with the somewhat more mature lyrical perspective of 'Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),' a wryly sarcastic relationship-ending song inspired by a line Nikki Sixx saw in a movie. Musically the track also shows the Crue moving forward, superimposing acoustic guitar picking over electric power chords and featuring a stronger grasp of pop songcraft than most of the group's earlier output, earning it a spot on our Top 10 Motley Crue Songs list.
'Wild Side'From: 'Girls, Girls, Girls' (1987)
'Wild Side' is one of the Crue's most complex tracks, both musically and lyrically. The track moves in and out of several different time signatures while still maintaining a heavy rock feel, while the lyric features interesting symbolism and wordplay like "Kneel down ye sinners, to streetwise religion / Greed's been crowned the new king / Hollywood dream teens, yesterday's trash queens / Save the blessings for the final ring, Amen."
'Dr. Feelgood'From: 'Dr. Feelgood' (1989)
The intersection of the L.A. Sunset Strip scene and drugs was never any big secret, but Motley Crue brought it right out into the open with 'Dr. Feelgood,' a song about a drug dealer. Musically the track features a massive funk-rock groove that saw the group moving further away from the straight riffing and simple lyrics of their early work and into a looser feel and clever lyrical approach. 'Dr. Feelgood' was Motley Crue's first mainstream Top 10 hit and is their highest-charting single to date.
'Girls, Girls, Girls'From: 'Girls, Girls, Girls' (1987)
The guys in Motley Crue gave a shoutout to hardworking strippers everywhere with the title song from their 1987 album. The video featured tough-guy bravado and motorcycle imagery, while the track itself referenced some of the Crue's favorite Sunset Strip clubs like the Body Shop, the Tropicana and Seventh Veil. The lyrics are none-too-subtle but certainly make their point: "Trick or treat, sweet to eat / On Halloween and New Year's Eve / Yankee girls, ya just can’t be beat / But you’re the best when you’re off your feet."
'Kickstart My Heart'From: 'Dr. Feelgood' (1989)
Nikki Sixx wrote 'Kickstart My Heart' after an infamous episode in which he overdosed and was declared clinically dead before an EMT brought him back to life with two adrenaline shots to the heart. The Grammy-nominated song features a heavy riff so compelling that it has often served to open shows, while the lyric as written described not an overdose, but a life of thrill-seeking: "When I get high,I get high on speed / Top fuel funny car's a drug for me / My heart, my heart, kickstart my heart."
'Home Sweet Home'From: 'Theatre of Pain' (1985)
Motley Crue made a dramatic turn toward the mainstream with this power ballad, which centers around a simple piano motif. Lyrically the song portrays a softer side as well: "You know that I've seen too many romantic dreams / Up in lights, fallin' off the silver screen / My heart's like an open book for the whole world to read / Sometimes nothing keeps me together at the seams." 'Home Sweet Home' not only tops our list of the Top 10 Motley Crue songs, it also came in at No. 67 on our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.
You Think You Know Motley Crue?