Bomber (album)

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Bomber
Studio album by Motörhead
Released 27 October 1979
Recorded 7 July - 31 August 1979 at Roundhouse Studios and Olympic Studios, London
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock
Length 36:48 (Original) (1979)
54:46 (Reissue) (1996)
Label Bronze (1979) (UK)
CMC International (1996)
Sanctuary (2005)
Producer Jimmy Miller
Motörhead chronology
Overkill
(1979)
Bomber
(1979)
The Golden Years (EP)
(1980)
Singles from Bomber
  1. "Bomber"
    Released: 1 December 1979

Bomber is the third studio album by British heavy metal band Motörhead. It was recorded in 1979, the same year as Overkill. The album reached #12 on the UK charts and brought some of Motörhead's most popular songs, like "Bomber", "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Stone Dead Forever".

Background[edit]

By 1979, Motorhead had been together for five years and had amassed a loyal following in both punk and heavy metal circles. After recording an album for United Artists that the label shelved, the band released its eponymous debut LP in 1977, but it was with 1979's Overkill that the band hit their stride. The single "Overkill" landed in the UK Top 40 and, after appearing again on Top of the Pops, the band returned to the studio that summer with legendary producer Jimmy Miller to record what would become Bomber. However, the band did not have the opportunity to work up the songs on the road, as they had with their previous album. "I wish we'd played the songs onstage first, like we did with the Overkill album, if we could've played them for three weeks on the road it would have been less slick," Joel McIver quotes singer and bassist Lemmy in his book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motorhead. "Listen to the way we play them live and compare that to the album." Nonetheless, Bomber would peak at #12 on the UK albums chart, their strongest showing up to that point.

Recording[edit]

During the recording of this album, Jimmy Miller was increasingly under the influence of heroin, at one point disappearing entirely from the studio and being found asleep at the wheel of his car. Ironically the album features the band's first anti-heroin song - "Dead Men Tell No Tales".[1] Miller had produced some of the Rolling Stones most heralded work from 1968 to 1973 but, after struggling through the sessions for 1973's Goats Head Soup, had been shown to the door. In the documentary The Guts and the Glory, drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor marvels, "We used to think that we were bad at being late, but he would be, like, half a day late, or even more late, you know, and his excuses were marvelous." In his autobiography White Line Fever Lemmy states, "Overkill was supposed to be something of a comeback album for Jimmy Miller, which is exactly what it turned out to be for him. He had gotten very heavily into heroin (which likely began when he was working with the Stones) and he had lost it for a couple years...but months later, when we were working with him on Bomber, it was sadly clear that he was back on smack." The band returned to Roundhouse Studios in London with additional recording taking place at Olympic Studios. This album caught Lemmy at his most ferocious, hitting hard at the police in "Lawman", marriage and how his father left him and his mother in "Poison", television in "Talking Head" and show business in "All the Aces". This album is the first to have a picture of the band on the cover, which all three members are inside a plane. The title track was inspired by Len Deighton's novel Bomber. On one track, "Step Down", "Fast" Eddie Clarke is featured on vocals.[2] In his memoir Lemmy reveals that Clarke "had been bitching that I was getting all the limelight, but he wouldn't do anything about it. I got sick of him complaining, so I said, 'Right, you're gonna fucking sing one on this album.'...He hated it, but really, he was a good singer, Eddie." During the recording of Bomber, Motorhead played the Reading Festival, performing alongside other acts like the Police and the Eurythmics.

The single "Bomber" was released on 1 December 1979, two months ahead of the album; the single's initial pressing of 20,000 on blue vinyl was soon sold out and was replaced by black vinyl.[2] The album was released on 27 October 1979 and like the single, was initially pressed on blue vinyl.[3] The Bomber Tour followed, for which a forty-foot aluminium-tube 'bomber' was made; this had four 'engines', whereas the plane depicted on the album sleeve (which bore a resemblance to the Heinkel He 111) had two. This lighting-rig could move backwards and forwards, and side-to-side - the first to be able to do so.[1] The album cover features art by English commercial artist, Adrian Chesterman [4] who was also responsible for creating cover art for, amongst others, Chris Rea for his 1989 The Road to Hell album.

