A Tribute to Leaders of Society Who Have Passed Away: Ian Fraser Kilimister

By James Prumos, Trending Writer

Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was the bassist and lead singer for the heavy metal band Motorhead from 1977 until his death in December 2015. Lemmy was widely revered as one of the greatest icons of the heavy metal genre. One reason for this was his uncompromising devotion to performing his music, claiming in a June 2014 interview with Rolling Stone that he would do so “as long as I can…you kind of owe it to the people that put you up here. You should deliver. But if I can’t deliver, I’m never going to be a figurehead up there and just play for money.” Lemmy’s devotion to his work is also shown through Motorhead’s discography, with the band releasing 23 albums from 1975 to 2015.

Lemmy received admiration for his work by several members of the heavy metal community. Ozzy Osbourne commented on Lemmy’s skills at writing lyrics, including Osbourne’s only U.S. Top 40 hit, “Mama I’m Coming Home,” and called him “…my hero.” Alice Cooper considered Lemmy to be “innovative” and “one-of-a-kind”. Metallica posted on their website that Lemmy was “one of the primary reasons” Metallica exists.

Lemmy’s influence also extends beyond the music industry. Motorhead’s songs “King of Kings” and “The Game” have served as entrance themes for wrestler and executive vice president of WWE Paul Levesque, who goes by the ring name Hunter Hearst Helmsley, or Triple H. Triple H was close friends with Lemmy, even performing his theme song with Motorhead live at WrestleMania 17 and 21. He tweeted “…Thank you for the gift of your sound…Occasionally people come along in your life that you always want there…”

Despite being riddled with health problems throughout the last few years of his life, including diabetes and having to rely on a pacemaker, Lemmy did not worry for his death. In a 2013 interview conducted before the release of Motorhead’s penultimate album, Aftershock, he remarked, “Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age… When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.

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