Iconic cover for Motörhead ‘Ace Of Spades’ wasn’t shot in Arizona desert as you may have thought

Most people assume it was shot in the vast American Arizona desert...

AC SPEED  SENIOR EDITOR
Posted 13.08.2019 09:03
Updated 13.08.2019 10:13

Motörhead

Lemmy

Ace Of Spades

Ace Of Spades by Motörhead is arguably one of the bands most successful albums released during their impressive 40-year career. Ace Of Spades was their highest charting album in the UK, peaking at number 4 in the charts when it was released back in 1980. It also reached Gold status by March 1981, which, for a heavy metal band in the early 80s was quite an achievement. It was also the band's debut release in the United States.

Ace Of Spades is without a doubt one of the most iconic records of all time. Still to this day, Ace Of Spades is one of the most instantly recognizable songs on the planet, and for Motörhead fans, it’s also one of the greatest records in their discography. Featuring Filthy Phil Taylor, Fast Eddie Clarke, and the man himself, Lemmy Kilmister, this iconic Motörhead line up made Rock and Roll history when they entered Jackson's Studios, Rickmansworth, England to record the masterpiece.

Speaking about the classic single from the album in his autobiography, White Line Fever, Lemmy said:

“I used gambling metaphors, mostly cards, and dice — when it comes to that sort of thing, I'm more into the slot machines actually, but you can't really sing about spinning fruit, and the wheels coming down. Most of the song's just poker, really - 'I know you've got to see me, read 'em and weep, Dead man's hand again, aces and eights' - that was Wild Bill Hickock's hand when he got shot.”

One of the most striking aspects of the album is the front cover of the record itself. Lemmy, Phil, and Eddie stand tall and intimidating fully dressed head to toe in their Billy the Kid, wild west inspired cowboy outfits. Three of the meanest looking outlaws you would never want to meet in a dark alley. Spurs kicking into the ground and guns holstered ready to draw. This iconic image added an element of danger to Motörheads already notoriously Rock and Roll bad boy behavior.

The rocky landscape captured on the front cover of Ace Of Spades, bright blue sky and outlaws conjures thoughts of the wild Arizona desert of the wild west. Sun beating down, sand storms and dust devils sweeping the landscape, and not a soul to be seen for miles.

Arizona Desert, USA

In an interview with PlayLouder back in 2004, Lemmy revealed just exactly where the famous front cover photography was actually taken, and it’s far less glamorous than it looks. The front cover for Ace Of Spades was actually the result of a photo shoot that took place in a sand pit in High Barnet in London, England.

...High Barnet. That famous desert shot, it's a sandpit in High Barnet. That's the thing ain’t it, they could've faked all the moon landings, hahaha
- Lemmy

The gloomy sand pit in High Barnet, London, England.

Lemmy goes onto say - “...that's real sky. It was one of them rare sunny, end of summer days. It was a good photoshoot. We got a few good pictures out of that. Really looked like fucking Arizona, didn't it?”

Lemmy was always known to take people for a ride and it turns out that even in death, the original Ace Of Spades can still take us for Jokers.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!

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