Hot Best Seller

Lemmy: The Definitive Biography

Availability: Ready to download

In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly sad, and always beautifully told, LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY is the story of the only rock'n'roller never to sell his soul for silver and gold, while keeping the devil, as he put it, 'very close to my side'. From school days growing up in North Wales, to first finding fame in the mid-60s with the Rockin' Vicars ('We were very big up north, I had a Zephyr 6'); from being Jimi Hendrix's personal roadie ('I would score acid for him'), to leading Hawkwind to the top of the charts in 1972 with 'Silver Machine' ('I was fired for taking the wrong drugs'); from forming Motörhead ('I wanted to call the band Bastard but my manager wouldn't let me'), whose iconoclastic album NO SLEEP 'TIL HAMMERSMITH entered the UK charts at No. 1 - and its title into the lexicon of hip-speak.Based on Mick's original interviews with Lemmy conducted over numerous years, along with the insights of those who knew him best - former band mates, friends, managers, fellow artists and record business insiders - this is an unputdownable story of one of Britain's greatest characters. As Lemmy once said of Wall, 'Mick Wall is one of the few rock writers in the world who can actually write and seems to know anything about rock music. I can and do talk to him for hours - poor bastard.' With the hard part of his journey now over, Lemmy is set to become a legend. LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY explains exactly how that came to be.


Compare

In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly sad, and always beautifully told, LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY is the story of the only rock'n'roller never to sell his soul for silver and gold, while keeping the devil, as he put it, 'very close to my side'. From school days growing up in North Wales, to first finding fame in the mid-60s with the Rockin' Vicars ('We were very big up north, I had a Zephyr 6'); from being Jimi Hendrix's personal roadie ('I would score acid for him'), to leading Hawkwind to the top of the charts in 1972 with 'Silver Machine' ('I was fired for taking the wrong drugs'); from forming Motörhead ('I wanted to call the band Bastard but my manager wouldn't let me'), whose iconoclastic album NO SLEEP 'TIL HAMMERSMITH entered the UK charts at No. 1 - and its title into the lexicon of hip-speak.Based on Mick's original interviews with Lemmy conducted over numerous years, along with the insights of those who knew him best - former band mates, friends, managers, fellow artists and record business insiders - this is an unputdownable story of one of Britain's greatest characters. As Lemmy once said of Wall, 'Mick Wall is one of the few rock writers in the world who can actually write and seems to know anything about rock music. I can and do talk to him for hours - poor bastard.' With the hard part of his journey now over, Lemmy is set to become a legend. LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY explains exactly how that came to be.

30 review for Lemmy: The Definitive Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Tipper

    The great thing about Lemmy is that he told some tall stories and so there is undoubtedly some pockets of fiction in this non-fiction biography. I remember reading in an interview with Lemmy that he went to see a Harley Street doctor and was told not to give up drinking and drug taking by this medical expert because it’d kill him. Since I read this as a teenager I’ve had this tale recounted to me many, many times in pubs and at gigs. It might be shaggy dog stuff but it added to the myth of Lemmy The great thing about Lemmy is that he told some tall stories and so there is undoubtedly some pockets of fiction in this non-fiction biography. I remember reading in an interview with Lemmy that he went to see a Harley Street doctor and was told not to give up drinking and drug taking by this medical expert because it’d kill him. Since I read this as a teenager I’ve had this tale recounted to me many, many times in pubs and at gigs. It might be shaggy dog stuff but it added to the myth of Lemmy. I am happy to myth(ologize) Lemmy but very sad to miss Lemmy. So, The Definitive Autobiography. Definitive, eh? With authority and conclusively? Actually yes, that’s how it reads. Wall spoke to Lemmy himself repeatedly and to a lot of those close to Lemmy. Sometimes the things you say in response to a question from a trusted friend are not things you’ve ever directly thought about yourself and so Wall’s information from those close to Lemmy is often enlightening. Mick Wall covers the areas less well covered in other Lemmy tomes (he’s clearly very familiar with White Line Fever by Lemmy and Janiss Garza). Wall covers the Hawkwind years and Motörhead’s career in detail but he avoids the trap of long dull lists of tour dates and technical information that some rock and metal biographies fall into. Quotes from Lemmy are sprinkled throughout which makes you feel he’s still around, dispensing his wisdom. My favourite parts of the book are; Lemmy calling Eddie Clarke “Fancy Bollocks”. Lemmy complimenting Colleen Nolan on her tits in a totally non-sleazy way. Lemmy claiming Motörhead had the power to make lawns die (neatly skewering and satirizing suburban preoccupations in one sentence). Lemmy quoted as saying “I live my life as decent as I can, you know, I never made…I hardly ever made a promise I didn’t keep”. My least favourite part of the book was; I cried on page 288. Yeah, I knew he was going to die but Lemmy is woven into a lot of metal fans lives, including mine. I last saw him live in 2014 at Wacken Open Air. Now I like to think of Lemmy as being in the big backstage area in the sky. In summary, Wall’s book is a splendid read that captures Lemmy’s unique philosophy of life. You’ll be able to ask yourself after reading “What would Lemmy do?” and be able to answer yourself. The answer is probably stay determined, stick to your guns, have a drink and don’t let the bastards grind you down. Thank you, Mick Wall for a chunky book of warm Lemmy tales.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Kahn

