Although he wasn’t one of the best-selling artists of all time, Lemmy Kilmister certainly was one of the most important figures in Rock and Roll. Born in 1945, he first started his musical career in 1960, the same year The Beatles were formed, for example.
Lemmy was part of groups like The Rockin’ Vickers, was Jimi Hendrix‘s roadie for some time until he became Hawkwind’s bassist, also singing on their most famous song “Silver Machine”. But everything changed for him in 1975 when he formed Motörhead, which would become one of the most influential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal bands of all time.
As Lemmy used to say before their concerts: “We are Motörhead and we play Rock and Roll”, he never liked that the band was labeled as Hard Rock or Metal. They also were one of the few to be loved by Metalheads and Punks, something that didn’t happen often throughout the history. During his career, the late musician talked a lot about other groups and once even mentioned which band in his opinion was one of the best ever.
Motörhead was active for 40 years, until Lemmy’s death in 2015 at the age of 70. They released 23 studio albums and have sold an estimated amount of more than 15 million records worldwide. However, their impact in Hard Rock and Metal was much bigger than their record sales, since they really became a cult-following band.
One of the groups they inspired the most were Metallica, who Lemmy Kilmister also praised many times. He even said in an interview with Dave Ling back in 2010, that they were one of the best bands of all time.
Curiously, Lars Ulrich and Cliff Burton were huge fans of the band and before they formed Metallica they were the founders of one of their fan-clubs. He recalled in the conversation with Dave Ling, how he met both of them before fame.
“There’s always been something special ever since Lars and Cliff Burton came to my hotel room before Metallica even existed. Lars introduced himself to me in his ever-modest way with the words: ‘I’m the head of your West Coast Fan Club’. We later found out there was only him and Cliff in it”.
“He tried to keep up with me in the drinking stakes, which was very bad news. We used a photograph of him from that night, covered in vomit. (It appears) on one album sleeve. It might have been ‘No Sleep At All’. He’s the one captioned: ‘Recognise anybody?’”
“But Metallica are a great fucking band, man. They’re truly one of the best bands ever, ‘Some Kind Of Monster’ aside. Every band has problems. But you know who I hated most in that movie? The fucking psychiatrist,” Lemmy Kilmister said.
Almost every band does covers at some point of their careers but they don’t usually record versions of songs that were released many decades after they already were an established group. But that didn’t bother Lemmy.
Lemmy, for example, covered two Metallica songs. The first one was “Enter Sandman”, which he recorded with Zebrahead for the compilation album “Extreme Championship Wrestling: Extreme Music” (1998). The second one was “Whiplash”, a song that Metallica wrote inspired by Motörhead in 1983. Lemmy’s band covered the track in 2004 for the Metallica tribute album “Metallic Attack”.
For that version, Motörhead won their only Grammy Award, in the category of Best Metal Performance. They received the award from Cyndi Lauper’s hands.
Metallica also covered Motörehad during their career. Two of them are “Overkill” and “Damage Case” that are featured on the band’s 1998 covers album “Garage Inc.”
They had the chance to perform together many times over the decades. Hetfield even said that in his opinion the Motörhead leader was the Godfather of Heavy Metal. Metallica also paid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister on their 2016 album “Hardwired… To Self Destruct”. The album was released in 2016, almost one year after his passing.
The track “Murder One” was named after the bassist’s favorite amplifier. The lyrics mention many famous Motörhead song titles and lyrics. Like for example: “Born to lose, living to win, one fist, hammers through the mist, one fist, steady on.”
I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG