Home Rock music Motley Crue was born with ‘Live Wire’

Motley Crue was born with ‘Live Wire’


One of glam metal’s greatest bands made their presence known on August 16, 1982, when Motley Crue released the single “Live Wire.”

The group had formed a year earlier. Bassist Nikki Sixx left his old band, London, and started working with drummer Tommy Lee. An advertisement in The Recycler landed guitarist Mick Mars in the band. The final track was vocalist Vince Neil, although it took some effort to get him on board.

“I listened to them and tried not to vomit or laugh”, Neil reminded the first time he listened to the band’s demos. “There was no way I was playing with this lame band, if you could call them a band.”

Yet Lee, who knew Neil years before their collaboration, kept recruiting the singer. Neil eventually agreed to join the fledgling band for a rehearsal. Even in this unrefined environment, the band that would become Motley Crue had obvious sparks.

“[Neil’s] high-pitched, grating vocals combined with Nikki’s out-of-time shabby bass playing, Mick’s over-amped guitar and my way-too-busy-excited drums. And it sounded good,” Lee reminded. “While there, Nikki started rewriting her songs for Vince’s vocals, and the first result was ‘Live Wire’.”

Listen to Motley Crue’s “Live Wire”

Although the song, with its blitzkrieg of guitars and percussion, is an onslaught of rock energy, its inspiration came from a much darker place.

“The song is actually about domestic violence”, Sixx Explain in 2019, noting that the song stemmed from his “relationship with my mother and those stepfathers who beat me”.

Motley Crue’s debut album, too fast for lovefirst got a limited release through Leathür Records in 1981. The band eventually signed a deal with Elektra in 1982, who, after some remixing and tweaking to the stuff list, agreed to give too fast for love a larger version. The first single from the re-released album was “Live Wire”, released on August 16, 1982. Although the band went on to have many bigger hits, none were more significant.

“We were Motley Crue at the time. At this fucking time, Lee said of the day “Live Wire” reunited. “We premiered one of our classic songs five minutes into our first jam with Vince.”

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