    I would give the first half of this book four stars, up until about Pete Gill leaving the band. Maybe even when Lemmy fires Doug Smith for the second time and moves to LA. The rest of the book would rate about two. I give Wall full marks for not turning out a book of blind hero worship, of showing the young Lemmy as he was, without trying to protect his cool aura, and for letting some of the former members and associates- Fast Eddie, Brian Robertson, Pete Gill, Doug Smith - a chance to give thei I would give the first half of this book four stars, up until about Pete Gill leaving the band. Maybe even when Lemmy fires Doug Smith for the second time and moves to LA. The rest of the book would rate about two. I give Wall full marks for not turning out a book of blind hero worship, of showing the young Lemmy as he was, without trying to protect his cool aura, and for letting some of the former members and associates- Fast Eddie, Brian Robertson, Pete Gill, Doug Smith - a chance to give their sides of the story. It makes for an interesting read and humanizes the man. The problem comes with Lemmy's move to Los Angeles. Once he's ensconced in LA, with the lineup that would stay consistent for the rest of his life (with the exception of Wurzel who would play with the band until 1995's Sacrifice), the story gets boring. No major conflict or upheaval, just a lot of Lemmy quotes and quotes from other's praising Lemmy. It's boring. I can't entirely blame Wall for this because there's just not a lot to report, although he does spend about 40 pages dealing with Lemmy's failing health and then eulogies from others talking about what a great guy he was. That's on Wall. The blow-by-blow of each new health diagnosis, doctor's advice taken or ignored, cancelled shows or tours, wears a little thin. And we've just read a whole book on the man - do we need to know what other celebrities thought of him? My main complaint is with the Lemmy quotes. I have had this with several other biographies that I've read about him. The more I hear from him, the less I like him. Biographers always include at least one person commenting on how intelligent Lemmy is. Wall also had almost everyone he dealt with talk about what a great guy he was, even if their relationship ended acrimoniously. But reading his quotes, I just think it's the same crap over and over. His comments about religion or war don't display any great insights, his view of the music industry and Motorhead's place in it are full of the usual carping against the business or whining about how authentic they always stayed and that's why they never got any bigger - because they wouldn't compromise. It's a broken record, and he doesn't sound any different from thousands of other rock stars. I don't see any great insight from his years playing rock and roll. What you're left with is an aging musician, putting out the same album over and over again (I stopped listening to Motorhead around Hammered because the albums became indistinguishable from one another), playing lots of shows, and spending the rest of his time at a bar on playing video poker. Lemmy ceases to be cool - he's just kind of sad. And having Lars Ulrich or Slash or Ozzy saying he's not doesn't make it any less true. So four stars for the first two-thirds of the book, and then you can stop reading because the rest is silence.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    As most would know who read my reviews, Lemmy of Motorhead has been my favorite musician for a long time. I well remember when I was about 26 and discovered "Ace of Spades" on a metal composition record I bought. I don't remember any other songs on that compilation but I wore that record out on that track alone. Lemmy was a larger than life character and from all accounts a pretty decent fellow, though certainly not perfect. He had a dry wit and an honesty about what he said and about his music As most would know who read my reviews, Lemmy of Motorhead has been my favorite musician for a long time. I well remember when I was about 26 and discovered "Ace of Spades" on a metal composition record I bought. I don't remember any other songs on that compilation but I wore that record out on that track alone. Lemmy was a larger than life character and from all accounts a pretty decent fellow, though certainly not perfect. He had a dry wit and an honesty about what he said and about his music that I appreciated. I was very sorry when he died. This book does a good job of telling us about Lemmy, particularly the early years. The last dozen or so years are given somewhat short shrift but I suppose there's only so much you can get into a book about such a character. The last section, about his death, was touching and emotional for me, and left me with that melancholy feeling one gets when you finish a worthwhile read. If you're a fan of Motorhead, or just of Lemmy, I certainly recommend it. We'll not see his like again. "Don't forget the Joker."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    “When Motörhead leaves, there will be a hole that just can’t be filled.” A man of his word, that’s exactly what Lemmy did. Born to lose. Lived to win. Really well written and a great insight into Lemmy’s life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Conrad Zero

