No Sleep Til Hammersmith

All hail the mighty Motorhead, experts at growing old gracefully.

No Sleep Til Hammersmith. What a record. Up there with Live And Dangerous, Live At the Apollo, or just about any other live album you care to mention. I first bought the thing when I was 13 and played it twice a day for two years. Just this week I picked up a CD copy in the Secret Book & Record Store in Dublin, having long ago lost the vinyl album.

No Sleep... hit the number one slot in the summer of 1981. Motörhead were on a colossal roll following the Ace Of Spades album, and had just breached the UK Top 5 singles chart with the St Valentine’s Day Massacre EP, a collaboration with Girlschool which included a rip-roaring version of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates’ ‘Please Don’t Touch’. The single ‘Motörhead’ reached number 6 that July, a gobsmacking achievement for a song that made Black Flag sound like Crosby Stills & Nash.

The set was mostly recorded in Leeds and Newcastle during a short five-date tour in Spring of ‘81. This was the classic line up of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, drummer Philthy Animal Taylor and guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke. The trio stripped metal to the bare essentials. Like all great bands – The Stooges, The Birthday Party, Crazy Horse – their music comes from a place way older than rock ‘n’ roll: the swamp, the forest, the cave. The record hasn’t dated one bit. The wah-wah riddled menace of ‘Stay Clean’. The thrash furnace of ‘Overkill’. ‘We Are The Road Crew’. ‘Ace Of Spades’. ‘Bomber’. Every one a killer. My favourite is ‘Capricorn’, which contains Lem’s most impassioned vocal:

A thousand nights, I’ve spent alone,

Solitaire, to the bone,

But I don’t mind, I’m my own best friend,

From the beginning, to the end,

My life, my heart, black night, dark star, Capricorn

December’s child, the only one,

What I do, is what I’ve done,

I realise, I get so cold,

When I was young I was already old,

My life, my heart, black night, dark star, Capricorn

I always knew, the only way,

Is never live, beyond today,

They proved me right,

They proved me wrong,

But they could never last this long.

For the last fifteen years the band’s most stable line up, featuring Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums, has toured and recorded relentlessly. Rolling Stone ran a major Lemmy profile last Spring, and there’s been a documentary film in the works for some time now (the trailer features testimonials from Dave Grohl, Slash, Mick Jones, Metallica and Alice Cooper among others). Scan YouTube for the Ace Of Spades Classic Albums programme, or the 2005 Channel 4 documentary Live Fast, Die Old, and you can’t help but be awed by the fortitude of a man who hasn’t given an inch to fashion over four decades. Motorhead are due to release their twentieth studio album, The World Is Yours, next month. We are not worthy.


Related Articles

The rock 'n' roll world mourns as Lemmy passes away in Los Angeles

Our man Stuart Clark pays tribute to the legendary Motörhead leader

Read More

Lemmy RIP

The sad news from California is that the Motorhead frontman has passed away. The 70 year old singer was diagnosed with cancer on Stephen's Day and died two days later.

Read More

Lemmy illness forces Motörhead to cancel US show

Lemmy's bout of altitude sickness caused Utah gig to be cut short

Read More

LISTEN: Motörhead cover the Rolling Stones + Lemmy: The Movie a big hit in Laois

Mr. Kilmister's former bandmate Stacia Blake presided over the recent Dunamaise Arts Centre fundraiser

Read More

Lemmy: The Movie gets a special Portlaoise screening on Friday August 14

Former Hawkwind member Stacia Blake is spearheading the Dunamaise Arts Centre fundraiser

Read More

Motörhead - Aftershock

Rock legends unleash shockingly good new LP.

Read More

The World Is Yours

Motorhead do what they do best

Read More

Motorhead announce Irish visit

Everything will be louder than everything else in Belfast and Dublin.

Read More

Motorhead add extra Ambassador date

Motörhead are set to play a second date at The Ambassador, Dublin this November, following their previously announced Halloween show.

Read More

Motörhead announce Ambassador show

Following the release of their 20th studio album, heavy metal warhorses Motörhead have confirmed that they will perform in Dublin this October.

Read More

Motorhead to play The Point

Woooaaaaaaargh! is declared in October when Motörhead play their biggest ever Irish headliner.

Read More

At The Ambassador, Dublin

By Motörbonce standards it’s a stripped down show with nary a scaffolding bomber in sight, but there’s no need for eye candy when you’ve got a song as gobsmackingly awesome as ‘Ace Of Spades’ at your disposal.

Read More

Motorhead announce second Dublin date

Motorhead have added an extra Dublin date to their tour schedule

Read More

Motorhead for Dublin + Belfast

Motorhead have confirmed a date at Belfast's Ulster Hall

Read More

Motorhead announce Dublin date


Read More

Motorhead for Irish Tour

Woooaaarrrrrrgh! is declared in November when Motorhead embark on their first Irish tour in an aeon.

Read More


The band left the arena amid deafening feedback and the roars of a delighted if slightly punch drunk crowd

Read More

Metal detector

Put your questions to LEMMY, singer/bassist out of seminal metal hammers MOTORHEAD

Read More

Lemmy for Taoiseach

People get the leaders they deserve... and we know who we're giving our Number One to: why, Lemmy out of Motorhead, obviously

Read More

Lemmy entertain you

It's all out wooooooooooooooarrrrrgh! on June 29th when Motorhead headline the inaugural Xtreme festival in the RDS.

Read More

All The Aces: The Best Of Motorhead

They were also one of the first '70s bands to genuinely crossover.

Read More

Advertise With Us

For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below


Find us elsewhere