No Sleep ‘Till Hammersmith – Motörhead

This is a monster of an album. Buy it. Play it. Love it.

I was meant to see Motörhead play in around 1990 with two friends, Smith and KH. That didn’t happen because of a falling out between me and KH. I didn’t go. I’ve heard the show was really good. Oh well. I had to wait until 2013 to see Motörhead live at Download Festival and they were OK but very much a product of their time. This album though captures them at their very best.

I bought this on tape [music cassette] waaay back. I can remember listening to it while I worked at Cossor Electronics in my “gap year”. I had an AIWA portable cassette player with bass-boost and this album was a great kick in the ears. Gap Year is in quotation marks there because I never intended to go to university but things happen, maybe I’ll write about it here.

I think the thing that this album surprised me the most was the elegance with which Lemmy plays the bass and how his rolling riffs and scales really fit the music. I’m not sure I’d be able to hear this subtlety live but in this album it shouts out.

  • Ace Of Spades – bloody marvellous.
  • Stay Clean – another great song.
  • Metropolis – not a bad song on this album.
  • The Hammer – it’s metal isn’t it.
  • Iron Horse – better than when Bon Jovi mentioned it.
  • No Class – say it with an American accent.
  • Overkill – Often imitated never bettered.
  • (We Are) The Roadcrew – Just listen to that scream.
  • Capricorn – Not a unicorn.
  • Bomber – I’ve not seen the video but I suspect this is when the lighting rig, shaped as a bomber, flies over the band.
  • Motörhead – This is the best.

Just before the band play Motörhead Lemmy says “Just In Case”. This phrase echoes through my brain, it’s there as a constant catch phrase, I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve written it on pupils’ leaving books in the past and referenced this album in the hope they listen to it. The bass playing explodes out of the speakers and knocks you flat. It’s an amazing song and the rhythm of the vocals makes me smile. I don’t really know what Lemmy sings, it’s not thing – vocals, I leave those to Smith.

Everyone should own this album, even if it’s to put on at the end of a party to get rid of everyone, or to celebrate a great night. Go and buy it.