As we turn our time machines back to the year 1983 in the city of Los Angeles, we look back on the beginning of the complete and utter decadence of the eighties rock and roll scene filled with lots of hair and lots of rebellion. On this day, September 26th, 37 years ago, the glam metal innovators of the Sunset Strip (where they would soon dominate clubs like The Whisky A Go Go and the Starwood), entranced teens and outraged parents when Mötley Crüe released one of their most definitive works (and arguably most controversial) second studio record, ‘Shout At The Devil‘.
The matte black album cover with simple dark red text that looked relatively ordinary upon first glance clandestinely held a glistening pentagram printed on the front that was only obvious when held on an angle in the light. It opened up to a gatefold of the manliest looking women you’ve ever seen- or the most feminine looking men you’ve ever seen in the foreground of a fiery hell; either way you get the picture. Their androgynous look fit with black studded leather, high heeled boots, and a heavy amount of eyeliner and lipstick combined with their paramount riffs and overall malicious appearance attracted females and males alike.
“Shout At The Devil” was the band’s first record with Elektra Records where they had been signed in 1982. After remastering their debut record, ‘Too Fast For Love‘ it was time to create some brand new cutting-edge material and the results were nothing short of extraordinary. While simultaneously launching Mötley Crüe into the spotlight, the success of “Shout At The Devil” also went on to earn them the opening spot on Ozzy Osbourne’s 1984 “Bark At The Moon” tour (you all know the ants story), and the rest was history.
This record is without a doubt one of Mötley Crüe‘s most stupendous works and dare I say probably my favorite from them. From the title track to songs like “Looks That Kill“, “Too Young To Fall In Love“, “Ten Seconds To Love” and many more, this record is pretty brilliant. It is the perfect mix of the glam style that would only become more prevalent (but not quite the level of Poison glam) and good ole fashioned hard rock. To this day the transition from “In The Beginning” into “Shout At The Devil” is enough to give me goosebumps no matter how many times I’ve heard it before. The album is full of sexual innuendos and sticking it to the man. We even get a grimy (in the best way) hard rock rendition of “Helter Skelter” made famous by The Beatles.
A rather hidden masterpiece of this record is the ballad-esque track ‘Danger’ which closes out the album. “Danger / You’re in danger when the boys are around / Danger / You’re in danger and this is my town / This is Hollywood.” If there was one song that acted as a premonition for the next decade of Mötley Crüe, this would most certainly be it. I find that the hauntingly catchy tune is the most looked over on “Shout At The Devil” and I definitely believe it deserves some more appreciation.
As many know, upon the record’s release it received an absurd amount of criticism due to its “satanic themes.” (This attempt at censoring would only increase when the PMRC, led by the more-evil-than-any-rock-and-roll-record Tipper Gore, aims at track four of ‘Shout At The Devil‘, “Bastard” in the mid-80’s). Below you can watch the memorable Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil interview where he exclaims what would be one of his most famous quotes, “It’s Shout AT The Devil. Not Shout WITH The Devil.”
In February of 1984, Rolling Stone’s J.D. Considine only gave the record two stars, stating that “Mötley Crüe‘s version of rock & roll is such a careful distillation of Black Sabbath, Kiss, and other arena giants that you’d almost think it was developed by MTV‘s marketing staff.” (You can read the rest of the lack luster review here). It’s no surprise that Mötley Crüe was far from approved by the mainstream media, but Rolling Stone’s less than positive review didn’t stop the record from charting, and certainly didn’t prevent them from having extreme longevity over the last almost 40 years.
In 1983 ‘Shout At The Devil‘ charted at #17 on the Billboard 200 and in 1984 charted at #23 on the RPM100 charts in Canada. The singles off this record includes the title track, “Shout At The Devil” along with “Looks That Kill” and “Too Young To Fall In Love” and as of 1997, the record has been certified 4x platinum, selling over 4,000,000 records since it’s release on Elektra Records.
The band released a remastered version of the record in 2003 which included the album’s ’12th’ track, ‘I Will Survive‘ along with four demos: ‘Looks That Kill‘, ‘Too Young to Fall In Love‘, ‘Shout At The Devil‘, and the last being ‘Hotter Than Hell‘ which was later released on 1985’s “Theatre of Pain.”
When I look back on the beloved period of ‘glam metal’ and 1980’s hard rock, Mötley Crüe without a doubt remains as one of the heavy weight champions and this record remains as one of the era’s most classic. Despite the band’s life of excess and debauchery, the Crüe managed to stay at the top of their game. Although they would soon be tested in many different fashions as the years went on, Mötley Crüe would go on to release countless more hits and rather iconic records including ‘Theatre of Pain‘ (1985), ‘Girls Girls Girls‘ (1987), and ‘Dr. Feelgood‘ (1989).
‘Shout At The Devil‘ is hands down a solid album from start to finish brimming with both crowd-pleasing hits and buried gems. As long as I’m around there will be someone enjoying this record for the next 37 years to come!
Vince Neil — lead vocals
Mick Mars — guitars, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Nikki Sixx — bass, bass pedals, backing vocals
Tommy Lee — drums, backing vocals
1. In The Beginning
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Looks That Kill
5. God Bless The Children Of The Beast
6. Helter Skelter
7. Red Hot
8. Too Young To Fall In Love
9. Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid
10. Ten Seconds To Love
Where would you rank ‘Shout At The Devil’ in your list of Mötley Crüe favorites? Share with your fellow metalheads, leave a comment, and let me know!