Overkill (album)

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Studio album by Motörhead
Released 24 March 1979
Recorded Roundhouse Studios and Sound Development Studios, London
Genre Heavy metal, speed metal, hard rock
Length 35:15 (Original) (1979)
51:11 (Reissue) (1996)
Label Bronze (UK) (1979)
CMC International (1996)
Sanctuary (2005)
Producer Jimmy Miller, Neil Richmond
Motörhead chronology
Singles from Overkill
  1. "Overkill"
    Released: 10 March 1979
  2. "No Class"
    Released: 30 June 1979
Singles from Overkill (1996 reissue)
  1. "Louie Louie"
    Released: 30 September 1978

Overkill is the second album by Motörhead, released in 1979. It was their first for Bronze Records, and peaked at #24 on the UK charts. The album had a big impact in the British punk culture of that time, paving the way for UK82. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #46 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".[1]


Bronze Records signed the band in 1978 and gave them time in Wessex Studios in London to record Richard Berry's "Louie Louie" and a new song by the band, "Tear Ya Down". The band toured to promote their single "Louie Louie" while Chiswick released the Motörhead album in white vinyl, to keep the momentum going. Sales of the single brought the band their first appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops, which gave Bronze the confidence to get the band back into the studio to record a second album.[2]

The first release from those sessions was the single release of "Overkill" backed with "Too Late, Too Late" in 7" and 12" pressings. The Chiswick album Motörhead had been a hasty affair as was its production, although it had a sub-bootleg quality which may be appealing, Overkill had more spring and bounce, and a thundering title track that would become a show-stopper for years to come. Three weeks after the initial release of the album in black vinyl, the album was released in a limited edition of 15,000 in green vinyl.[2]

In June 1979, "No Class" was lifted from the album as a follow-up single, backed with a previously unreleased song, "Like a Nightmare". With a view to increasing the sales, the single was released in three different covers, one each of Lemmy, Clarke and Taylor.[3]

The album was reissued on Cassette, CD and vinyl by Castle Communications in 1988, coupled with Another Perfect Day, Bronze having issued a cassette of the album coupled with Bomber in 1980.[4]

Sleeve artwork[edit]

Joe Petagno, the sleeve artist, had this to say about the cover of the album, which he felt rushed into because the band could not find him:

I had about a week and a half to get it finished... But it was always a disappointment for me, personally. It should have been multi-layered. It was supposed to have a feeling that there was more to it, there were going to be more bits and pieces. In a way, I kind of did it on the Inferno thing. I sort of took my revenge on the new trinity. In a way.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [6]
Blender 5/5 stars [7]

In 2005, Overkill was ranked number 340 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[8] However, it has also been criticised for being one dimensional, sloppy and unskilled [9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ian Kilmister, Phil Taylor and Eddie Clarke

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Overkill"   5:12
2. "Stay Clean"   2:40
3. "(I Won't) Pay Your Price"   2:56
4. "I'll Be Your Sister"   2:51
5. "Capricorn"   4:06
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "No Class"   2:39
7. "Damage Case" (Clarke, Kilmister, Taylor, Mick Farren) 2:59
8. "Tear Ya Down"   2:39
9. "Metropolis"   3:34
10. "Limb from Limb"   4:54

Sanctuary Records 2005 reissue 2CD deluxe edition[edit]

Disc One includes the original album without bonus tracks.

All songs written and composed by Kilmister, Taylor and Clarke, except where noted. 

Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Louie Louie" (Single A-side; Richard Berry) 2:47
2. "Louie Louie" (Alternative version; Berry) 2:52
3. "Louie Louie" (Alternative version 2; Berry) 2:45
4. "Tear Ya Down" ("Louie Louie" B-side) 2:41
5. "Tear Ya Down" (Alternative version) 2:41
6. "Tear Ya Down" (Instrumental version) 2:39
7. "Too Late Too Late" ("Overkill" B-side) 3:25
8. "Like a Nightmare" ("No Class" B-side) 4:13
9. "Like a Nightmare" (Alternative version) 4:27
10. "Louie Louie" (BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78; Berry) 2:46
11. "I'll Be Your Sister" (BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78) 3:15
12. "Tear Ya Down" (BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78) 2:39
13. "Stay Clean" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 3:03
14. "No Class" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 2:43
15. "I'll Be Your Sister" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 3:35
16. "Too Late Too Late" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 3:24
17. "(I Won't) Pay Your Price" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 3:19
18. "Capricorn" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 4:14
19. "Limb from Limb" (BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79) 5:26


  • Joe Petagnosleeve artwork
  • Recorded December 1978 – January 1979 at Roundhouse Studios and Sound Development Studios, UK (except "Tear Ya Down", originally recorded at Wessex Studios)
  • Produced by Jimmy Miller (except "Tear Ya Down", produced by Neil Richmond, remixed at Roundhouse Studios by Jimmy Miller)
  • Engineered by Ashley Howe and Trevor Hallesy


  1. ^ Jeffries, Neil (21 January 1989). "Motorhead 'Overkill'". Kerrang! 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  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 ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  4. ^ "Bastards strona o Motörhead". Polish Motörhead fan site detailing Overkill's releases. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  5. ^ About Joe Petagno - interview section with Joe Petagno, bonus DVD with Inferno 30th Anniversary edition SPV69748.
  6. ^ Allmusic Review
  7. ^ Blender Review
  8. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 73. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
  9. ^ http://starling.rinet.ru/music/motor.htm

External links[edit]