Artist News Obituaries

Lemmy 1945-2015

By | Published on Thursday 7 January 2016


Motörhead frontman Lemmy died on 28 Dec, four days after his 70th birthday and two days after being diagnosed with an “extremely aggressive” form of cancer.

Born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Stoke-On-Trent in 1945, his family later moved to Anglesey, where he picked up his nickname Lemmy at school. Although he adopted and was best known by this name, he claimed not to know its origins.

He began playing guitar with various bands in the 1960s, signing his first record deal with the short-lived Rockin Vicars in 1965. He also worked for a time as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix. His rise to fame began when he joined Hawkwind as bassist and vocalist, and during his four years with the outfit – before being fired – he developed a distinct style for himself and the band.

After Hawkwind, Lemmy formed a new band initially called Bastard, though they decided to rebrand as Motörhead after it was pointed out that the original name would prevent them from performing on ‘Top Of The Pops’. It was with Motörhead that Lemmy really cultivated the sound and image for which he will be remembered, immortalised by his biggest hit, 1980’s ‘Ace Of Spades’.

Lemmy was the only constant member of the band’s 40 year career, which spanned 23 studio albums. They performed their final live show in Berlin just over two weeks before Lemmy’s death, though the frontman had started to show signs of ill health earlier in the tour. His death also comes less than two months after that of former drummer Phil Taylor.

In a statement announcing Lemmy’s death, Motörhead said: “We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. Please… play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself”.

Survived by his son Paul, Lemmy’s funeral is to be live-streamed on YouTube this Saturday.