Tonight we pay tribute to the late great Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, a long-time close friend of Ozzy Osbourne.
Ian Fraser Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015), better known as Lemmy, founded and fronted Motörhead. His music was one of the foundations of the heavy metal genre. Known for his appearance (including his friendly mutton chops and moles), his distinctive gravelly, “raspy” singing voice, which “… made him one of the most recognizable voices in rock”, and his way of singing, always looking up towards a towering microphone tilted down into his weather-beaten face”. Also known for his unmistakable bass playing style, in which he used his Rickenbacker bass to create an “overpowered, distorted rhythmic rumble,” often playing power chords using growling overdriven Marshall tube bass stacks. Besides his music career, he also had many minor roles and cameo appearances in film and television.
Lemmy with help from Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs) on guitar, Tony Franklin on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums tackling “Desire” (a track he co-penned with Ozzy for his 1991 No More Tears album. This version was originally released on 2000’s Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy compilation album. It also later appeared on 2006’s Flying High Again – The World’s Greatest Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne and A Salute To Ozzy Osbourne that came out on 2010. All three are awesome, very hard to find, possibly out-of-print tribute albums.
“I Ain’t No Nice Guy,” featuring Ozzy on guest vocals and Slash from Guns N’ Roses on guitar is from March ör Die, the tenth album by Motörhead released in August on 1992.
After years of lackluster sales and feuds with record labels in the late ’80s, Motörhead enjoyed an incredible turnaround in ’92. After the critical success of their previous record 1916, which was nominated for a Grammy, Motörhead secured a second album deal with Sony. In addition, Lemmy had co-written four songs for Ozzy’s ’91 blockbuster album No More Tears at the invitation of wife and manager Sharon Osbourne. Those songs were “I Don’t Want to Change the World’,” “Hellraiser,” the hit single “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” and “Desire,”… generating much needed income. In his autobiography White Line Fever, Lemmy wrote:
“..that was one of the easiest gigs I ever had – Sharon rang me up and said, ‘I’ll give you X amount of money to write some songs for Ozzy’, and I said, ‘All right – you got a pen?’ I wrote six or seven sets of words, and he ended up using four of them… I made more money out of writing those four songs than I made out of fifteen years of Motörhead – ludicrous, isn’t it?!..” (Lemmy actually wrote a total of eight songs for Ozzy over the years, another couple being Seey You On the Other Side and My Little Man which both later appeared on the Ozzmosis album in 1995)
Ozzy Osbourne is one of the few musicians who knew Lemmy Kilmister from his early days in Hawkwind through four decades of Motörhead. They toured together on Ozzy’s first U.S. solo trek, during the Blizzard of Ozz tour, partied together, collaborated together and they swapped war stories and memorabilia together. When Ozzy learned of Lemmy’s passing on 28 Dec. 2015 (three days after his 70th birthday) he was in shock. Here, he pays loving tribute to his longtime friend. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine a few days later he stated:
You know what? There goes a hero for me. He was my hero. He was f*****g great, a good friend. I’m missing him already. I’ll never forget him. I don’t think a lot of people will forget Lemmy. He’ll be so missed in my camp. He was a good guy, a good man, a good friend of mine. He was just a f*****g great dude, man. Not enough time for him. God bless you, Lemmy. I’m so honored to have you a part of my life.