On Parole
On Parole
Album info
ReleaseDecember 8, 1979
RecordedSeptember 1975 at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales
GenreHeavy metal
LabelUnited Artists
ProducerFritz Fryer

On Parole is the debut recording made by English heavy metal band Motörhead in 1975, but only released in 1979 after the band had risen in popularity.


This is the only album to feature the band's original line-up of Lemmy on vocals and bass, Larry Wallis on guitar and vocals, and Lucas Fox on drums. During the sessions, original producer Dave Edmunds relinquished his duties being replaced by Fritz Fryer. Drummer Fox was then replaced by Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, a casual acquaintance of Lemmy's who had been persuaded to drive him to Rockfield Studios. Taylor overdubbed all of Fox's tracks except for "Lost Johnny" as he was being held in custody following an arrest for alleged drunk-and-disorderly conduct when that session was due to take place.[1]

Of the tracks, three ("Motorhead", "The Watcher" and "Lost Johnny") were re-recordings of songs Lemmy had written and recorded with Hawkwind, "City Kids" was a re-recording of a Wallis track co-written and recorded with The Pink Fairies, "Leaving Here" was a cover version of a Holland/Dozier/Holland Motown song Lemmy had learnt whilst roadying for The Birds. "On Parole" was recorded and released by Larry Wallis (backed by Eddie and the Hot Rods) as a b-side to the Stiff Records "Police Car" single in 1977, after this album had been recorded but prior to its release.

At the time United Artists were not convinced of the album's commercial potential and shelved its release despite the band "[shooting] down to UA every day saying: 'What the fuck's happening? When's the album coming out? When are you gonna get us some gigs? What's happening about getting us an agency?' All we'd get was bullshit about the sleeve, you know, photographs and all that. When we got back from Rockfield with the masters, of course, we got the big: 'Oh, great, fantastic', but in the ensuing weeks it was just excuses and bullshit".[2] After the band's profile had risen with the commercial success of the albums Overkill and Bomber, UA re-appraised the album and gave it a belated release at the end of 1979, despite the disapproval of the band.[citation needed]

Due to the record company's initial refusal to release this album, when a reconfigured Motörhead (featuring Eddie Clarke on guitar) were given studio time by Chiswick Records in 1977, they chose to re-record the album in almost its entirety (only "Fools" and "Leaving Here" weren't re-recorded) leading to their debut release Motörhead.

Track listingEdit

Side 1Edit

  1. "Motorhead" (Ian Kilmister) – 2:57
  2. "On Parole" (Larry Wallis) – 5:38
  3. "Vibrator" (Wallis, Des Brown) – 2:53
  4. "Iron Horse/Born to Lose" (Phil Taylor, Mick Brown, Guy "Tramp" Lawrence) – 5:17

Side 2Edit

  1. "City Kids" (Wallis, Duncan Sanderson) – 3:43
  2. "Fools" (Wallis, D.Brown) – 5:35
  3. "The Watcher" (Kilmister) – 4:50
  4. "Leaving Here" (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Edward Holland) – 2:56
  5. "Lost Johnny" (Kilmister, Mick Farren) – 3:31

CD re-issueEdit

  1. "Motorhead" (Kilmister) – 2:50
  2. "On Parole" (Wallis) – 5:38
  3. "Vibrator" (Wallis, D.Brown) – 2:52
  4. "Iron Horse/Born to Lose" (Taylor, M.Brown, Lawrence) – 5:15
  5. "City Kids" (Wallis, Sanderson) – 3:43
  6. "The Watcher" (Kilmister) – 4:47
  7. "Leaving Here" (Dozier, Holland, Holland) – 2:54
  8. "Lost Johnny" (Kilmister, Farren) – 3:30
  9. "Fools" (Wallis, D.Brown) – 5:35
  10. "On Parole" [alternate take] (Wallis) – 6:58
  11. "City Kids" [alternate take] (Wallis, Sanderson) – 3:48
  12. "Motorhead" [alternate take] (Kilmister) – 2:48
  13. "Leaving Here" [alternate take] (Holland, Dozier, Holland) – 3:01


  • Lemmy (Ian Kilmister) – bass, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Larry Wallis – guitar, lead vocals ("Vibrator", "Fools"), backing vocals
  • Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor – drums
  • Lucas Fox – drums on "Lost Johnny"

Release HistoryEdit

  • 1979 – UK vinyl – United Artists Rockfile, LBR1004 – single white sleeve with George Bodnar black and white photographs of Lemmy on front and back
  • 198? – UK vinyl – EMI/Liberty Fame, FA3009 – single sleeve with colour photograph of Lemmy on stage.
  • 1991 – USA CD – Cleopatra, CLEO-57212-2 – Black and white photograph of Lemmy, Wallis and Fox in studio.
  • 1997 – UK CD – EMI, 8 54794 2 – Black on white Snaggletooth logo. Sleeve notes by Mick Farren. With bonus tracks.
  • 2000 – UK CD – EMI Gold, 8 54794 2 – Black and white photograph of Lemmy, Wallis and Fox in the studio. With bonus tracks.
  • 2004 – UK CD – Disky, 901611 – Black and white photograph of Lemmy posing. With bonus tracks.


  1. Burridge, Alan (April 1991). "Motorhead". Record Collector (140): 16–22. 
  2. Phil Taylor [1]

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