Iron Fist (album)

Iron Fist is the fifth studio album by British rock band Motörhead, released on 17 April 1982 via Bronze Records. It would be the last of the 'classic' line up of Lemmy, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. The album peaked at No. 6 on the UK album charts.[3] It was preceded by the release of the title track "Iron Fist" as a single on 3 April, which peaked in the UK singles chart at No. 29.[4]

Iron Fist
Motörhead - Iron Fist (1982).jpg
Studio album by
Released17 April 1982
Recorded26–28 January and 1–30 February 1982[1]
StudioRamport Studios and Morgan Studios (London)[1]
GenreHeavy metal
LabelBronze Records
ProducerWill Reid Dick, Eddie Clarke[1]
Motörhead chronology
No Sleep 'til Hammersmith
Iron Fist
Stand by Your Man (EP)
CD reissue
Motörhead - Iron Fist (2005).jpg
Singles from Iron Fist
  1. "Iron Fist"
    Released: March 1982
  2. "Go to Hell"
    Released: April 1982 (Germany) [2]


As with 1980's Ace of Spades, recording commenced with producer Vic Maile at his Jackson's Studio in Rickmansworth in 1981. Motorhead was enjoying their greatest commercial success at the time, having had their live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith debut at No. 1 on the UK charts. A break in recording for the band to play some November and December dates with Tank was followed by Clarke producing Tank's debut album with help from Will Reid Dick. Soon after, Maile left the Motörhead project, and there are conflicting explanations as to why. One is that Clarke was unhappy with the Maile produced sessions and decided that the album should be recorded themselves, although Lemmy lamented at the time that:

"It's a shame to have lost Vic in a way because I thought it was successful."[5]

However, in the Motörhead documentary The Guts and the Glory, Clarke insists that drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor refused to work with the producer after Maile got him an unsatisfactory drum sound, stating:

"[...] and then one day Phil turned to me and said, 'Listen Eddie, why don't you do it?' And I said, 'Man, I don't wanna do it, I'm playing on the record'... I swear to God, I was reluctant as fuck."

In the same film Lemmy states:

"I was pissed off 'cause we let Eddie produce it. I wasn't at the time, though. Fair play. But it became obvious after it was released - I sort of sobered up and realized it was garbage, most of it. And there's at least three songs on there that weren't even finished. We just finished them in the studio, you know, like cobbled it together. It just was a substandard album. But the trouble is how do you follow a live album that went straight in at #1? There's nothing you can do."

The album was recorded during the best part of late January and February 1982 at Morgan Studios and Ramport Studios in London, with Clarke producing and Dick engineering. Struggling to think of a name for the title track for the album, Lemmy remembered the time the band had performed live under the name Iron Fist and the Hordes from Hell for contractual reasons (a subsequent album What's Words Worth? was released of that event), and decided this was an apt name for this project. The name was eventually shortened to simply Iron Fist.[5] The title track would go on to be one of the band's signature songs.


A promotional film was made of the band dressed in studded leather armour and wielding broadswords, described by Lemmy as "all dressed up as idiots, prancing about in a wood in South Mimms as opposed to prancing about in South Mimms dressed as cowboy idiots", with Clarke adding that they looked "like a bunch of fairies prancing about with armour on... It's very hard not to."[5] The band undertook a UK tour from 17 March to 12 April with support from Tank. This was to be the first tour to drop the bomber lighting rig, with Lemmy feeling that they had "to do something new sooner or later" despite it being "the best show I've ever seen in my life".[5] The rig was replaced by a gigantic iron fist that was supposed to unfold its hand but, as Lemmy explained to Uncut's John Robinson in 2015, it malfunctioned and made a "rude gesture" to the crowd. The band continued touring to promote the album, visiting North America in May and June, Japan at the end of June, and, after some summer festival appearances, mainland Europe in October and November.

The first date of the North American tour, 12 May at C.N.E. Coliseum (now Ricoh Coliseum) in Toronto, was filmed and subsequently released on video as Live in Toronto and later as the bonus disc of the deluxe edition of the CD. In his 2002 autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy recalls that at the Toronto show:

"Eddie was terrible and so was I - I got cramp halfway through the show and couldn't play."

