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Born on December 24, 1945 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England as Ian Fraser Kilmister. Lemmy was the face of heavy metal and the epitome of a rockstar.
Unlike his later life and musical career, little is known about Lemmy’s earlier years of his life. Besides that his father was ex-Royal Air Force chaplain and concert pianist who separated from his mom when he was only three months old.
He is best known as the founder of Motörhead. And also for his raspy, raw singing voice combined with his distinguishable outfit. Often praised as “one of the most recognisable voices in rock”.
Motorhead was a rock and roll band formed in 1975 by Lemmy Kilmister, Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox.
However, before founding Motörhead in 1975, Lemmy had already been in multiple bands like Hawkwind for example since the 60s. Also, he did not rise to mainstream fame till late 70s – early 80s when he released multiple albums with Motörhead. Albums like ‘Motörhead’, ‘Overkill’, ‘Bomber’, ‘Ace of Spades, gained massive success and reached legendary status. Albums that gave birth to one of the most loyal fan bases in the world as well.
This achievement however, was achieved by who else if not the classic Motorhead trio! Consisting of Lemmy Kilmister on bass/vocals, Eddie Clarke on guitar and Phil Taylor on drums.
The great Lemmy Kilmister passed away on December 28, 2015 due to cancer. Only four days after celebrating his 70th Birthday.
10 Lemmy Kilmister facts
1. Janet Jackson fan
Lemmy was a big Janet Jackson fan and wanted to record a song with her. However, Sony prohibited him to do so. He intended to record a version of Black Cat with Jackson, but sadly we can’t get always what we want.
In an interview he said “You could tell from the video that she was having a good time, that this loud rock music is what she really wanted to be doing. I love that fuckin’ song.. Great fuckin’ song that but the record company wouldn’t let it be possible”.
2. Kicked out of Hawkwind
Before forming Motorhead in 1975, Lemmy was a bassist for English rock band Hawkwind. However, because of drug possession in 1975, they kicked him out of the band. Which turned out to be more than great for Lemmy and the world since it gave birth to Motörhead!
3. Roadie for Jimi Hendrix
Definitely one of the coolest Lemmy Kilmister facts is the fact that he roadied with Jimi Hendrix.
This happened after he moved to London in 1967 where he befriended Hendrix’s bassist Noel Redding. He was a roadie for the group for eight months.
Lemmy also was a roadie for the Nice.
4. “Late” Bloomer
Even though he was part of several bands and even roadied with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Lemmy wasn’t particularly famous on his own.
He founded Motörhead when he was 30 and gained popularity around the age of 35!
One of the most motivational Lemmy Kilmister facts.
5. Motörhead isn’t the first song
In fact, Motörhead is the name of the last song that Lemmy wrote for his previous band Hawkwind. So, technically this isn’t the first song he wrote for Motörhead.
Hawkwind’s version of Motorhead isn’t half bad either!
Listen to Hawkwind version HERE.
6. Origin of the nickname Lemmy
As we all know his real name is Ian Fraser Kilmister, but everyone calls him Lemmy. And we also already know one of the most basic Lemmy Killmister facts – that he loved slot machines.
So, as a kid in order to play more on the slot machines he always asked his friends “Can you lemmy (lend me) a quid?”. And that’s how he legendary name in rock and roll was born.
7. Motörhead wasn’t his first choice for a band name
At first, Lemmy actually considered calling the band ‘Bastard’. But he was told that he’d never get played on the BBC Top of the Pops music chart with that name. So he changed it to Motörhead which was the name of his last song with Hawkwind and also a slang for a ‘speed (amphetamine) user’.
8. Owned Nazi memorabilia
Similar to David Bowie, Kilmister also had a fixation towards nazism and collected Nazi memorabilia. However, he never identified with the gruesome ideology nor agreed with their views and ideals. Just thought that their stuff looked cool.
9. Sex legend
As I already said at the beginning, Lemmy was the epitome of rock and roll, a true rockstar to the bone.
He apparently slept with over 1200 women in his life, even though some claim the number goes beyond two thousand! One of the if not the coolest Lemmy Kilmister facts.
10. Wrote songs for Ozzy Osbourne
After coming to America with almost nothing in his bank account, Ozzy was the first to approach and help him. That’s when they become close and good friends.
Because he wasn’t in the best situation, Ozzy’s wife Sharon offered him to write couple of songs for her husband. And he did. Lemmy wrote 6 songs for Ozzy’s sixth studio album No More Tears and 4 of them made the album.
Later Kilmister said that the money he earned with Osbourne, was more than he ever earned from Motorhead. Especially from the song ‘Mama I’m Coming Home‘.
Featured image by: Alejandro Páez