“Ace of Spades” was released in 1980 as a single and the title track to the album Ace of Spades.
Initially issued as a 7″ vinyl single on 27 October 1980 as a preview to the album Ace of Spades and autumn tour, the song was also released by Bronze Records as a 12″ vinyl pressing in special Christmas picture sleeves, limited to 50,000 copies. The picture of the band in Santa outfits used on the cover was taken at the Aylesbury Fair, while the band were on tour.
Bronze also issued German and Spanish 7″ vinyl versions which had a different sleeves, as well as a Japanese release, with a colour picture insert with song lyrics in English and Japanese. One sided test pressings (not mis-presses, but used in the trade) escaped the pressing plant and are on the market.
The song opens with an overdriven bass intro played by Lemmy. For the lyrics, he said he “used gambling metaphors, mostly cards and dice – when it comes to that sort of thing, I’m more into the one-arm bandits actually, but you can’t really sing about spinning fruit, and the wheels coming down”.
Now, you got the chance to listen to Lemmy’s isolated bass track on the song. It’s really amazing.
On 6 September 1980, Lemmy was interviewed by Graham Neale on BBC Radio 1’s Rock On Saturday show, “Bomber”, “Ace of Spades” and “Love Me Like a Reptile” were played. The following month, on 6 and 20 October, the band played the song on BBC TV show Top of the Pops.
Ace of Spades is listed in the one of the most popular music rhythm games, Guitar Hero, which was distributed by Activision.
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