Lemmy has left us, just days after his 70th birthday.
He was an outlaw figure whose raw and dirty rock’n'roll occasionally irrupted into the safe world of top 40 pop and scared the life out of Top of the Pops presenters. But by the end he’d become a national treasure, revered even by those who hated his music during his prime.
There was nobody else quite like him.
Although ill-health meant he was a diminished figure on stage in his final years, he could still cut it in the studio right up to the end, as the barnstorming final Motörhead album “Bad Magic” was to prove.
Though he was best known for Motörhead, his stint with Hawkwind in the 1970s shouldn’t be forgotten. He sang lead on their big hit “Silver Machine”, of course, as well as writing “Motorhead”, “Lost Johnny” and “The Watcher”, which he would later re-record with Motörhead. But it was his distinctive and unique bass playing where he really made his mark. Listen to “Lord of Light” from the definitive live album “Space Ritual” for example; when Hawkwind toured five years ago it took two bass players to do that song justice live. Or the combination of his bass riff and Simon House’ Mellotron opening “Assault and Battery” on his last album with the band, “Warrior at the Edge of Time”.
Lemmy was the embodiment of the spirit of rock’n'roll. If he was an In Nomine character, he would have been word-bound, and there are no prizes for guessing the word. He didn’t just play rock’n'roll, he lived it.