The End Of Motörhead

Lemmy

In November, former Motörhead drummer Phil Taylor died at the age of 61. Now, the band’s bass player and lead vocalist has died at the age of 70. As he was the main man, this is surely the end of a chapter in rock history. Ian Fraser Kilmister, known universally as Lemmy, was born at Stoke-on-Trent on December 24, 1945. How he came to form the band is the stuff of legend; he was touring in North America with Hawkwind when he was sacked mid-tour. That must have been the most fortuitous dismissal of the decade.

Motörhead were formed in 1975, and sounded like, well, noise. Heavy metal has its fair share of philosophers – Rush are probably the most extreme example – but no one really expects subtlety from thrash. How wrong can anybody be? Lemmy’s father was a Royal Air Force chaplain who deserted his young wife when Ian was a babe in arms. He didn’t meet him until he was an adult, and like Phil Lynott, he didn’t think much of his old man, although he doesn’t appear to have written a song about him, at least not openly. He did however become an agnostic, in which capacity he wrote what is arguably his greatest song. God Was Never On Your Side takes a swipe at organised religion like no other. Lemmy provided the lyrics to this, and the music was written by the band. His other great song, written some fourteen years earlier, was a solo effort: I Ain’t No Nice Guy. Half the people on the planet could identify with this, but in spite of its painful introspection, most music fans will agree that Lemmy was indeed a nice guy.

It remains to be seen if the band will continue, but Motörhead without Lemmy is a bit like Tom without Jerry, it just doesn’t fly. You can find a few Motörhead tracks on SongFacts including the now sadly appropriate Dead And Gone; more will hopefully be added early next year. There is also the official Motörhead website which will doubtless continue to be maintained, and lots of live footage of him and the gang on YouTube.

R.I.P.

 

About the author

Alexander Baron