On Monday, the world of heavy metal lost a pioneer of sound. Motörhead bassist and frontman Ian Fraser Kilmister, affectionately known as “Lemmy” to loyal legions of fans, succumbed to cancer at his home in Los Angeles. It was four days after his 70th birthday, and he had only recently been diagnosed.
Although Lemmy originally fronted and played bass for space rock progenitors Hawkwind in the early ’70s, it was through more than 40 years with Motörhead that he sealed his status as not only an icon for heavy metal bassists and vocalists, but as an icon of the genre itself. Fans loved him, literally with warts and all.
His latter-day popularity is punctuated with bursts into the collective consciousness, whether as the answer to a riddle in the 1994 comedy Airheads or as a featured artist on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.
Moving into the 21st century, Motörhead had success during the past two years with its Motörboat cruise, a heavy metal-themed cruise package complete with fellow metal legends like Slayer and Anthrax performing on board. In 2010, the documentary Lemmy was nominated for an Audience Award at SXSW media festival.
A statement Monday from the band’s Facebook page reads as follows:
“There is no easy way to say this … our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from the Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please … play Motörhead loud.”
So, to pay tribute to the man, the musician, the legend, we present the following Spotify playlist. (Special thanks to Richie Tarver of Rainbows Are Free and Norman Music Festival organizer Quentin Bomgardner for assisting with the selection of the following tracks.)