The Origin Story of Mötley Crüe

Masters of 1980s hair metal, Mötley Crüe, to this day, is a ragtag bunch of hard-rocking rapscallions with hits out the wazoo and a rock and roll reputation that would make the devil blush. The Los Angeles-formed group—for decades comprised of Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil—pioneered a style that became widely emulated by fellow rockers throughout the decade, but no one did Mötley Crüe quite like Mötley Crüe.

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In recent news, however, the band has made headlines due to infighting, a retirement, and a lawsuit filed; but to understand why they are where they are today, one must first understand where they’ve been.

“Loud, rude and aggressive guitar player available…”

A 22-year-old Nikki Sixx was already embroiled in the LA rock scene by the time he met 18-year-old drummer Tommy Lee. Sixx had been a bassist in a local band, called London, and left to start his own rock outfit. He teamed up with the young Lee and guitarist Greg Leon, someone Lee had played with in the band, Suite 19.

Leon wouldn’t hang around long and Sixx and Lee found themselves in need of a guitarist. The pair came across an ad in The Recycler one day that grabbed their attention. It read: “Loud, rude, aggressive guitar player available.” Like an answered prayer, that ad led to them meeting guitarist Mick Mars who was immediately asked to join after auditioning.

All the three needed now was a lead singer. Enter Vince Neil. Lee had known Neil, who was at the time fronting a band called Rock Candy, from their high school days. The trio went to watch him perform and immediately singled him out as having the pipes and the charisma to be the voice of the group. Neil initially turned down their offer but was eventually convinced to audition. It’s safe to say he got the part as frontman and it wasn’t long before the quartet was ready to rock.

The Rise of Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe released their debut album, Too Fast for Love, in late 1981, which featured their now classic tune “Live Wire.” With the release, their popularity began to increase beyond the Los Angeles club scene and record labels began to take notice. They were signed to Elektra Records the following year.

The band took off across the U.S. and only expanded its reach with the release of their acclaimed sophomore album, Shout at the Devil, in 1983. Harboring successes like the title track, “Looks That Kill,” and “Too Young to Fall in Love,” the album marked their official breakthrough.

For the next decade or more, Mötley Crüe would rule, releasing innumerable hit records and legendary albums like Theatre of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Dr. Feelgood. Along the way, the ragtag bunch lived their lives as they did on stage, wildly, loudly, and decadently, garnering a rough and rowdy reputation that has stuck to this day.

Feel the energy of rock icons live! Book your Motley Crue Tour tickets and enjoy timeless music.

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