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Five Facts About Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister You Should Know

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Formed in June of 1975, Motorhead are one of the most famous bands in the history of heavy music. Motorhead were not icons of heavy metal, but were also beloved by fans of thrash, hardcore, rock and punk thanks to their extremely unique sound.

Though the band started out in 1975, they reached fame when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal took off a few years later. They remained active until 2015, when frontman and bassist Lemmy Kilmister died of prostate cancer four days after his 70th birthday. 

Although Motorhead are heavy metal at heart, frontman and bassist Lemmy Kilmister preferred his band to be labeled rock and roll. Since their beginnings in the mid-’70s, the band influenced numerous other artists over the years such as Metallica and all the metal bands that emerged after them, including acts as disparate as grind legends Napalm Death and black metal progenitors Venom. 

Ian Fraser Kilmister, who would come to be known as Lemmy, was born on the 24th of December 1945 in Staffordshire, England. Back in the day, before forming Motorhead, Lemmy was a member of several other bands including The Rockin’ Vickers, Hawkwind and Opal Butterflies.

In the span of 27 years, Motörhead released 21 albums with numerous iconic songs such as “Lost Woman Blues,” “Dancing on Your Grave,” “Iron Fist,” “The Hammer,” “Stone Dead Forever,” and “Metropolis.”

However, it was “Ace of Spades,” released in 1980, conquered the world of heavy metal and beyond. “Ace of Spades” is undoubtedly one of the top 20 songs about gambling alongside “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and of course, “Viva Las Vegas” by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley.

Let’s take a look at five interesting facts every Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead every fan should know. 

  1. Lemmy’s Passion for Slot Games

Lemmy Kilmister was a huge fan of slot games. Gambling in general was such a huge part of his life that he spent much of his free time cruising casinos. He even got his nickname thanks to his love for gambling. To support his gambling habits, he often asked friends to “Lemme a fiver.” 

2. Lemmy’s Love for Horses

After leaving school, Lemmy got a job as a horse breeder at a local riding school. Lemmy grew up on a small farm and before he thought about becoming a musician, his goal was to become a jockey. Despite common beliefs, Motorhead’s song “Iron Horse” is not about Lemmy’s favorite animal but a Hell’s Angel. 

3. World War II Fanatic

Lemmy Kilmister was also a huge World War II fanatic. He was particularly interested in World War II uniforms and he was a proud collector of war memorabilia. 

4. His Stepfather Played Football Professionally

Lemmy’s stepfather was one of the biggest supporters of his career. His stepfather George Willis was one of the very first people to support his decision to become a musician, but not many people know George was a professional footballer. He played as a forward for Plymouth Argyle and Brighton and Hove Albion.

5. Everything Started with the Rockin’ Vickers

Before he founded one of the most legendary bands, Lemmy performed with The Rockin’ Vickers. The Rockin’ Vickers were known for energetic performances and a rather unusual attire. After forming Motorhead, Lemmy embraced big cowboy hats and black leather. 

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