Lemmy performing in May 2005
Ian Fraser Kilmister

(1945-12-24)24 December 1945
Died28 December 2015(2015-12-28) (aged 70)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, California, U.S.
Other names
  • Lemmy Kilmister
  • Ian Fraser Willis
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • bassist
Years active1965–2015
Musical career
  • Bass
  • guitar
  • vocals
Associated acts

Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015), was an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Motörhead.

Lemmy's music was one of the foundations of the heavy metal genre.[1] He was known for his appearance, including his friendly mutton chops; gravelly, raspy singing voice, which was declared "one of the most recognisable voices in rock"; and his way of singing, looking up towards "a towering microphone tilted down into his weather-beaten face".[2] He was also known for his bass playing style, using his Rickenbacker bass to create an "overpowered, distorted rhythmic rumble".[2] Another unique aspect of Lemmy's bass sound is that he often played power chords using growling overdriven Marshall tube bass stacks. Alongside his music career, he also had minor roles and cameos in film and television.

Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, growing up between there and later Anglesey. He was influenced by rock and roll and the early works of The Beatles, which led to him playing in several rock groups in the 1960s; including The Rockin' Vickers. He worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1971, singing lead vocals on their hit "Silver Machine". After being fired from Hawkwind for drug possession in 1975, he founded Motörhead during the same year as the lead singer, bassist, and songwriter. Motörhead's success peaked in 1980 and 1981 and included the hit single "Ace of Spades" and the chart-topping live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.

Lemmy continued to record and tour regularly with Motörhead until his death in December 2015 in Los Angeles, California, where he had lived since 1990. Aside from his musical activities, he was well known for his hard-living lifestyle, which included chain-smoking and regular consumption of alcohol and amphetamines. He died on 28 December 2015 of prostate cancer.

Early life

Lemmy was born on 24 December 1945 in the Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.[3][4] When he was three months old, his father, an ex-Royal Air Force chaplain and concert pianist,[5] separated from his mother. His mother and grandmother moved to nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, then to Madeley.[6] When Lemmy was 10, his mother married former George L Willis (Tool Maker) who already had two older children from a previous marriage, Patricia and Tony, with whom Lemmy did not get along.

The family moved to a farm in the Welsh town of Benllech, Anglesey, with Lemmy later commenting that "funnily enough, being the only English kid among 700 Welsh ones didn't make for the happiest time, but it was interesting from an anthropological point of view".[7] He attended Sir Thomas Jones' School in Amlwch, where he was nicknamed "Lemmy". It was later suggested by some that the name originated from the phrase "lemmy [lend me] a quid 'til Friday" because of his alleged habit of borrowing money from people to play slot machines,[6][8][9][10] although Lemmy himself said that he did not know the origin of the name.[11] He soon started to show an interest in rock and roll music, girls, and horses.

At school, Lemmy noticed a pupil who had brought a guitar to school and had been "surrounded by chicks". His mother had a guitar, which he then took to school, even though he could not play, and was himself surrounded by girls. By the time he left school, his family had moved to Conwy. Whilst there, he worked at menial jobs, including one at the local Hotpoint electric appliance factory, while also playing guitar for local bands such as the Sundowners and spending time at a horse-riding school.[6] Lemmy saw the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club when he was sixteen, and then learned to play along on guitar to their first album Please Please Me. He also admired the sarcastic attitude of the group, particularly that of John Lennon.[12]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Lemmy
Alemannisch: Lemmy Kilmister
العربية: ليمي
aragonés: Lemmy Kilmister
azərbaycanca: Lemmi Kilmister
تۆرکجه: لمی
български: Леми Килмистър
Boarisch: Lemmy Kilmister
brezhoneg: Lemmy
čeština: Lemmy
Cymraeg: Lemmy
Ελληνικά: Lemmy
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Lemmy Kilmister
español: Lemmy Kilmister
فارسی: لمی
français: Lemmy Kilmister
Gaeilge: Lemmy
հայերեն: Լեմի
hrvatski: Lemmy
Bahasa Indonesia: Lemmy
íslenska: Lemmy Kilmister
italiano: Lemmy Kilmister
latviešu: Lemijs
Lëtzebuergesch: Lemmy Kilmister
magyar: Lemmy
Nederlands: Lemmy Kilmister
norsk nynorsk: Lemmy
português: Lemmy
русский: Лемми
Simple English: Lemmy
slovenčina: Lemmy Kilmister
slovenščina: Lemmy Kilmister
српски / srpski: Леми Килмистер
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Lemmy Kilmister
Türkçe: Lemmy Kilmister
українська: Леммі Кілмістер
Tiếng Việt: Lemmy