The Stories Behind the Non-Motley Crue Songs in ‘The Dirt’
The soundtrack to Motley Crue's The Dirt movie contains 14 of their best-known songs as well as four new recordings. But there are other tracks heard in the movie that aren't by the band. Songs by artists like Billy Squier, T. Rex and Kim Wilde, plus many obscure cuts, help set the biopic's tone. Here's a rundown of them.
The Jaynetts, "Cry Behind the Daisies"
This song plays as we first arrive at Nikki Sixx's pleasant-looking childhood home, but before we learn of the trouble brewing inside. Hailing from the Bronx, the Jaynetts are best remembered for their hit "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," which reached No. 2 in 1963. By the time they recorded "Cry Behind the Daisies" a year later, the group consisted of only one person who sang on "Sally" -- Johnnie Louise Richardson, who was the daughter of the group's producer Zelma "Zell" Saunders -- plus three others. Even though "Cry Behind the Daisies" has a similar sound to the previous hit, it failed to capture the public's imagination.
T. Rex, "Solid Gold Easy Action"
T. Rex had only one major hit in the U.S., 1971's "Get It On (Bang a Gong)," but in the U.K. they had 11 consecutive Top 10s between 1970's "Ride a White Swan" and 1973's "The Groover." "Solid Gold Easy Action" arrived near the end of that run, peaking at No. 2 in 1972. In The Dirt, the song can be heard in a scene where the young Nikki Sixx is rocking out in his room, which quickly angers his mother.
Death, "Keep on Knocking"
Sixx's mother complaining about T. Rex only inspires him to make the music louder and angrier. "Keep on Knocking" is by Detroit garage band Death, who had some recordings financed by Columbia Records. But the group's unwillingness to change its name led to the label pulling its offer after only seven songs were completed. Death recovered their masters and pressed 500 copies of a single, "Politicians in My Eyes" / "Keep on Knocking," and releasing it independently in 1976. Those sessions were eventually released in 2009 as ... For the Whole World to See.
Gary Charlson, "Close Enough"
Gary Charlson was a skinny tie-wearing power popper from Kansas City who was signed to the local Titan label, which operated from 1978-81. "Close Enough" was recorded in June 1979 but remained unreleased until 2008, when it and six other Charlson songs appeared on Titan: It's All Pop, a compilation of highlights from the Chicago-based reissue label Numero Group. The song is first heard as we meet drummer Tommy Lee in his poster-plastered childhood bedroom.
The Kind, "Total Insanity"
Another Numero Group compilation, 2012's Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago, documents a selection of obscure indie power pop from Illinois. One of the songs found on the collection, "Total Insanity" by the Kind, provides the soundtrack for Lee and Sixx's first meeting. It was released on Three-Sixty Records in 1981.
Billy Squier, "My Kinda Lover"
When Sixx, Lee and Mick Mars go to meet Vince Neil, he's performing Billy Squier's "My Kinda Lover" in a cover band. The song was Squier's third Hot 100 hit from 1981's triple-platinum Don't Say No, the record that featured his biggest hit, "The Stroke."
Kim Wilde, "Chequered Love"
Kim Wilde had a New Wave classic with her 1981 debut single, "Kids in America," which plays as Lee asks Vince Neil to join the band. The song was a No. 25 hit in the U.S. that reached No. 2 in her native Great Britain. Even though the follow-up, "Chequered Love," featured an equally catchy blend of synth-pop and crunchy guitars, it failed to chart in the U.S., though it still hit the Top 10 in many other countries.
Jimmy Carter and the Dallas County Green, "A Night of Love"
With its acoustic guitars and female background singers placed high in the mix, "A Night of Love" by Jimmy Carter and the Dallas County Green wouldn't have sounded out of place on the radio during country-rock's mid-'70s heyday. The eight songs recorded by the southwestern Missouri songwriter in 1977 and released as Summer Brings the Sunshine were reissued by Numero Group in 2016. This track plays as Vince Neil shares a romantic interlude with his girlfriend and decides to give Motley Crue a shot.
The Colors, "Go Go Getter"
Another lost power-pop gem used in The Dirt is "Go Go Getter" by New York's the Colors. Their recorded output consists of a few EPs and a self-titled 1982 album produced by Blondie drummer Clem Burke on which "Go Go Getter" can be found. Bassist Robert Vickers later joined the Australian indie-rock band the Go-Betweens. It can be heard as the band meets A&R executive Tom Zutaut, who politely turns down the surprise they have waiting for him under the table.
Heat Exchange, "Philosophy"
Here's the soundtrack to the band's post-signing party, which is attended by none other than David Lee Roth. Signed to Toronto's Yorkville label, Heat Exchange were a hard-rock prog band that put out three singles in 1973 before disbanding. "Philosophy" was the B-side to the last one, "She Made Me All Alone." Those six songs, plus four others, were compiled and released on 2017's Reminiscence.
Goliath, "Hot Rock and Thunder"
Soon after meeting Zutaut -- and just before their first show opening for Ozzy Osbourne -- Neil gets up close and personal with the label executive's girlfriend to the strains of Golaith's "Hot Rock and Thunder." Formed in Terre Haute, Ind., by brothers Steve and Bill Peterson, Goliath relocated to Louisville in the early '70s, honing their chops as staff writers for a local publishing company. They eventually got the opportunity to release their own album on the Bridges label. "Hot Rock and Thunder" was the title track, one of seven songs recorded for the project. The record was re-released by Numero Group in 2015.
Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, "Man on the Moon"
While Jonathan Elias and John Petersen aren't household names, their composition "Man on the Moon" is certainly famous to anybody who grew up in the '80s. It's the power-chord heavy track that MTV used in its early days.
Liquid Blue, "Big Money"
In the late '70s, Liquid Blue had a minor disco hit with "Ain't That What You Want," but the eight songs found on their 2013 Liquid Gold compilation show off their rock influences. "Big Money" finds a bit of middle ground, with an early Hall & Oates blue-eyed soul feel on the verses and some Can't Buy a Thrill-era Steely Dan with the harmonies in the chorus. It's played at the house party where Lee meets his future wife, TV star Heather Locklear.
Nu Shooz, "I Can't Wait"
"I Can't Wait" first appeared on Nu Shooz's second record, That's Right, in 1985. it failed to catch on as a single except in their native Portland, but a remix was made in the Netherlands and became a European hit. It was then added to their next album, 1986's Poolside, and reached No. 3 in the U.S. and topped the dance chart. The follow-up, "Point of No Return," got as high as only No. 28. Neil and his friend Razzle are enjoying the song on a beer run, just before the tragic car accident that took the Hanoi Rocks drummer's life.
Meghan Kabir, "Live Wire"
During a scene where Nikki Sixx is shooting heroin, a version of Motley Crue's "Live Wire" is heard. The singer is Meghan Kabir, a Nashville-based songwriter who, credited as Shahnaz (her middle name), sang backup on Sixx A.M.'s This Is Gonna Hurt album. She's also collaborated on material for Kelly Clarkson, Cassadee Pope and Selena Gomez.
Johnny Thunders, "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory"
After Sixx has his almost-fatal overdose, the soundtrack uses a song by one of rock's most infamous junkies, former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders. "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" was found on his 1978 solo album, So Alone. It gained a wider audience when Guns N' Roses covered it on "The Spaghetti Incident?" in a version featuring all instruments performed by Duff McKagan.