There have been few people in hard music as instantly recognizable and widely respected as the late, great Lemmy Kilmister.
The icon was born Ian Fraser Kilmister on Dec. 24, 1945 in Staffordshire, England. He played in a couple of local bands when he was young, before becoming a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967.
“He was magic. He just stole the show, and I wanted to be playing that type of music,” Kilmister later told Louder Than War of seeing Hendrix play.
And that he did.
Kilmister had a stint as the bassist and vocalist for the band Hawkwind, but was later dismissed after being arrested for drug possession at the Canadian border.
Upon losing his role in Hawkwind, the rocker went on to form Motorhead, where he remained the frontman and sole consistent member until his death in 2015. He died just days after his 70th birthday due to an aggressive form of cancer.
But he pushed until the very end. Motorhead had toured rather extensively throughout 2015, and guitarist Phil Campbell reflected on his attitude toward the end. “Lem played, basically, like he wanted to do as long as he possibly could.”
Check out the images below to see the one and only Lemmy Kilmister through the years.