Iron Fist (album)

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Iron Fist
Motörhead - Iron Fist (1982).jpg
Studio album by Motörhead
Released 17 April 1982
Recorded 26–28 January and 1-28 February 1982[1]
Studio Ramport Studios and Morgan Studios, London[1]
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock
Length 36:24
Label Bronze (Worldwide) (1983)
Mercury (North America) (1983)
Castle Communications (1996)
Sanctuary (2005)[1]
Producer Will Reid Dick, Eddie Clarke[1]
Motörhead chronology
No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
(1981)
Iron Fist
(1982)
Stand by Your Man (EP)
(1982)
CD reissue
Singles from Iron Fist
  1. "Iron Fist"
    Released: 3 April 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]
Martin Popoff 8/10 stars[4]

Iron Fist is the fifth studio album by the band Motörhead, and was released 17 April 1982, on Bronze Records. It would be the last of the 'classic' line up of Kilmister, Clarke and Taylor. Iron Fist peaked at No. 6 on the UK album charts.[5] It was preceded by the release of the title track "Iron Fist" as a single on 3 April, which peaked in the UK singles chart at #29.[6]

Recording[edit]

As with 1980's Ace of Spades, recording commenced with producer Vic Maile at his Jackson's Studio in Rickmansworth in 1981. Motorhead was enjoying their greatest commercial success at the time, having had their live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith debut at #1 on the U.K. charts. A break in recording for the band to play some November and December dates with Tank was followed by Clarke producing Tank's debut album with help from Will Reid Dick. Soon after, Maile left the Motörhead project, and there are conflicting explanations as to why. One is that Clarke was unhappy with the Maile produced sessions and decided that the album should be recorded themselves, although Lemmy lamented at the time that:

"..it's a shame to have lost Vic in a way because I thought it was successful.." [7]

However, in the Motörhead documentary The Guts and the Glory, Clarke insists that drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor refused to work with the producer after Maile got him an unsatisfactory drum sound, stating:

"..and then one day Phil turned to me and said, 'Listen Eddie, why don't you do it?' And I said, 'Man, I don't wanna do it, I'm playing on the record'...I swear to God, I was reluctant as fuck.."

In the same film Lemmy states:

"..I was pissed off 'cause we let Eddie produce it. I wasn't at the time, though. Fair play. But it became obvious after it was released - I sort of sobered up and realized it was garbage, most of it. And there's at least three songs on there that weren't even finished. We just finished them in the studio, you know, like cobbled it together. It just was a substandard album. But the trouble is how do you follow a live album that went straight in at #1? There's nothing you can do.."

The album was recorded during the best part of late January and February 1982 at Morgan Studios and Ramport Studios in London, with Clarke producing and Dick engineering. Struggling to think of a name for the title track for the album, Lemmy remembered the time the band had performed live under the name Iron Fist and the Hordes from Hell for contractual reasons (a subsequent album What's Words Worth? was released of that event), and decided this was an apt name for this project. The name was eventually shortened to simply Iron Fist.[7] The title track would go on to be one of the band's signature songs.

Release[edit]

A promotional film was made of the band dressed in studded leather armour and wielding broadswords, described by Lemmy as:

"..all dressed up as idiots, prancing about in a wood in South Mimms as opposed to prancing about in South Mimms dressed as cowboy idiots.." with Clarke adding that they looked "..like a bunch of fairies prancing about with armour on... It's very hard not to.." [7]

The band undertook a UK tour from 17 March to 12 April with support from Tank. This was to be the first tour to drop the bomber lighting rig, with Lemmy feeling that they had "to do something new sooner or later" despite it being "the best show I've ever seen in my life."[7] The rig was replaced by a gigantic iron fist that was supposed to unfold its hand but, as Lemmy explained to Uncut's John Robinson in 2015, it malfunctioned and made a "rude gesture" to the crowd. The band continued touring to promote the album, visiting North America in May and June, Japan at the end of June, and, after some summer festival appearances, mainland Europe in October and November.

