Rock 'n' Roll (Motörhead album)

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Rock 'N' Roll
Motörhead - Rock n Roll (1987).jpg
Studio album by
Released5 September 1987
StudioMaster Rock Studios and Redwood Studios, London[1]
GenreHeavy metal
LabelGWR (Worldwide) (1987)
Castle (1996 Reissue)
Sanctuary (2006 Reissue)[1]
ProducerMotörhead, Guy Bidmead[1]
Motörhead chronology
Rock 'N' Roll
Nö Sleep at All
Singles from Rock 'N' Roll
  1. "Eat the Rich"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
Martin Popoff6/10 stars[3]
Robert ChristgauA−[4]

Rock 'N' Roll is the eighth studio album by the band Motörhead, released 5 September 1987, and their last studio album with the GWR label, as more legal issues enthralled the band with yet another label. Reaching only No. 34 in the UK Albums Chart,[5] Rock 'N' Roll was, in that respect, the worst performing of all of Motörhead's Top 40 chart hits.

It would see the return of 'classic line up' drummer "Philthy Animal" Taylor, albeit only for a few more years before being fired again.


In 1987, Motörhead appeared in the Peter Richardson film Eat the Rich, which starred the regular cast of The Comic Strip and Motörhead bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmister himself in a small part as "Spider". The band supplied six songs for the soundtrack as well. As the band was about to film their cameo, however, drummer Pete Gill was fired and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor rejoined after having quit in 1984. In his autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy states the sacking of Gill was a long time coming:

..Peter was his own worst enemy, he was another one who wouldn't just be content in the band. He went up against me on a couple of decisions, and he was making Phil and Wurzel upset too. I got tired of him moaning, so when he kept us waiting while he hung around in the lobby of his hotel for twenty minutes while he read the paper or something, that was the proverbial last straw. I know it sounds trivial, but most flare-ups in families are, aren't they? And a band is a family..

Lemmy adds that he knew Taylor, who had been playing with Frankie Miller and ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian "Robbo" Robertson, wanted to come back. Rock 'N' Roll would be the final album recorded by Motörhead on the GWR label and the last before Lemmy would relocate from the UK to Los Angeles.


Rock 'N' Roll was produced by the band and Guy Bidmead at Master Rock Studios and Redwood Studios in London. In the Motörhead documentary The Guts and the Glory, guitarist Phil Campbell states, "I like it. It's not a great album but... there's things on there I like, a lot of good things I like."

Campbell adds that the studio manager informed them that the studio they were recording in was owned by Michael Palin, and Motörhead – who were all huge Monty Python fans – invited Palin to come down and do a recitation for the album. Palin showed up dressed in a 1940s cricketer outfit, with a V-necked sweater and his hair all brushed to one side. Lemmy remembers Palin walking in and saying, "Hello, what sort of thing are we going to do now, then?" and Lemmy answering "Well, you know in The Meaning of Life, there was this speech that began 'Oh Lord — .'" Palin replied "Ah! Give me some cathedral!" and went in and recorded the 'Oh Lord, look down upon these people from Motörhead' speech.

The song "Eat the Rich" was written specifically for the Richardson film and a music video was released as well (in addition to Lemmy, Koo Stark, Bill Wyman, and Paul McCartney also appear in the film).

In his 2002 memoir, Lemmy assesses the album:

..Anyhow, with Pete gone, we gave Phil Taylor his job back. It was a mistake in retrospect... things weren't the same, and I should have known they wouldn't be... Rock 'N' Roll is a fair album, but it isn't one of our best... Our biggest mistake was choosing Guy Bidmead to produce it. He was just an engineer, really, so we were pretty much producing ourselves... And (guitarist) Wurzel was having a bad time personally... In addition to all of this, we didn't have enough time to do the songs properly and when that happens you're pretty much wasting your time..


As with the previous two albums it was not a commercial success, even though Lemmy had appeared in a comedy film by the same name as the single, and the sound track to, "Eat The Rich". It continued the downwards momentum of the band into the late eighties, with no original release until 1991, when they made the 1916 album.

Lemmy also writes that Rock 'N' Roll has some great songs, like "Dogs," "Boogeyman," and "Traitor", which they played "for years," but overall it just didn't seem to work.[6] According to Joel McIver's 2011 Motörhead biography Overkill: The Untold Story of Motörhead, a court case between the band and GWR was sparked over the choice of a summer single in 1988; the band wanted to release a live performance of "Traitor" from Rock 'N' Roll that was recorded at the Giants of Rock Festival in Hameenlinna, Finland, while the label had wanted to put out a live rendition of the Motörhead classic "Ace of Spades".


