Mötley Crüe: The Kings of Glam Metal

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Mötley Crüe was an American glam metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, lead vocalist Vince Neil and lead guitarist Mick Mars.


The members of Mötley Crüe—Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitars), Nikki Sixx (bass), and Tommy Lee (drums)—are the undisputed kings of glam metal. Hailing from Los Angeles, the band has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, setting countless sales records along the way. Thanks to their hedonistic lifestyles and outrageous onstage antics, they’ve also become one of the most infamous rock bands of all time.

The Early Days

Mötley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The band members are Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil. The band’s first album, “Too Fast for Love,” was released in 1981 on their own independent record label. It was a success, selling over 20,000 copies.

The formation of Mötley Crüe

The Early Days
Mötley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981 by bassist Nikki Sixx, vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee. Sixx and Mars had previously played together in a band called Sister, which had disbanded after releasing only one album. Lee had been a member of several bands, including Suite 19 and Denmark’s Oscar. Neil had made a name for himself as a solo artist with his album Vince Neil Exposed.

The four musicians decided to form Mötley Crüe after meeting at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip. The name of the band was suggested by a friend of Sixx who remembered an article about motorcycle gangs in Motley’s magazine. The Crüe’s first gig was at the Troubadour nightclub in Hollywood on December 23, 1981.

The early days of touring

Mötley Crüe’s first show was at the Orphanage, a now-defunct nightclub in Hollywood, on January 17, 1981. The band was initially managed by Allan Coffman, an industry veteran who had previously worked with Frank Zappa and Alice Cooper. The group’s first release was a three-song EP entitled “Too Fast for Love”, which was self-produced and financed by the band. It was recorded in just six days at a cost of $750, and was released on November 10, 1981 on the band’s own Leathür Records label.

Mötley Crüe quickly became a highly visible part of the L.A. music scene, due in part to their outrageous stage shows, which featured fire breathing, pyrotechnics, blood spitting, and live snakes. The group began headlining shows at major venues such as the Whisky a Go Go and the Troubadour, and their reputation as one of Hollywood’s premier live acts was further solidified with the release of their first full-length album, “Shout at the Devil”, in September 1983.

The Success

Mötley Crüe is an American glam metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead guitarist Mick Mars, and lead vocalist Vince Neil. They have been credited with being one of the bands that defined the 1980s Los Angeles metal scene, and have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

The release of Shout at the Devil

The release of Shout at the Devil in September 1983 was truly a game-changer for Mötley Crüe. The album was a marked departure from the band’s debut, Too Fast for Love, both in terms of its sound and its themes. Shout at the Devil featured a heavier, more guitar-driven sound, and its lyrics focused on Satanism and anti-Christianity. The album’s title track became one of the band’s most popular songs, and its artwork – which featured a pentagram superimposed over a crucifix – was both controversial and highly influential.

The release of Theatre of Pain

On June 21, 1985, Mötley Crüe released their third studio album, Theatre of Pain. It was the first album to feature new drummer Tommy Lee, and was also the band’s first release on Elektra Records. The album was a commercial success, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 chart and selling more than 2 million copies in the United States.

Theatre of Pain featured a more mature sound than the band’s previous albums, and includes the singles “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” and “Home Sweet Home”. The album wasproducer Roy Thomas Baker’s first work with the band, and he would go on to produce their next two albums, Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) and Dr. Feelgood (1989).

The Controversy

While many people see Mötley Crüe as the pioneers of glam metal, others see them as a group of controversy. Their on-stage antics, which often included pyrotechnics, fire breathing, blood-spitting, and simulated sex acts, raised a lot of eyebrows. Additionally, their off-stage antics, which included a lot of drug use, promiscuous behavior, and general debauchery, also caused a lot of controversy.

The death of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle

The death of Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley in December 1984 while the band was on tour with Mötley Crüe caused great controversy. Razzle was killed when the car he was a passenger in, driven by Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, collided with another vehicle.

The incident resulted in Hanoi Rocks breaking up and Mötley Crüe being sued by Razzle’s family. The controversy surrounding Razzle’s death cast a dark shadow over Mötley Crüe’s career and tarnished their image as bad boy rockers.

The drugs and alcohol

The members of Mötley Crüe were notorious for their hard-partying lifestyle, and they often wrote songs about drugs and alcohol. This led to some controversy, as critics accused them of glamorizing drug use. The band members have said that they wrote about their own experiences with drugs and alcohol in order to warn others about the dangers of addiction.

The Legacy

Mötley Crüe was one of the most popular glam metal bands of the 1980s. The band was known for their hard-partying lifestyle, which often led to controversy. Despite this, the band was very successful, selling over 100 million records worldwide. Let’s take a look at the legacy of Mötley Crüe.

The reunion and final tour

In 2008, Neil, Mike, and Tommy reunited with their original singer Vince Neil. The band made a new album called Saints of Los Angeles and went on tour. In 2010, the band decided to go on one last tour before they retire. They called it “The Final Tour”. On this tour, they played all over America and Europe. The final show was on New Year’s Eve, 2015.

The influence of Mötley Crüe

Love them or hate them, it’s impossible to deny the legacy of Mötley Crüe. The band has been credited (or blamed, depending on your opinion) with popularizing the “glam metal” sound and look that dominated the 1980s music scene.

With their over-the-top stage shows and schoolgirl-skimpy uniforms, Mötley Crüe were the epitome of “sex, drugs, and rock & roll.” The band’s bad boy image and hard-partying lifestyle was a major influence on many aspiring musicians – both inside and outside the metal genre.

Mötley Crüe was one of the first bands to successfully merge heavy metal with glam rock aesthetics, and their success paved the way for other bands like Poison, Guns N’ Roses, and Motley Crue. While some fans dismissed them as a joke, there’s no denying that Mötley Crüe left a lasting impression on the world of rock & roll.

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