Promotion for the album went as far as the May 1982 edition of Rennbahn Express, an Austrian magazine, which included a free flexidisc with excerpts from "Iron Fist", "Sex and Outrage", "Don't Let 'em Grind You Down", and "Loser". Lemmy is interviewed by Robert Reumann in English and is overdubbed with a German translation.[6] The release of the album prompted Bronze/Mercury in Canada to issue The Complete Motörhead Kit, which featured a limited-edition 12-inch vinyl containing "Iron Fist", "Too Late, Too Late", "Remember Me, I'm Gone", "Ace of Spades" and "Motörhead" (from the No Sleep 'til Hammersmith album), plus a tour programme, a tour poster, and an embroidered patch of the band's logo.[6]

"Fast" Eddie's departureEdit

After the second date on 14 May at New York's Palladium, Clarke left the band, his replacement being former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson with the tour recommencing a week later on 21 May in Detroit.[7] Bad feelings between Kilmister and Clarke had been simmering for a while, but the breaking point came when Lemmy decided to record a cover of the Tammy Wynette country classic "Stand By Your Man" with Wendy O' Williams and the Plasmatics. Asked to play on the single, Clarke quit the band. Lemmy reflected on the guitarist's departure in his 2002 memoir:

"Actually, Eddie used to leave the band about every two months, but this time it just so happened that we didn't ask him back. We didn't try to persuade him, which is why he stayed away - that surprised him a bit. But we were just tired of him because he was always freaking out and he was drinking a lot back then. He's become much better now since he stopped... Looking back - and I must say, hindsight is 20/20 - it was good for us that we fell apart when we did. We wouldn't have been going now if we had carried on getting more and more famous. We would have wound up a bunch of twats with houses in the country and gotten divorced from each other. So it was just as well, I think, for Motörhead's morale overall. It's important for a band to be hungry because that is the motivation that makes all bands work. And if anyone knows about being hungry for long periods of time, it's me."

Lemmy reiterated in 2000 that Iron Fist was:

"[...] bad, inferior to anything else we've ever done. Having Eddie produce it was a mistake that even he would now probably admit to... we weren't ready to do another album, I don't care what anybody says."

Clarke maintains in The Guts and the Glory:

"[...] it wasn't so much the album, I think it was the attitude the album was made [with] was what made it not good. For me, whenever I play it, I can feel it's not quite right... The songs would'a been better had we been working as a unit."


Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [9]
Rolling Stone     [10]
Martin Popoff          [11]

AllMusic enthuses Iron Fist is "a fine Motörhead album, and there's not much at all to complain about here", but concedes "Clarke's production is a bit sterile" while lauding "several standout songs... amid a strong selection overall". calls the album "a twelve-fingered mutation of an album with a clutch of gem-studded tracks..."

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Lemmy, Eddie Clarke and Phil Taylor[1].

Side one
1."Iron Fist"2:55
2."Heart of Stone"3:04
3."I'm the Doctor"2:43
4."Go to Hell"3:10
6."Sex & Outrage"2:10
Side two
8."Shut It Down"2:41
10."(Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down"3:08
11."(Don't Need) Religion"2:43
12."Bang to Rights"2:43
Castle Communications 1996 CD reissue bonus tracks[12]
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
13."Remember Me, I'm Gone"1982 ~ Iron Fist (Single)2:18
14."(Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down" (Alternative Version) 3:09
15."Lemmy Goes to the Pub" (Alternative Take of Heart of Stone) 3:02
16."Same Old Song, I'm Gone" (Alternate Take of Remember Me, I'm Gone) 2:20
17."Young and Crazy" (Instrumental Take of Sex & Outrage) 2:12

Sanctuary Records 2005 2-CD deluxe editionEdit

Disc one includes the original album without bonus tracks. Track B1 is the B-side of the "Iron Fist" single.
Tracks B2–B15 is the band's performance at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada, on 12 May 1982.[1]

All tracks are written by Kilmister, Clarke, Taylor.

