No Sleep 'til Hammersmith

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No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
Motörhead - No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (1981).jpg
Live album by
Released27 June 1981
Recorded(7 February–20 April) 1980;
28–30 March 1981[1]
VenueUnspecified location
(Winter/Spring 1980)
Queen's Hall
(Leeds, England – 28 March 1981)
City Hall
(Newcastle, England – 29 & 30 March 1981)
GenreHeavy metal, hard rock
LabelBronze Records
ProducerVic Maile [1]
Motörhead chronology
St. Valentine's Day Massacre (EP)
No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
Iron Fist
CD reissue
Motörhead - No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (2005).jpg
Singles from No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
  1. "Motorhead (live)"
    Released: 11 July 1981

No Sleep 'til Hammersmith is the first live album by the band Motörhead, released on 27 June 1981, on Bronze Records. It peaked at #1 on the UK album charts.[2] 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.[3]


After releasing three albums and touring for five years, Motörhead's 1980 album Ace of Spades (their first LP to be released in the United States) gave the band its first taste of major success. However, as drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor wryly notes in the documentary The Guts and the Glory:

The more famous we seemed to get, the more we were working all the time, and we just never seemed to see any money... this is how you know you're being ripped off, when they work you like dogs and hardly give you any time off, 'cause when you got a bit of time off you might start thinking about things.

— Phil Taylor

In February, 1981, the band released the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP co-recorded with Girlschool, and in March headed out on a British jaunt called the "Short Sharp Pain in the Neck" tour, from which the songs on No Sleep 'til Hammersmith would be culled.[1]


The original No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith LP includes two songs from their debut album, the title track from 1979's Bomber, five songs from 1979's Overkill, and three songs from Ace of Spades. The track "Motorhead" would be released as a single and become the band's biggest hit to date, reaching #6 on the U.K. chart. 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 tour. The name of the tour was a reference to the injury sustained by 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:

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."[5] The sound at Leeds Queens hall was not good and most of the original album is taken from Newcastle. Vocalist and bassist 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.[5] "When No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith came out", Lemmy stated to James McNair of Mojo in 2011, "it made a difference financially, but a lot of it went back into the show."


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[6]
Robert ChristgauB+[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[8]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[9]

"No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" is the band's most successful in terms of chart positioning, peaking at #1 on the UK charts, having capitalized on the preceding success of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP and Ace of Spades album and single. Lemmy believed 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.[10] The album is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Jason Birchmeier of AllMusic writes, "the performance: in a word, it's breakneck. [...] Motorhead could do no wrong at this point in time, as they were laying the foundation for the coming thrash movement, in a way, and their winning streak continues here on No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, one of the best live metal albums of all time." "Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith captured the band at its earth-shattering, genre-forming peak...No Sleep is one of the best live albums of all time, capturing the live high-octane impact of the legendary power trio line-up." In the 2011 book Overkill: The Untold Story of Motorhead, biographer Joel McIver calls the album "the peak of the Lemmy/Clarke/Philthy line-up's career." Robert Christgau wrote "Vic Maile's power-packed definition obliterates my bias against live recording. Remakes of white lies like "No Class" and "Stay Clean" and calling cards like "Bomber" and "Motorhead" save valuable shelf space. So what if it gives me a headache? Sometimes a headache comes as a relief."

The Telegraph rated it the best live album of all time.[11]

Track listing[edit]

Original Edition[edit]

Side A
No.TitleOriginal ReleaseLength
1."Ace of Spades" (30 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:01
2."Stay Clean" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill2:50
3."Metropolis" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill3:31
4."The Hammer" (29 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:05
5."Iron Horse/Born to Lose" (1980) (Unknown Date)1977 ~ Motörhead3:58
6."No Class" (28 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill2:34
Side B
No.TitleOriginal ReleaseLength
7."Overkill" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill5:13
8."(We Are) The Road Crew" (30 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:31
9."Capricorn" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill4:40
10."Bomber" (28 March 1981)1979 ~ Bomber3:24
11."Motörhead" (29 March 1981)1977 ~ Motörhead4:47
Castle Communications 1996 CD reissue bonus tracks [1]
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
12."Over the Top" (30 March 1981)1981 ~ Motörhead (Live Single)3:04
13."Capricorn" (Alternative Version)1979 ~ Overkill4:54
14."Train Kept A-Rollin'" (1980) (Unknown Date)1977 ~ Motörhead2:44

Metal-Is Records 2001 2CD Re-Issue Edition[edit]

Disc 1 Bonus Tracks
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
12."Over the Top" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Bomber (Single)2:57
13."Shoot You in the Back" (30 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades2:43
14."Jailbait" (28 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:34
15."Leaving Here" (28 March 1981)1977 ~ Leaving Here / White Line Fever2:48
16."Fire, Fire" (29 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades2:55
17."Too Late, Too Late" (30 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill (Single)3:04
18."Bite the Bullet / The Chase Is Better Than the Catch" (30 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades6:38
Disc 2
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
1."Ace of Spades" (28 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades2:47
2."Stay Clean" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill2:54
3."Metropolis" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill3:46
4."The Hammer" (28 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:01
5."Capricorn" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill5:00
6."No Class" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill5:00
7."(We Are) The Road Crew" (28 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:31
8."Bite the Bullet / The Chase Is Better Than the Catch" (28 March 1981)1980 ~ Ace of Spades6:07
9."Overkill" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Overkill4:53
10."Bomber" (29 March 1981)1979 ~ Bomber3:26
11."Motörhead" (30 March 1981)1977 ~ Motörhead5:31
  • All track dates taken from the liner notes
  • 'Iron Horse/Born to Lose' was recorded at an unspecified location in 1980, on the 1980 European tour (thus between 7 February and 20 April 1980), the same tour as The Golden Years EP, which are also unspecified on any releases.


Per the No Sleep 'til Hammersmith liner notes.[1]


  • Vic Maile – producer
  • Ian Kalinowski – front sleeve photography
  • Graham Mitchell – back sleeve photography
  • Simon Porter – back sleeve photography

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)


Chart (1981) Peak


German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[12] 12
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 28
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 28
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 27
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[16] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c d e No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, Motörhead, Castle Communications Ltd, ESM CD 313, 1996 Liner Notes, rear cover
  2. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing p70. ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  3. ^ Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motörhead". Record Collector (140): 18–19.
  4. ^ "1981 tour dates". Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  5. ^ a b Kilmister, Ian Fraser and Garza, Janiss White Line Fever (2002). Simon & Schuster p. 145. ISBN 0-684-85868-1.
  6. ^ Allmusic review
  7. ^ Robert Christgau review
  8. ^ C. Strong, Martin. Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Canongate. ISBN 1852279230.
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 1841955515.
  10. ^ Shaw, Harry (2002). Lemmy... In his own words. Omnibus Press (c) 2002. p. 38. ISBN 0-7119-9109-X.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  13. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  14. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  15. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  16. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Motörhead | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "British album certifications – Motörhead – No Sleep 'til Hammersmith". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type No Sleep 'til Hammersmith in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]