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Ian Fraser ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, frontman, singer and bassist for the monumental Heavy Metal band Motorhead, passed away on Monday, 28th December 2015 following a short battle with an extremely aggressive form of cancer.

There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely…

Posted by Official Motörhead on Monday, December 28, 2015

Born on Christmas Eve in Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent – less than five miles from where I sit – Lemmy first came to prominence in the rock scene as the bassist for the influential Psychedelic and Progressive Rock band Hawkwind in 1972. It was in Hawkwind that Lemmy developed his distinctive style of playing bass guitar. In 1973, he played on Hawkwind’s live album, The Space Ritual Alive in Liverpool and London. 

In 1975, following an arrest at the US/Canadian border and a five-day jail sentence for drug possession (which was was later released without charge for), Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind. Lemmy went straight into forming his new band, Bastard, with guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. Eventually, after being told by his manager that a band named Bastard would never appear on Top of the Pops, Lemmy changed the name of the group to Motorhead after the last song he had written with Hawkwind.

Motorhead and Lemmy’s influence on rock music cannot be overstated. At a time when the differences between Punk Rock and Heavy Metal were seemingly becoming unbridgeable, Motorhead was that bridge. They were a band that embraced the hardness and lifestyle of a New Wave of British Heavy Metal band while also holding kinship with the rock and roll stylings of London’s Punk scene. Motorhead were at once both a Heavy Metal band and a Punk band – a fact best exemplified by their classic song Ace of Spades.

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In Lemmy’s long career he managed to gain the admiration of not only his fans, but also fellow musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne, The Ramones, Dave Grohl, Metallica, and Janet Jackson – who was at one point set to appear on Lemmy’s never materialized solo album, Lemmy and Friends.

With his hard-living rock star image and genuine devotion to his craft, the respect that Lemmy Kilmister was held in by his friends and fans cannot be overstated. He will be missed.

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Ian Fraser ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister

Monday 24th December 1945 – Monday 28th December 2015

Sources: BBC | Consequence of Sound