No Sleep 'til Hammersmith

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No Sleep ’til Hammersmith
Live album by Motörhead
Released 27 June 1981
Recorded 1980; 28 March to 30 March 1981
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock

40:31 (Original)

51:20 (CD Reissue)
Label Bronze
Producer Vic Maile
Motörhead chronology
St. Valentine's Day Massacre
No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
Iron Fist
Singles from No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
  1. "Motorhead (live)"
    Released: 11 July 1981

No Sleep ’til Hammersmith is the first live album by Motörhead. Released on 27 June 1981, it peaked at #1 on the UK album charts.[1] It was followed by the release of the single "Motorhead" (coupled with the non-album track "Over the Top") on 11 July, which peaked in the UK singles chart at #6.[2]


With the exception of "Iron Horse / Born To Lose" which was from a 1980 show, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith was recorded at the Leeds and Newcastle shows during the Short, Sharp Pain In The Neck five-date tour in 1981. The name of the tour was a reference to the injury sustained by Phil Taylor when he was dropped on his head during some after-show horseplay. Despite the title of the album, the London venue the Hammersmith Odeon was not played on the tour, the shows being:

  • 27 March 1981: West Runton Pavilion, Norfolk, England
  • 28 March 1981: Queens Hall, Leeds, England
  • 29 March 1981: City Hall, Newcastle, England
  • 30 March 1981: City Hall, Newcastle, England
  • 3 April 1981: Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland[3]

Backstage at the Leeds and Newcastle shows the band were presented with silver record and gold record for sales of Ace of Spades, a silver record for Overkill and a silver record for "Please Don't Touch".[4]

Lemmy has stated that originally they intended No Sleep 'til Hammersmith to be a double album but they only had enough material for three sides. At time of the album's release, the band were in the middle of their first tour of North America, supporting Ozzy Osbourne.[4]

The US 1996 CD version added detail to the effect that the bonus tracks were recorded "live in the studio at about the same time as the Hammersmith shows". Presumably this means at about the same time as the shows for the live album, since the Hammersmith Odeon was not played on the tour. One of the Newcastle dates was most certainly used on the record for the song "(We Are) The Road Crew," as evidenced by a roadie saying "Come on then Newcastle! Let's hear it for the road crew!" The album title was taken from a plaque on the front of the tour bus showing a war pig and the text "No Sleep Til Hammersmith" written above, referring to previous tours when the dates regularly finished at Hammersmith Odeon in London (Now Eventim Apollo).The sound at Leeds Queens hall was not good and most of the original album is taken from Newcastle.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau B+[6]

No Sleep 'til Hammersmith is the band's most successful in terms of chart positioning, peaking at #1 on the UK charts, having capitalised on the preceding success of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP and Ace of Spades album and single. Lemmy believes its success was due to a building anticipation from their fan base for a live album, due to the band having toured so heavily in the past, but also considered it "our downfall" due to the difficulty in following up its success.[7]

The album is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Cultural references[edit]

The band's second live album is designated the brother of No Sleep 'til Hammersmith and is called Nö Sleep at All.[8]

The album title has been parodied or referenced on:

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Eddie Clarke, Ian Kilmister and Phil Taylor except where stated.. 

Side 1
No. Title Length
1. "Ace of Spades"   3:01
2. "Stay Clean"   2:50
3. "Metropolis"   3:31
4. "The Hammer"   3:05
5. "Iron Horse/Born to Lose" (Taylor, Mick Brown, Guy "Tramp" Lawrence) 3:58
6. "No Class"   2:34
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Overkill"   5:13
2. "(We Are) the Road Crew"   3:31
3. "Capricorn"   4:40
4. "Bomber"   3:24
5. "Motorhead" (Kilmister) 4:47
1996 Essential Records CD bonus tracks
No. Title Length
1. "Over the Top" [B-side]"   3:04
2. "Capricorn" [alternate]"   4:54
3. "Train Kept A-Rollin'" (Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, Lois Mann) 2:44

2001 Metal-Is Records "Complete Edition"[edit]

Disc 1 bonus tracks
No. Title Length
1. "Over The Top" (B-side) 2:57
2. "Shoot You in the Back" (previously unreleased) 2:43
3. "Jailbait" (Previously unreleased) 3:34
4. "Leaving Here" (Previously unreleased) 2:48
5. "Fire, Fire" (Previously unreleased) 2:55
6. "Too Late, Too Late" (Previously unreleased) 3:04
7. "Bite the Bullet/The Chase Is Better than the Catch" (Previously unreleased) 6:38
Disc 2
No. Title Length
1. "Ace of Spades" (alternate) 2:47
2. "Stay Clean" (alternate) 2:54
3. "Metropolis" (alternate) 3:46
4. "The Hammer" (alternate) 3:01
5. "Capricorn" (alternate) 5:00
6. "No Class" (alternate) 2:44
7. "(We Are) the Road Crew" (alternate) 3:31
8. "Bite the Bullet/The Chase Is Better than the Catch" (alternate) 6:07
9. "Overkill" (alternate) 4:53
10. "Bomber" (alternate) 3:26
11. "Motorhead" (alternate) 5:31

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
UK Albums Chart[9] 1


  • Produced by Vic Maile
  • Front sleeve photographs by Ian Kalinouski
  • Back sleeve photographs by Graham Mitchell and Simon Porter

Release history[edit]

Date Region Label Catalogue Format Notes
27 June 1981 UK Bronze BRON 535 vinyl Peaked at #1 in the album chart.
Has a photo-montage inner-sleeve
27 June 1981 UK Bronze BRONG 535 gold vinyl
1990 UK Castle CLACD 179 CD
1996 UK Essential ESMCD313 CD 3 bonus tracks, gold picture disc
1996 North America Dojo DOJO 3035-2 CD 3 bonus tracks
2001 UK Sanctuary SMEDD 043 2CD "Complete Edition": bonus unreleased tracks
(disk 1) and alternate takes (disk 2)


  1. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing p70. ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  2. ^ Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motörhead". Record Collector (140): 18–19. 
  3. ^ 1981 tour dates
  4. ^ a b Kilmister, Ian Fraser and Garza, Janiss White Line Fever (2002). Simon & Schuster p. 145. ISBN 0-684-85868-1.
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ Robert Christgau review
  7. ^ Shaw, Harry (2002). Lemmy... In his own words. Omnibus Press (c) 2002. p. 38. ISBN 0-7119-9109-X. 
  8. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  9. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Stars on 45 by Starsound
UK Albums Chart number one album
27 June 1981 – 3 July 1981
Succeeded by
Disco Daze and Disco Nites by Various Artists