With the sad news that Fast Eddie Clarke passed away earlier today of complications from pneumonia at age 67, it truly marked the end of an era. Because Fast Eddie was the last surviving member of one of Britain’s best-loved hardrock dynasties.
Motorhead represented the hard-rock revival in the mid 1970s. Often considered the quintessential Heavy Metal band, Motorhead were stripped down and raw – and Fast Eddie was the king of speed-riff. They had no pretense, no gimmicks, no posturing – they did what they did and were great at it.
My introduction to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmeister came by way of his earlier association with Hawkwind in around 1971. Hawkwind were always considered refugees of the Psychedelic era and probably would have become household names if they just got together a few years earlier. But I remember seeing Lemmy with Hawkwind during one of their rare tours of the U.S. in 1973 (or 1974). The next thing I heard, Lemmy had left Hawkwind and was forming his own band, Motorhead. It was in the mould of the growing Hard Rock revival which passed in and out of Punk territory in the mid-late 1970s that Motorhead gained its breakthrough with audiences. And with Fast Eddie providing his signature blazing solos, it was a band with few, if any peers.
But the association wouldn’t last forever and Fast Eddie Clarke left Motorhead to form Fastway. But it was his involvement with Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor that made the biggest impact on fans and critics.
This session, oddly enough their only session for John Peel, was recorded on September 25, 1978 and was around the time they were promoting their first single releases for the Bronze label (the label who also gave us Uriah Heep). The reworking of the standard Louie Louie rode to Number 68 on the British singes charts. It was successful enough to warrant a second album from the band, their first for Bronze.
So, in tribute to the last surviving member of one of the legendary bands of the early 70s, here is that Peel session, and all four numbers from it, from September 25, 1979.
RIP: Fast Eddie Clarke (1950-2018).