No Sleep 'til Hammersmith

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No Sleep ’til Hammersmith
No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.jpg
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 (EP)
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 English rock band 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]


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, although 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 .' 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.


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."[4] 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.[4] "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
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 capitalized 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. Jason Birchmeier of AllMusic writes, "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."

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[8] 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. ^ "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