The first date of the North American tour, 12 May at C.N.E. Coliseum in Toronto (though this is now referenced as Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto), was filmed and subsequently released on video as Live in Toronto and later as the bonus disc of the deluxe edition of the CD. In his 2002 autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy recalls that at the Toronto show:

"..Eddie was terrible and so was I - I got cramp halfway through the show and couldn't play..."

Promotion for the album went as far as the May 1982 edition of Rennbahn Express, an Austrian magazine, which included a free flexidisc with excerpts from "Iron Fist," "Sex and Outrage," "Don't Let 'em Grind You Down," and "Loser". Lemmy is interviewed by Robert Reumann in English and is overdubbed with a German translation.[8] The release of the album prompted Bronze/Mercury in Canada to issue The Complete Motörhead Kit, which featured a limited-edition 12-inch vinyl containing "Iron Fist," "Too Late, Too Late," "Remember Me, I'm Gone," "Ace of Spades" and "Motörhead" (from the No Sleep 'til Hammersmith album), plus a tour programme, a tour poster, and an embroidered patch of the band's logo.[8]

"Fast" Eddie departure[edit]

After the second date on 14 May at New York's Palladium, Clarke left the band, his replacement being former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson with the tour recommencing a week later on 21 May in Detroit.[9] Bad feelings between Kilmister and Clarke had been simmering for a while, but the breaking point came when Lemmy decided to record a cover of the Tammy Wynette country classic "Stand By Your Man" with Wendy O' Williams and the Plasmatics. Asked to play on the single, Clarke quit the band. Lemmy reflected on the guitarist's departure in his 2002 memoir:

"..actually, Eddie used to leave the band about every two months, but this time it just so happened that we didn't ask him back. We didn't try to persuade him, which is why he stayed away - that surprised him a bit. But we were just tired of him because he was always freaking out and he was drinking a lot back then. He's become much better now since he stopped...Looking back - and I must say, hindsight is 20/20 - it was good for us that we fell apart when we did. We wouldn't have been going now if we had carried on getting more and more famous. We would have wound up a bunch of twats with houses in the country and gotten divorced from each other. So it was just as well, I think, for Motörhead's morale overall. It's important for a band to be hungry because that is the motivation that makes all bands work. And if anyone knows about being hungry for long periods of time, it's me.."

Lemmy reiterated in 2000 that Iron Fist was:

"..bad, inferior to anything else we've ever done. Having Eddie produce it was a mistake that even he would now probably admit to...we weren't ready to do another album, I don't care what anybody says."

Clarke maintains in The Guts and the Glory:

"..it wasn't so much the album, I think it was the attitude the album was made [with] was what made it not good. For me, whenever I play it, I can feel it's not quite right...The songs would'a been better had we been working as a unit.."

[10]

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic enthuses Iron Fist is "a fine Motörhead album, and there's not much at all to complain about here", but concedes "Clarke's production is a bit sterile" while lauding "several standout songs...amid a strong selection overall." Amazon.com calls the LP "a twelve-fingered mutation of an album with a clutch of gem-studded tracks..."

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor [1]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Iron Fist"   2:55
2. "Heart of Stone"   3:04
3. "I'm the Doctor"   2:43
4. "Go to Hell"   3:10
5. "Loser"   3:57
6. "Sex & Outrage"   2:10
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "America"   3:38
8. "Shut It Down"   2:41
9. "Speedfreak"   3:28
10. "(Don't Let 'em) Grind Ya Down"   3:08
11. "(Don't Need) Religion"   2:43
12. "Bang to Rights"   2:43
Castle Communications 1996 CD reissue bonus tracks [11]
No. Title Original release Length
13. "Remember Me, I'm Gone"   B-Side of Iron Fist single 2:18
14. "(Don't Let 'em) Grind Ya Down" (Alternate Version)   3:09
15. "Lemmy Goes to the Pub" (Alternate Version of Heart of Stone)   3:02
16. "Same Old Song, I'm Gone" (Alternate Version of Remember Me, I'm Gone)   2:20
17. "Young and Crazy" (Instrumental Version of Sex & Outrage)   2:12

Sanctuary Records 2005 2CD deluxe edition[edit]

Disk one includes the original album without bonus tracks. Track B1 - B-Side of Iron Fist single
Tracks B2-15 is the bands performance at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, on 12 May 1982. [1]

All tracks written by Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor. 