    Delightful look into the life of a Rock And Roll Demigod.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kriegslok

    I'm not a great one for musician biographies. Often the music stands alone for me and knowing more about the person behind it could cloud the listening experience (which may not be a bda thing always but one I generally avoid). However, Lemmy the man sort of came to be bigger than and more than Motorhead (a band I've long enjoyed) and so I decided to give this book a go. Mick Wall does a rwasonable enough job of telling Lemmys story. Personally I found the beginning covering his childhood/teen/H I'm not a great one for musician biographies. Often the music stands alone for me and knowing more about the person behind it could cloud the listening experience (which may not be a bda thing always but one I generally avoid). However, Lemmy the man sort of came to be bigger than and more than Motorhead (a band I've long enjoyed) and so I decided to give this book a go. Mick Wall does a rwasonable enough job of telling Lemmys story. Personally I found the beginning covering his childhood/teen/Hawkwind years and the end covering Lemmys philosophical musings and with the benefit of all that had passed being used to summerise a life that certainly stood out. Inevitably there is a lot of stuff about fallings out, splits, and the personal abuse that is/was part of the scene. The book is a good contribution to an era now gone and which on reflection looks a lot wierder (to me anyway) than it seemed at the time. In a world full of posers and conmen though Lemmy was neither as Wall quotes Lemmy " All I wanted to do was play music that I love and that other people want. And that was it. And still is". In conclusion Wall includes further cllassic Lemmy "People talk about saving the environment, they mean what it takes to keep us alive. The planet will invent something else when we go. The planet don't give a shit." ... "We don't mean shit. The human race is a blight on the face of the earth, if you ask me. We are a disease. We deserve to die". Anyone interested in Motorhead should get somthing extra out of this book even if it means ploughing through the bits about record labels, arguments and splits!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ianzam

    Lemmy is one of the best, coolest cats to have graced this planet. And this book is really good, I intended to just buy Lemmy's autobiography (also great), but I could not put this book down. I do disagree with Mick on some matters of taste (Killed by Death is a very cool video!), and I love Motorhead's later stuff. But he did a great job here, and it has plenty of great quotes right from Lemmy himself, and his great bandmates and friends. Well worth a read. Lemmy is one of the best, coolest cats to have graced this planet. And this book is really good, I intended to just buy Lemmy's autobiography (also great), but I could not put this book down. I do disagree with Mick on some matters of taste (Killed by Death is a very cool video!), and I love Motorhead's later stuff. But he did a great job here, and it has plenty of great quotes right from Lemmy himself, and his great bandmates and friends. Well worth a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Cavaco

    Decent biography by music writer Mick Wall and friend of Lemmy. Lemmy is the quintessential rocker that despite the hedonistic lifestyle was a talented songwriter and an intelligent individual. The book shines a bit more when revealing Lemmy's personal life, especially at the end when he left us for that great gig in the sky. Decent biography by music writer Mick Wall and friend of Lemmy. Lemmy is the quintessential rocker that despite the hedonistic lifestyle was a talented songwriter and an intelligent individual. The book shines a bit more when revealing Lemmy's personal life, especially at the end when he left us for that great gig in the sky.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Jørgensen

    Great reading about the early era of Lemmy, both in Hawkwind and Motörhead.

