Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mötley Crüe - Live Wire

Loud, brash, and borderline out-of-control, Mötley Crüe created the pop metal mold.  The band formed in 1981 in LA (of course), and were led by bassist Nikki Sixx (given name: Frank Feranna).  The original band consisted of Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee (given name: Thomas Lee Bass) and guitarist/singer Greg Leon.  When Leon left, Sixx and Lee replaced him with guitarist Mick Marrs (given name: Robert Deal) and singer Vince Neil (given name: Vincent Neil Wharton) and just like that, Mötley Crüe was born.

By combining hard rock with glam metal, Mötley Crüe stumbled upon a marketable formula.  This was helped by their solid hooks; some critics have compared the band to Cheap Trick, although I see a lot of Kiss influences as well.  The music and strong live shows would likely have made Mötley Crüe successful in any era, but the visuals proved to be a huge advantage in the MTV-led 1980's.  Unlike older hard rock bands (and even the New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts), Crüe embraced videos and became big stars as a result.

While the 1983 "Looks That Kill" video really propelled the band to hard rock stardom, we opted for their first major video, 1981's "Live Wire."  The band is not as polished as it would be in later efforts, but the vid shows a young, energetic band with some nice licks and a real understanding of visuals -- something that was often lacking in hard rock acts of the early 1980's.

Mötley Crüe would go on to sell 80 million units and have 6 top 10 LPs.  They would also have 6 top 40 hits during the 1980's, although "Live Wire" was not among them (it did not chart).  As of this writing, the band intends to go on a final tour and call it quits in 2015 or so.

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