Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister needs no introduction. He was best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, principal songwriter, founder, and sole constant member of the rock band Motörhead. He was one of the most popular figures in Rock n Roll.
News of his death was first reported by radio and TV host Eddie Trunk on 28 December 2015, four days after his 70th birthday. In a Facebook post Motörhead wrote, “There is no easy way to say this… our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from the Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud.” He suffered from several other health issues like hematoma.
Born on 24 December 1945, in Staffordshire, England, he was inspired to become a musician after seeing The Beatles perform in a concert. Throughout his life, Lemmy performed in various bands and also served as a roadie in The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Lemmy joined the band Hawkwind in 1972, as a bassist and vocalist. He had no previous experience as a bass guitarist, but quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist.
In the June of 1975, he formed the band Motörhead, which became the most successful band of his career. To this date Motörhead has released twenty-three studio albums, ten live recordings, twelve compilation albums and five EPs. The song “Ace of Spades” is considered to be the definitive Motörhead anthem, which “put a choke on the English music charts and proved to all that a band could succeed without sacrificing its blunt power and speed”.
Motörhead saw far more commercial success in the UK, though they achieved a cult status in the US. Their ferocious hard-rock style rejuvenated the metal genre in the late 1970s and inspired everyone from Metallica to Guns N’ Roses to Dave Grohl. The band is often considered a precursor to, or one of the earliest members of, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which re-energized heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite this, Lemmy always dubbed their music as simply “rock and roll”.
He was the bass wielding cowboy of Rock n Roll and he will be missed by everyone who loves music.