  10. 4 out of 5

    CHAD FOSTER

    Lemmy Kilmister was, in many ways, the ultimate embodiment of a true rock star. He managed this despite having an anti-star attitude. The guy was bigger than life to both has fans and his fellow musicans. I have not read any of the other biographies of Lemmy, but it is hard to imagine that there are any better than what Mick Wall offers here. It's all in these pages - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The philosophical thoughts that Lemmy would offer from time to time were truly insightful. He was Lemmy Kilmister was, in many ways, the ultimate embodiment of a true rock star. He managed this despite having an anti-star attitude. The guy was bigger than life to both has fans and his fellow musicans. I have not read any of the other biographies of Lemmy, but it is hard to imagine that there are any better than what Mick Wall offers here. It's all in these pages - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The philosophical thoughts that Lemmy would offer from time to time were truly insightful. He was a man who lived life by his own rules. He didn't believe in regrets. He was a bass player that hammered the 4-strings like a rhythm guitarist, creating a style that is recognizable nearly from the first note. The term "gentleman" seems to be both out of place and yet completely appropriate for this man. Lemmy would probably have sneered at the idea of being called a gentleman, but the label was, especially at the end, probably as good a descriptor than any other. I had always heard about Lemmy's first band, Hawkwind, but I had never really listened to them. After reading this, I went back and listened to quite a few of their songs. To be honest, I have no idea what the appeal was - it is fortunate for all of us that Hawkwind pushed Lemmy out or we might never have had the pleasure of hearing Motorhead. RIP, Lemmy. You were (are) the best.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This is definitely the best overall account of Lemmy's life or so it seems. Bought as a Christmas present for myself this year it is the third Biographical work of Motorhead/Lemmy I have read to date and as mentioned the best read to date. Mick Wall tells a well crafted tail of Lemmy's beginnings to hitting it big with the Rocking Vicars, being a Roadie for Hendrix then getting in with Hawkwind and finally starting Motorhead. While I really enjoyed the book Lemmy - White Line Fever, it was told b This is definitely the best overall account of Lemmy's life or so it seems. Bought as a Christmas present for myself this year it is the third Biographical work of Motorhead/Lemmy I have read to date and as mentioned the best read to date. Mick Wall tells a well crafted tail of Lemmy's beginnings to hitting it big with the Rocking Vicars, being a Roadie for Hendrix then getting in with Hawkwind and finally starting Motorhead. While I really enjoyed the book Lemmy - White Line Fever, it was told by Lemmy himself so it was more a perspective of his life in his own words. This being one from many sources you get more information about different areas and perspective from band members like Eddy Clarke and former manager Doug Smith. You also hear a bit more about the drug habits which is an essential subject when wanting to learn more about Motorhead. I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the ultimate Rock & Roll band Motorhead. 5 plus stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike Balsom

    Mick Wall captures the uniqueness of Lemmy Kilmister, one-time bassist for Hawkwind and the leader of Motorhead, in this bio. Much of it comes from conversations the former rock PR man had with Lemmy through the years, and he transcribes much of those at length and verbatim, giving the reader a bang-on insight to what made the rock legend tick. He lived life the way he wanted to live it, and to its fullest as far as he was concerned, and that comes out in this book. We could all do well by ourse Mick Wall captures the uniqueness of Lemmy Kilmister, one-time bassist for Hawkwind and the leader of Motorhead, in this bio. Much of it comes from conversations the former rock PR man had with Lemmy through the years, and he transcribes much of those at length and verbatim, giving the reader a bang-on insight to what made the rock legend tick. He lived life the way he wanted to live it, and to its fullest as far as he was concerned, and that comes out in this book. We could all do well by ourselves by taking a bit of what Lemmy tells Wall to heart here, and living our own lives a bit more like him. NOTE: I read the print version of the book, NOT the audiobook.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Frank Allinson

    This is a really well written biography of a well loved rock n roll legend. I have been a fan of both Hawkwind & Motorhead for many years and I love reading about the personalities within the bands. I was lucky enough to see Motorhead play live on three occasions, although not with the classic Lemmy - Clarke-Taylor line up. They were always excellent.loud and value for money. I first read articles by Mick Wall when he wrote for Kerrang! magazine in the 80's. The continues to share his considerab This is a really well written biography of a well loved rock n roll legend. I have been a fan of both Hawkwind & Motorhead for many years and I love reading about the personalities within the bands. I was lucky enough to see Motorhead play live on three occasions, although not with the classic Lemmy - Clarke-Taylor line up. They were always excellent.loud and value for money. I first read articles by Mick Wall when he wrote for Kerrang! magazine in the 80's. The continues to share his considerable knowledge about rock/heavy metal music with enthusiastic readers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pogo Dragon