Disc 2
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
1."Remember Me, I'm Gone"1982 ~ Iron Fist (Single)2:19
Live at Toronto
No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
2."Overkill"1979 ~ Overkill2:52
3."Heart of Stone"1982 ~ Iron Fist3:07
4."Shoot You in the Back"1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:10
5."The Hammer"1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:19
6."Jailbait"1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:56
7."America"1982 ~ Iron Fist3:23
8."(Don't Need) Religion"1982 ~ Iron Fist3:20
9."Capricorn"1979 ~ Overkill4:23
10."(Don't Let 'Em) Grind You Down"1982 ~ Iron Fist3:24
11."(We Are) The Road Crew"1980 ~ Ace of Spades3:08
12."No Class"1979 ~ Overkill2:32
13."Bite the Bullet"1980 ~ Ace of Spades1:30
14."The Chase Is Better Than the Catch"1980 ~ Ace of Spades5:13
15."Bomber"1979 ~ Bomber4:53
  • There is discrepancy about the live recording location, as the original VHS of the show says the "C.N.E. Colosseum, Toronto" and the 2005 deluxe booklet says "Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto".[13]


Per the album's liner notes.[1]


  • Will "Evil Red Neck" Reid – producer
  • "Fast" Eddie Clarke – producer
  • Charles Harrowell – engineer
  • Chaz Harrowell – mixing
  • Martin Poole – album design
  • Alan Ballard – photography
  • Joe PetagnoSnaggletooth

2005 deluxe edition remaster

  • Giovanni Scatola – mastering
  • Steve Hammonds – release coordination
  • Jon Richards – release coordination
  • Malcolm Dome – sleeve notes
  • Mick Stevenson – project consultant, photos and archive memorabilia
  • Curt Evans – 2005 cover design


Chart (1982) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[14] 80
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[15] 26
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[16] 27
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[17] 23
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[18] 4
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 25
UK Albums (OCC)[20] 6
US Billboard 200[21] 174


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Silver 60,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release historyEdit

Date Region Label Catalogue Format Notes
17 April 1982 UK Bronze BRON 539 vinyl
17 April 1982 North America Mercury SRM-1-4042 vinyl
1982 France WEA Filipacchi Music 893048 vinyl
1982 Germany Bronze 204 636 vinyl
21 December 1982 Yugoslavia Jugoton LSBRO 11019 vinyl
1982 Australia/NZ Bronze L-37841 vinyl
1982 Brazil Bronze 6328444 vinyl
1987 France Castle Communications CLACD 123 CD
1996 UK Essential, Castle Music ESM CD 372 CD with 5 bonus tracks
1999 US Castle Music America CDX CMACD-523 CD with 5 bonus tracks
2001 North America Metal-Is CDX 85211 CD with 5 bonus tracks
2003 Italy Earmark LPPIC 41017 180g vinyl picture disc, gatefold cover
2005 UK Sanctuary SMED-244 2CD with bonus disc


  1. ^ a b c d e f Iron Fist, Motörhead, Sanctuary Records, SMEDD244, 2005 liner notes, page 10 & 11
  2. ^ "Motorhead singles".
  3. ^ Burridge, Alan Illustrated Collector's Guide to Motörhead Published: 1995, Collector's Guide Publishing p70. ISBN 0-9695736-2-6.
  4. ^ Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motörhead". Record Collector (140): 18–19.
  5. ^ a b c d Iron Fist official tour programme. Eddie Clarke and Lemmy interviewed by Kris Needs
  6. ^ a b Burridge, Alan; Mick Stevenson (July 1993). "Motörhead". Record Collector (167): 72.
  7. ^ Official Motorhead website – 1982 tour dates Archived 17 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Shaw, Harry (2002). Lemmy... In his own words. Omnibus Press (c) 2002. p. 39. ISBN 0-7119-9109-X.
  9. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Motorhead - Iron Fist review". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  10. ^ Considine, J. D. (24 June 1982). "Album Reviews: Motorhead - Iron Fist". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Iron Fist, Motörhead, Sanctuary Records, ESMCD372, 2004 Liner Notes
  13. ^ Motörhead - Live In Toronto, Motörhead, Acton Green Music Ltd, AVATAR Communications VHS 6697-50 (UK), 1984 Liner Notes, rear cover
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 209. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  17. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  18. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  19. ^ " – Motörhead – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Motörhead | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Motörhead Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  22. ^ "British album certifications – Motörhead – Iron Fist". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Iron Fist in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.