Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015): a Musician from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK.
an Fraser Kilmister (a.k.a. Lemmy Kilmister; 24 December 1945 - 28 December 2015), was the founder, singer, bassist and primary songwriter of Motorhead. He was also the only continuous member. Although he claimed to not know the origins of his nick name, it has been suggested that it originated from the phrase "lemmy [lend me] a fiver" because of his alleged habit of borrowing money from people to play slot machines.
A foundational force in the genre following the advent of the NWOBHM movement, he was known for his appearance and his gravelly raspy voice sung with his head at a nearly 90 degree angle from the microphone that was once declared "one of the most recognizable voices in rock". He also became known for his bass playing style that created an "overpowered, distorted rhythmic rumble".
Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent and grew up between there, the nearby towns of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Madeley, and later the Welsh village of Benllech.
When he was three months old, his father, an ex-Royal Air Force chaplain and concert pianist, separated from his mother. He moved with his mother and grandmother to nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, then to Madeley. When he was 10, his mother married former rugby player George L. Willis, who already had two older children from a previous marriage, Patricia and Tony, whom Lemmy disliked. They later moved to a farm in the Welsh village of Benllech.
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He was influenced by rock and roll and the early works of the The Beatles, which led to him playing in local bands like Rainmakers and the Motown Sect, most notably The Rockin' Vickers who signed a deal with 'CBS' to release three singles and tour Europe, reportedly being the first British band to visit the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
After his stint with minor bands, he worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice before joining Hawkwind in 1971, most notably singing lead vocals on their Silver Machine. But in 1975, he was fired from Hawkwind after an arrest for drug possession. Later that same year he founded Motorhead. The band's success peaking 1980-1981, including the hit single Ace of Spades and the chart-topping live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. He remained with Motorhead until his death on 28 December 2015 in Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1990. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer two days before his death. Alongside his music career, he had minor roles and cameos in film and television. He was known for his hard-living lifestyle, which included chain-smoking and daily consumption of large amounts of alcohol and amphetamines.
Lemmy was cremated and his service was streamed live over YouTube with more than 230,000 people logging on to watch; his remains placed in a 3D-printed urn shaped like his trademark cavalry hat and emblazoned with the slogan "Born to lose, lived to win". Although the piece was on display during his funeral and was later interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery, his ashes were actually put into bullets and sent to his closest friends, under his request.
Footnote: Lemmy never recorded as a soloist, spending all of his career with Motorhead, therefore there is no albums listed to him in the Discography section. Please see Motorhead.
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Motorhead's Lemmy - Live at Red's, Edmonton (Canada), 2005.
Photo by: Mark Marek Photography
(CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Artists Linked to Lemmy Kilmister
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