Lemmy dies, aged 70


Lemmy, music god and cultural icon. Image by Alejandro Páez – Creative Commons

The Motörhead frontman and heavy metal legend died yesterday in his LA home after battling an aggressive form of cancer

The heavy metal world today mourns the passing of one of its founding fathers, spiritual icons and most enduring figures after news broke that Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as Lemmy, had died after battling an “extremely aggressive cancer.” Lemmy had learned of the disease on Boxing Day, just two days after his 70th birthday. He died yesterday (28 December) at his home in Los Angeles, California, at 16:00 PST.

Lemmy’s music career began in the 1960s’ with him playing rhythm guitar in Stockport bands The Rainmakers and The Motown Sect. However it was after moving to London and to bass guitar with space-rock group Hawkwind that he began the transition to the legendary status he would secure. He was kicked out of Hawkwind in 1975 after being arrested on drug possession charges at the Canadian/US border in Windsor, Ontario. After being released without charge Lemmy formed a new band which he christened Bastard. Bastard then became Motörhead – the title of the last song he had written for Hawkwind – after he was informed that a band called Bastard would never appear on Top Of The Pops, and so a legend was formed.

Motörhead released 22 studio albums and 29 singles, of which Ace Of Spades made it to No 15 in UK Singles Chart and remains an enduring heavy metal classic. It wasn’t just for Motörhead’s chart success that Lemmy will be remembered. He was a symbol of the hard partying and extracting every moment from life ethos that became the motto of heavy metal, and as such will be remembered as a cultural icon – as Lemmy told The Guardian earlier this year: “I didn’t really want to be in the lifestyle without the music. And I didn’t want to be in the music without the lifestyle.”

The tributes to Lemmy have been overflowing and we should remember the words from Motörhead’s post on their Facebook page when paying our own respects:

“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, 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.
Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister
1945 -2015
Born to lose, lived to win.”

This one’s for you Lemmy:

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