Joe Petagno had other ideas for the cover of this album:

"..I had this great idea and nobody wanted to listen to me. The original Rock 'N' Roll sleeve was supposed to be going up. I said, "Look, the tongue goes up. This thing is lifting was supposed to be rocketing. So it was like a bomb. A projectile of some sort. When I finished it, they said, 'We can't have it going up, it doesn't make any sense'. So it's coming down. Couldn't convince them. This fucking band...(laughs).." [7]


While calling Motörhead "a rock & roll band in the purest sense," Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic concedes:

"..the songwriting here is rather uninspired for the band's standards, and the one-two punch of the phenomenal title track and the amusing 'Eat the Rich' (the album's only true highlights) are over too soon.." [2]

In 2011 Motörhead biographer Joel McIver wrote:

..Put bluntly, it's far from Motörhead's finest work, although like all of their albums it has some scintillating high points – 'Dogs', 'Traitor' and 'Stone Deaf Forever' among them..

Rock 'N' Roll renewed commercial hope for Motörhead in the United States, with Lemmy moving to Los Angeles after the recording of this album permanently. The fans in the States appeared willing to see this band live and buy their albums whereas Britain is criticised as having lost interest in Motörhead.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Taylor.

Side A
1."Rock 'N' Roll" 3:49
2."Eat the Rich" 4:34
3."Blackheart" 4:03
4."Stone Deaf in the U.S.A." 3:40
5."Blessing" (Spoken Words by Michael Palin)Michael Palin1:00
Side B
6."The Wolf"3:28
9."All for You"4:10
Castle Communications 1996 reissue bonus tracks
No.TitleOriginal ReleaseLength
11."Cradle to the Grave"1987 ~ Eat the Rich4:12
12."Just 'Cos You Got the Power"1987 ~ Eat the Rich7:30
  • The spoken word "Blessing" by Michael Palin is listed on some version as track 5 on side A (the original vinyl and cassette release), on the original CD version it had its own track selection slot (making it a 10 track CD), otherwise it was at the end of track 4 "Stone Deaf in the U.S.A." as a hidden track or at the beginning of track 5 "The Wolf", on both of these last two versions it was uncredited on the cover.

Sanctuary Records 2006 2CD deluxe edition[edit]

Disc one is the original album without bonus tracks. B1–B2 tracks B-Side to Eat the Rich 12" single. B3–B15 are the live performance at the Monsters of Rock, Donington Park, England on 16 August 1986, BBC Radio 1 broadcast on the Friday Rock Show[1]

Disc 2
No.TitleWriter(s)Original ReleaseLength
1."Cradle to the Grave"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Taylor1987 ~ Eat the Rich 
2."Just 'Cos You Got the Power"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Taylor1987 ~ Eat the Rich 
BBC In-Concert, 1986
No.TitleWriter(s)Original ReleaseLength
3."Iron Fist"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1982 ~ Iron Fist 
4."Stay Clean"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1979 ~ Overkill 
5."Nothing Up My Sleeve"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Pete Gill1986 ~ Orgasmatron 
6."Metropolis"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1979 ~ Overkill 
7."Doctor Rock"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Gill1986 ~ Orgasmatron 
8."Killed by Death"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Gill1984 ~ No Remorse 
9."Ace of Spades"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1980 ~ Ace of Spades 
10."Steal Your Face"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Gill1984 ~ No Remorse 
11."Bite the Bullet"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1980 ~ Ace of Spades 
12."Built for Speed"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Gill1986 ~ Orgasmatron 
13."Orgasmatron"Kilmister, Burston, Campbell, Gill1986 ~ Orgasmatron 
14."No Class"Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor1979 ~ Overkill 
15."Motörhead"Kilmister1977 ~ Motörhead 
  • It would be the last time the song Motörhead would make it onto the release of a live recording. This compilation was released in 2006 but the show was recorded in 1986, and other than the original broadcast, hadn't been heard since. Motörhead has not been played live, with extremely few exceptions, since this era and the end of the 1980s.


Per the Rock 'N' Roll liner notes.[1]



  • Guy Bidmead – producer
  • Roland Herrington – engineer
  • Arabella Rodriguez – engineer
  • Caroline Orme – engineer
  • Phil Dane – engineer

"Eat the Rich" originally recorded by Bill Laswell – recording ("Eat the Rich")

  • Jason Corsaro – recording ("Eat the Rich")
  • Guy Bidmead – remixing ("Eat the Rich")
  • Andy Pearce – mastering (2006 remaster)
  • Motörhead – executive producers
  • Joe PetagnoSnaggletooth artwork
  • John F. McGill – layout and design
  • Curt Evans – 2006 cover design

2006 deluxe edition remaster[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rock 'N' Roll, Motörhead, Sanctuary Records, BEIM/SABAM 27848851, 2010 Liner Notes, page 10 & 11
  2. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Motörhead - Rock 'N' Roll review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Motorhead - Consumer Guide Reviews: Rock 'N' Roll". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  6. ^ Kilmister, Ian and Garza, Janiss White Line Fever (2002) – Simon & Schuster pp. 203—204. ISBN 0-684-85868-1.
  7. ^ About Joe Petagno – interview section with Joe Petagno, bonus DVD with Inferno 30th Anniversary edition SPV69748.
  8. ^ "Reviews for Motörhead's Rock 'N' Roll". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved 9 March 2007.

External links[edit]