Ian Fraser Kilmister, also known as Lemmy Kilmister, was an English musician born on December 24, 1945. He was best known as the lead singer, bassist, and founder of the rock band, Motorhead, which then also became one of the most influential bands in the heavy metal genre. Dubbed as “one of the most recognizable voices in rock,” he was also noted for his powerful bass chords. He was a talented musician worth celebrating on his birthday today!
Ian Fraser Kilmister
December 24, 1945
December 28, 2015 (age 70)
Ian Fraser Kilmister, born on December 24, 1945, in Staffordshire, England, was an English singer whose talents and originality set him apart. As an infant, Kilmister’s parents separated, so he moved with his mother to Madeley. His mother remarried when he was 10 years old, and he attended Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones after moving to the Welsh village of Benllech. Here, Kilmister earned the nickname “Lemmy” and began showing interest in rock and roll.
Kilmister joined several local bands before the Rockin’ Vickers in 1965. The band signed a deal with C.B.S., released three singles, and toured Europe. However, in 1967, he left the band and moved to London. By 1968, Kilmister joined the Sam Gopal psychedelic rock band as Ian Willis. The band recorded the album, “Escalator,” which dropped in 1969. In 1971, Kilmister joined the space rock band Hawkwind as a bassist and vocalist. After he got fired from Hawkwind, Kilmister formed a band called Bastard, later renamed Motorhead. The band saw many members come and go, but Kilmister was always the constant. In October 1980, Motorhead released their chart-topping single, ‘Ace of Spades,’ from the “Ace of Spades” album. This single remained a crowd favorite. The band’s first live album, “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith,” released in June 1981, peaked at number one on the U.K. album charts. This solidified Motorhead’s place as one of the most influential bands in the heavy metal genre. In December 2015, Kilmister and the band’s final live performance took place at the band’s 40th Anniversary Tour in Berlin, Germany.
At 17, he met a woman named Cathy, and she gave birth to his son, Sean, who was put up for adoption. Kilmister had another son with a woman named Tracy and was plagued with alcohol and substance abuse. During the end of his career, Kilmister suffered from diabetes and hypertension. He was hospitalized with a lung infection in September 2015, dying from prostate cancer, cardiac arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure on December 28, 2015.
Kilmister joins the Rockin’ Vickers.
Kilmister joins Hawkwind, the space rock band, as a bassist and vocalist.
Kilmister forms his own band, first known as Bastard, which he renames Motorhead.
Motorhead releases their single, ‘Ace of Spades.’
Kilmister and the Motorheads embark on a 40th Anniversary Tour in Berlin.
Why We Love Lemmy Kilmister
He was influential across genres
Kilmister was one of the most talented heavy metal musicians and is also considered to be the “King of Rock ‘N Roll” by some, surpassing even Elvis Presley. He made a huge impact across musical genres
He was transparent
Kilmister was transparent about his drug and substance abuse. His death reiterated the importance of drug and alcohol abstinence.
He was inspirational
Kilmister’s career trajectory was inspirational. Present and future musicians idolize him.
5 Surprising Facts
He shared a flat with bandmates
As a part of The Rockin’ Vickers, Kilmister shared a flat with his bandmates in Manchester.
His son was adopted
Kilmister’s first son was put up for adoption.
He slept with many women
Kilmister revealed that he’d slept with over a thousand women.
He was arrested
Kilmister was arrested at the Canadian border on drug possession charges.
He was inspired by his previous band
Kilmister renamed his band Motorhead after the last song he wrote for Hawkwind.
Lemmy Kilmister FAQs
What was on Lemmy Kilmister’s face?
He was known for his mole and mustache as he was for his music.
Was Lemmy Kilmister a smoker?
Yes, Kilmister smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.
Did cigarettes save Lemmy Kilmister?
Kilmister popped a cigarette when he was supposed to get his toes amputated but was forced to leave by the hospital. He went to another doctor who only asked him to change his diet instead of having a part of his body amputated.
Lemmy Kilmister’s birthday dates