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Motley Crue - 1981 Too Fast For Love

ARTIST: Motley Crue
ALBUM: Too Fast For Love
LABEL: Leathur
SERIAL: M/C1281-2
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1982, Elektra, 60174-1 * 1987, Elektra, 60174-2 (many other reissues)


LINEUP: Vince Neil - vocals * Mick Mars - guitar * Nikki Sixx - bass * Tommy Lee - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Live Wire * 02 Come On And Dance * 03 Public Enemy #1 * 04 Merry Go Round * 05 Take Me To The Top * 06 Piece Of Your Action * 07 Starry Eyes * 08 Too Fast For Love * 09 On With The Show


I think few could dispute that the Motley Crue story is one of the most worn out in the rock catalogue, with their exploits having been told to the point of overkill. Including this are the bands origins, with the unlikely formation of the foursome which included veteran Mars hooking up with Sixx, who was part of failed rockers London. Neil had cut his teeth as part of Rock Candy and was (then) friends with Lee, who persuaded old Vince to join the Crue. The rest is history of course and who isn't aware of their grimy lifestyle on the Sunset Strip in the early 80's? The bands aggression and combative nature spilled over into their music and the resulting debut's raw edge is something few bands have ever matched in any genre. The original mix of the album was released on Leathur Records in 1981, but when the band signed to Elektra the album was remixed by Roy Thomas Baker, with most people claiming the impact from the original was lost. It doesn't dilute anything in my opinion, with the guitar work by Mars being some of the crudest and gutter-level ever captured on record. One thing is certain the band never sounded so unpolished ever again.

The Songs
If there was ever a perfect way to introduce your musical agenda then 'Livewire' is surely it, the mixture of speed and attitude reminiscent of Montrose and Van Halen on their first efforts. This sounds far more underground than those though, U.S. metal at its purest. 'Come On And Dance' seems to have been forgotten over time, but it's still one of the Crue's heaviest riffs on vinyl, all swagger and bluster. This set the stage for so many bands in the 80's it's unfathomable, especially Neil's whiny vocals. The chugging rhythm of 'Public Enemy #1' is a type of metal that was so far removed from the NWOBHM that it is uniquely American and seemingly more advanced as well. It shared the same bottom of the barrel production values as many of its English counterparts, but has a touch more verve about it. The songwriting of 'Merry-Go-Round' is proof of Sixx's impressive songwriting skill for a youngster, showing good lyrical sense and musical compatibility, which wouldn't always be the case in the 80's for him. The toughness of 'Take Me To The Top' is dangerous and downright heavy, making it laughable when you hear deluded thrashers claiming how wimp the Crue were and how their mission was to destroy their 'glam' rock. What were they listening to? This song is true American metal, the way it was meant to be played. It's true the Crue had a more dolled up image, but in the early days it was more about leather and mock Satanism than anything. The class continues with 'Piece Of Your Action' and the ominous riffs from Mars leading into a hugely melodic chorus, another obvious early trait of these hooligans. This hasn't dated one ounce in 30 plus years, still as streetwise as if it was still 1981 and heavy metal was a force to be reckoned with. 'Starry Eyes' shows a more melodic side to the proceedings and in fine form too, not quite AOR but with ragged elements of the genre intact, the guitar work beckoning it away from being lumped into the category. The chanted hook of the title track is appealing and the range of Neil is noticeable here, a great singer in the making. The melancholy strains of 'On With The Show' soon evolve into a ready-made anthem, presenting the band in a light they wouldn't quite sound like ever again, despite their best intentions.

In Summary
As you might have surmised there isn't one bad track in the lot here, an instant classic obviously. Back in 1997 a certain reviewer thought otherwise however. During that year the band released remastered versions of the early albums and in a Metal Hammer review, alternative and punk music ridden hack James Sherry belittled the debut, claiming the only reason the Crue made it big was because the underground had yet to be exposed. What an idiot. As I wrote above the Crue were the underground, having come from the bottom and recorded the album on a shoestring, building their reputation by word of mouth and energetic live shows. So what bands was Sherry on about? The Butthole Surfers? Maybe Sonic Youth? That comment has sickened me for years, just like his one star rating. I think most of us here know the difference, with the album setting the band up for decades to come, proving how superior they were from the start.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 20 2013 13:57:10
This was one of my most played albums during 1981/82. Brings back a boat load of good memories.
#2 | tompa on May 20 2013 16:08:53
Still a great album, with "Piece Of Your Action" being a big favourite of mine from the very first listen.
#3 | Eric on May 20 2013 17:16:03
The only Crue album I ever bought. They mentioned Sweet a lot in early interviews, so I gave it a spin. Nothing like Sweet of course but still a cool platter.
#4 | reyno-roxx on May 21 2013 08:27:10
The Elektra version of this record was a real disappointment to me. Roy Thomas Baker's appraisals of the songs were, ;Live Wire' aside, quite poor and 'Stick To Your Guns' had been left off altogether.

The Leathur Records running order is: 'Live Wire'; 'Public Enemy #1'; 'Take Me To The Top'; 'Merry-Go-Round'; 'Piece Of Your Action'; 'Starry Eyes'; 'Stick To Your Guns'; 'Come On And Dance'; 'Too Fast For Love'; 'On With The Show'.

There was a fair bit of hype in 'Sounds' and then 'Kerrang!' when the album first appeared in 1981 and I don't think the record was an absolute killer of a release, but there was no denying at least three songs were very, very good: 'Live Wire'; 'Piece Of Your Action' and 'Take Me To The Top'.

There are two versions of the Leathur album featuring slightly different covers; the second released more widely through the Greenworld distribution company.

A rare cassette version also exists, that to the ears of myself and Steve Hammonds (who I gave my example to - I don't know if he still has it) possessed a heavier mix.

The Leathur version was included on the 'Music To Crash Cars To Volume 1' box set, but is a bad vinyl rip. Shocking state of affairs from a major record label like Warners!
#5 | spawn71 on May 21 2013 14:38:47
I simply love Crue's debut, for the same reasons explained so well in the review! Raw, energetic, kick ass rock'n'roll! Another masterpiece is "Shout At The Devil", then they have focused on the right formula for the masses... But here they are wild and free!
#6 | sabace on May 21 2013 18:40:39
bought lp based on sounds review, I had the leathur lp . I was underwhelmed, love the guitar on live wire and the scorpions influenced piece of your action the rest was alright . Eventually sold lp to a MOTLEY fanatic in the nineties .
#7 | GSpar77491 on May 25 2013 03:21:57
Classic album indeed. I would love to hear the Leathur version. Anyone have a rip?

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