    I loved this book. I don't think there's anything groundbreaking in it. It's clearly written from a place of love and admiration. But I loved it. It's funny, it's sad, it clearly evokes the eras it's written about. And I cried at the end. I've been a fan of Lemmy for years - even named one of my cats after him (hey, he had black hair and an independent attitude, it was obvious), this book just reminded me of what a giant we lost when he died. I loved this book. I don't think there's anything groundbreaking in it. It's clearly written from a place of love and admiration. But I loved it. It's funny, it's sad, it clearly evokes the eras it's written about. And I cried at the end. I've been a fan of Lemmy for years - even named one of my cats after him (hey, he had black hair and an independent attitude, it was obvious), this book just reminded me of what a giant we lost when he died.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Garret Roberts

    A great series of interviews, detailing the wild life of Lemmy and the creation and early years of Motörhead. While engaging, the middle of the book gets very dense and jargon heavy. The best pets are when it allows Lemmy to shine as the interesting character he was socially, but the e story tends to linger to often on technical details. Worth reading for any metal fans, but can be a slog to get through at times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brett buckner

    Mick Wall does it again. There will never be another Lemmy and there will never be another band harder, faster, louder or more interesting uncompromising than Motörhead. Wall again proves that Lemmy was more than a hard rock icon, but a man of depth, soul and compassion. Lemmy is gone, but will never ever be forgotten. Wall makes damn sure of that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Hines

    This was an almost perfect biography. I learned a lot of new information about Sir Lemmy. The only part I didn't care for was the author kept insisting that the longest running lineup of Motorhead was, essentially, a has-been outfit. What crap! They put out some phenomenal records! This was an almost perfect biography. I learned a lot of new information about Sir Lemmy. The only part I didn't care for was the author kept insisting that the longest running lineup of Motorhead was, essentially, a has-been outfit. What crap! They put out some phenomenal records!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    I liked this as much as White Line Fever. There’s a fair amount of crossover but that’s ok. Read white line fever first then this. The section about Lemmy as his health deteriorated wasn’t in the autobiography.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    **1/4: disappointingly ramshackle and very biased. Not much in here that wasn't already known outside of some quotes from Robbo and Doug Smith. **1/4: disappointingly ramshackle and very biased. Not much in here that wasn't already known outside of some quotes from Robbo and Doug Smith.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Skull

    Fucking excellent, much more honest and all encompassing than the previous White Line Fever. It talks about the Lemmy I knew, Warts and all!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Clarey

    Always a fan of metal biographies, so this one was a no brainer to pick up. Lots of insight and a variety of musical references for me to look into. A great tale about a rock and roll legend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    A touching tribute to an immortal legend. RIP Lemmy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher John

    Brilliant!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Bloxham

    Far better than the autobiography and very honest about the music, I love Motorhead and wish I could still go and see them. Did make me want to hunt down the three classic albums though

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darren-lee

    3.5 - A fun read

  26. 5 out of 5

    W. Koistinen

    Have before read only Lemmy's autobiography, and this was much better than that. More complete picture of the man. Have before read only Lemmy's autobiography, and this was much better than that. More complete picture of the man.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gary.

    Excellent portrayal of a legend, made me laugh out loud at times,at some of his escapdes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Antony

    I never really listened to Motorhead (or Hawkwind for that matter) but I figured Lemmy must have been a pretty interesting guy. His legend precedes him of course but beyond the sex and drugs and rock and roll there doesn't seem to be much else about him. In fact be doesn't come across as a particularly likeable person, despite everyone who knew him saying what a great guy he is all the time. This ends up being a pretty depressing tale as his health fails and his life becomes more and more like a I never really listened to Motorhead (or Hawkwind for that matter) but I figured Lemmy must have been a pretty interesting guy. His legend precedes him of course but beyond the sex and drugs and rock and roll there doesn't seem to be much else about him. In fact be doesn't come across as a particularly likeable person, despite everyone who knew him saying what a great guy he is all the time. This ends up being a pretty depressing tale as his health fails and his life becomes more and more like a traffic heavy metal pantomime.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mikey James

    A really well written biography about Lemmy. Lots of Hawkwind era stuff too, which was new to me. Really enjoyed listening to all the Motorhead albums whilst reading this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott Alisoglu

    Wall skipped through too much the 90s period from '1916' on, making the term "definitive" a stretch. Otherwise essential, for fans especially. Wall's writing is equally informative and warm to boot. Wall skipped through too much the 90s period from '1916' on, making the term "definitive" a stretch. Otherwise essential, for fans especially. Wall's writing is equally informative and warm to boot.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.