On Monday, we lost a true Rock'n'Roll giant - Lemmy Kilmister, aged 70. The Motorhead leader and Heavy Rock legend won't be forgotten, and PMT pays tribute to one of the greats.
"Live Fast, Die Young"? Forget about it! With Lemmy, it was more like "Live Fast, Die Old" - and you can't get more rock'n'roll than that! At the ripe old age of 69, Lemmy was until recently playing gigs and rocking out with Motorhead - when most people his age are pensioners settling for their peaceful twilight years.
Lemmy Kilmister had just turned 70 last week. He was born on 24th December and almost shared a birthday with big ol' JC. Despite his biblical intake of Jack Daniels and other unholy substances, Lemmy still managed to outlive the son of God by a good 37 years. Maybe that's why his passing, though far from a surprise, comes as a shock - we thought that, if he lasted this long, he would probably last that little bit longer and maybe, just maybe, bury us all! Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. His health deteriorated in the past few months, after Motorhead were forced to cancel some live dates, and he died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.
Here's our Top 7 Reasons Why Lemmy Totally Rocked:
1) LEMMY WAS LIVING ROCK'N'ROLL HISTORY
Lemmy was there at many crucial points in rock'n'roll, like few other people have - and survived to tell the tale. As a teenager, he lived in Liverpool and saw The Beatles at the Cavern Club, as described on his autobiography, "White Line Fever":
“... The Beatles were hard men too... They were from Liverpool... a hard, sea-farin' town, all these dockers and sailors around all the time who would beat the piss out of you if you so much as winked at them. Ringo's from the Dingle, which is like the f***ing Bronx. I did like the Stones, but they were never anywhere near the Beatles--not for humour, not for originality, not for songs, not for presentation. All they had was Mick Jagger dancing about. Fair enough, the Stones made great records, but they were always s**t on stage, whereas the Beatles were the gear."
Later on, Lemmy became a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and went on to join one of the seminal bands of the psychedelic era, Hawkwind. In the Seventies, he founded Motorhead, one of the original Heavy Rock bands who defined the style and, like few other bands from the era, they were also appreciated by punk bands such as Ramones and Sex Pistols, later in the decade. In the following decades, everyone from Metallica to Dave Grohl and Jarvis Cocker professed to be Lemmy fans.
2) Hawkwind, "Silver Machine"
Lemmy was a true rock'n'roll outsider, who succeeded against the odds. According to him, as a new band member, Hawkwind didn't want him to sing the lead on "Silver Machine". After trying every other band member, they eventually accepted that Lemmy was the man for the job. And, lo and behold - it was a hit!
3) Motorhead, "Ace Of Spades"
One of the seminal Motorhead songs. As Rolling Stone magazine said on this classic article, if that song was Lemmy's only contribution to rock'n'roll, that'd be enough. He sings the unforgettable lines "You know I'm born to lose/And gambling's for fools/But that's the way I like it, baby/I don't wanna live forever". Pure rock'n'roll nihilism, but it seems his gambling paid off for longer than Lemmy himself could've expected! Oh, and they got to play it on classic BBC sitcom "The Young Ones", too!
4) Lemmy Rocked on "Guitar Hero: Metallica"
... And no one would dare call him a "sell-out"! Because Lemmy was Lemmy and he did what the hell he pleased. Motorhead never sold as many records as other Heavy Metal acts such as Black Sabbath or Alice Cooper, and never attempted to manufacture a hit. If Guitar Hero brought him some deserved, belated income, then great! And if it gave a new generation the chance to get into Motorhead, then that's great, too!
5) Lemmy Was An Inspirational Rock'n'Roll Bass Player
Lemmy admitted that the reason he decided to learn bass was because it was easier than playing the guitar... like many other bassists since! He wasn't a muso, either - he kept it simple, fast and loud, and was an inspiration to many. If you don't have the skills to play like Paul McCartney, Flea or Sting, that's ok - do like Lemmy, and you'll be just fine! The sight of his custom Rickenbacker bass and Marshall stack were part of his iconic visual, too.
6) Lemmy, Aged 69 -We repeat... aged 69! - Rocked Glastonbury 2015
Just... wow! Another proof, if any was needed, that Lemmy was a true Rock God.
7) Lemmy, The Rock'n'Roll Philosopher
Like all the best rock'n'roll stars, Lemmy also had brains. It's never (just) about sex, drugs & rock'n'roll. Lemmy had a lot to say and was a pretty smart guy, as this The Tao Of Lemmy article shows so well! He was an intelligent and sincere rock'n'roll star... respect!
"Death is an inevitability, isn't it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don't worry about it. I'm ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn't complain. It's been good."
We'll miss you, Lemmy!