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Lemmy: Born To Win

There will never be another. As heavy music recovers from the loss of one of its single most important figures, we pay tribute to the man who changed everything

In the end, the biggest surprise was that Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister was a human being after all. A figure of unfathomable importance to the world of music, and to heavy metal in particular, Lemmy was not supposed to die. He was meant to be indestructible. Many of us have joked about visions of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with Lemmy, Ozzy and Keith Richards sitting around a small campfire, swapping tales of rock’n’roll derring-do and sharing what’s left of the world’s alcohol supplies... but the tragic reality is that we have finally lost Lemmy, and one of the most important and enduring sagas in musical history is over.

Lemmy was truly dedicated to a life lived with the rock’n’roll flame blazing brightly. From humble origins in a series of 60s bands, most notably The Rockin’ Vickers, to a brief tenure with British space rock pioneers Hawkwind, he had clearly concluded early on that there was nothing more worthwhile than plugging into amplifiers, cranking up the volume and entertaining the living crap out of every last person with the balls to go toe-to-toe with the real goddamn thing. When Motörhead began in 1975, he cut out his former band’s hippie tendencies and pursued the pure rock’n’roll tropes that had thrilled him in his teenage years, adding an exquisite muscularity and intensity. Initially named Bastard, the band would swiftly adopt that more fitting moniker – a nod, of course, to Lemmy’s penchant for amphetamines, but also a call-to-arms for likeminded servants of the rock’n’roll ethos. Motörhead for life. It’s a simple motto that says it all.

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