In White Line Fever, Lemmy calls Bomber "a transitional record" but admits "there are a couple of really naff tracks on it, like 'Talking Head.' In 1980 interview with Sounds, Clarke compared the LP unfavorable to Ace of Spades, stating "Bomber felt wrong. It wasn't all there."

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]

One critic suggests that the album is well regarded by the fans, and packed full of essential Motörhead tracks, with "Dead Men Tell No Tales", "Stone Dead Forever" and the title track itself being phenomenally good metal songs, adding that, with the exception of the bluesy "Step Down", the tracks are full of the characteristic sound of the classic line-up of Lemmy, Clarke and Taylor, with Clarke’s solo in "All the Aces" described as "blistering" and Lemmy spitting out intentions to ‘poison his wife’ in the life-reflecting "Poison" making it a sound of metal-dripping brilliance.[6] Jason Birchmeier of AllMusic writes, "There are a couple killers here, namely 'Dead Men Tell No Tales,' 'Stone Dead Forever,' and 'Bomber,' but overall, the songs of Bomber aren't as strong as those of Overkill were. Granted, this is somewhat of a moot point to raise, as Bomber is still a top-shelf Motörhead album, one of their all-time best, without question." In 2011 Motorhead biographer Joel McIver wrote, "Some think that the effort of writing two killer albums in the space of a year was too much for Motothead at this early stage, and that Bomber - released on October 27, seven months after its predecessor - couldn't hope to match up to Overkill."

A special double CD reissue of Bomber was released in June 2005 to coincide with Motörhead's 30th anniversary tour. The bonus tracks (bar one[clarification needed]) on the second CD, however, have all previously been available. In 2005, Bomber was ranked number 397 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Source: Amazon[8]

All tracks composed by Ian Kilmister, Phil Taylor and Eddie Clarke.

Original album[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Dead Men Tell No Tales"   3:07
2. "Lawman"   3:56
3. "Sweet Revenge"   4:10
4. "Sharpshooter"   3:19
5. "Poison"   2:54
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Stone Dead Forever"   4:54
7. "All the Aces"   3:24
8. "Step Down"   3:41
9. "Talking Head"   3:40
10. "Bomber"   3:43

Deluxe edition (Sanctuary Records 2005 Reissue)[edit]

Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Dead Men Tell No Tales"   3:07
2. "Lawman"   3:56
3. "Sweet Revenge"   4:10
4. "Sharpshooter"   3:19
5. "Poison"   2:54
6. "Stone Dead Forever"   4:54
7. "All the Aces"   3:24
8. "Step Down"   3:41
9. "Talking Head"   3:40
10. "Bomber"   3:43
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Over the Top"   3:20
2. "Stone Dead Forever" (Alternative version) 4:34
3. "Sharpshooter" (Alternative version) 3:16
4. "Bomber" (Alternative version) 3:35
5. "Step Down" (Alternative version) 3:29
6. "Leaving Here" (Dozier, Holland, Holland) (Live) 3:02
7. "Stone Dead Forever" (Live) 5:31
8. "Dead Men Tell No Tales" (Live) 2:44
9. "Too Late Too Late" (Live) 3:20
10. "Step Down" (Live) 3:49

Credits[edit]

Motörhead[edit]

Additional Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kilmister, Ian Fraser and Garza, Janiss White Line Fever (2002) — Simon & Schuster p133. ISBN 0-684-85868-1.
  2. ^ a b Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motörhead". Record Collector (140): 18. 
  3. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing p70. ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  4. ^ "Blog of the artist, blog.adrianchesterman.com". Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bomber Info". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bomber reviewed by Adam Harrold". Rock Something article. Retrieved 2007-02-20. [dead link]
  7. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 51. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
  8. ^ "Bomber Info". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 

External links[edit]