Disk two
No. Title Original release Length
1. "Remember Me, I'm Gone"   B-Side of Iron Fist single 2:19
2. "Overkill"     2:52
3. "Heart of Stone"     3:07
4. "Shoot You in the Back"     3:10
5. "The Hammer"     3:19
6. "Jailbait"     3:56
7. "America"     3:23
8. "(Don't Need) Religion"     3:20
9. "Capricorn"     4:23
10. "(Don't Let 'Em) Grind You Down"     3:24
11. "(We Are) The Road Crew"     3:08
12. "No Class"     2:32
13. "Bite the Bullet"     1:30
14. "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch"     5:13
15. "Bomber"     4:53
  • There is discrepancy about the live recording location, as the Original VHS of the show says the C.N.E. Colosseum, Toronto and the 2005 deluxe booklet says Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto. [12]

Personnel[edit]

Per the Iron Fist liner notes.[1]

Production[edit]

  • Will "Evil Red Neck" Reid – producer
  • "Fast" Eddie Clarke – producer
  • Charles Harrowell – engineer
  • Giovanni Scatola – mastering (2005 remaster)
  • Chaz Harrowell – mixing
  • Martin Poole – album design
  • Alan Ballard – photography
  • Curt Evans – 2005 cover design
  • Joe PetagnoSnaggletooth (Phil's wearing the Iron Fist with a Snaggletooth ring on it)

2005 deluxe edition remaster[edit]

  • Steve Hammonds – release coordination
  • Jon Richards – release coordination
  • Malcolm Dome – sleeve notes
  • Mick Stevenson – project consultant, photos and archive memorabilia

Release history[edit]

Date Region Label Catalogue Format Notes
17 April 1982 UK Bronze BRON 539 vinyl Peaked at #6 in the album chart
17 April 1982 North America Mercury SRM-1-4042 vinyl peaked at 174 on Billboard Pop Albums chart
1982 France WEA Filipacchi Music 893048 vinyl
1982 Germany Bronze 204 636 vinyl
21/Dec/1982 Yugoslavia Jugoton LSBRO 11019 vinyl
1982 Australia/NZ Bronze L-37841 vinyl
1982 Brazil Bronze 6328444 vinyl
1987 France Castle Communications CLACD 123 CD
1996 UK Essential, Castle Music ESM CD 372 CD with 5 bonus tracks
1999 US Castle Music America CDX CMACD-523 CD with 5 bonus tracks
2001 North America Metal-Is CDX 85211 CD with 5 bonus tracks
2003 Italy Earmark LPPIC 41017 180g vinyl picture disc, gatefold cover
2005 UK Sanctuary SMED-244 2CD with bonus disk

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Iron Fist, Motörhead, Sanctuary Records, SMEDD244, 2005 Liner Notes, page 10 & 11
  2. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Motorhead - Iron Fist review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  3. ^ Considine, J. D. (24 June 1982). "Album Reviews: Motorhead - Iron Fist". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5. 
  5. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing p70. ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  6. ^ Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motörhead". Record Collector (140): 18–19. 
  7. ^ a b c d Iron Fist official tour programme. Eddie Clarke and Lemmy interviewed by Kris Needs
  8. ^ a b Burridge, Alan; Mick Stevenson (July 1993). "Motörhead". Record Collector (167): 72. 
  9. ^ Official Motorhead website – 1982 tour dates
  10. ^ Shaw, Harry (2002). Lemmy... In his own words. Omnibus Press (c) 2002. p. 39. ISBN 0-7119-9109-X. 
  11. ^ Iron Fist, Motörhead, Sanctuary Records, ESMCD372, 2004 Liner Notes
  12. ^ Motörhead - Live In Toronto, Motörhead, Acton Green Music Ltd, AVATAR Communications VHS 6697-50 (UK), 1984 Liner Notes, rear cover