The co-founder and lead vocalist of Metallica, James Hetfield, has also touched many with his songwriting skills. Hetfield is famous for his emotional lyrics, which are often inspired by his personal life and experiences.
His relationships with the people that have inspired him are also noteworthy. Hetfield has especially stated his love and appreciation for Lemmy Kilmister, the late founder of Motörhead, who died in 2015 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kilmister’s death hit Hetfield quite hard as it was difficult to see his ‘immortal idol’ mortal.
As a tribute to Kilmister, he wrote the Metallica song ‘Murder One’ in 2016 and stated that it feels right to commemorate such a legend because he meant a lot to many and has contributed to many lives. This gesture made both Motörhead and Metallica fans very happy.
What Makes Us See Lemmy Kilmister In ‘Murder One?’
Hetfield knew about Kilmister’s favorite amplifier, which he used in all his performances. Kilmister named the amplifier ‘Murder One,’ and Hetfield stated that he used to love ‘being murdered by it.’ This first reference is the most basic one that inspired the tribute song’s title.
Metallica’s frontman also used Motörhead album names and some lyrics from their most known songs while putting ‘Murder One’ together. A quartet in the song goes like ‘Aces wild, Aces high / All the aces, Aces ’til you die,’ which is taken from ‘Ace of Spades,’ Motörhead’s most popular song, released in 1980.
However, the references to Kilmister’s legacy do not just end with ‘Ace of Spades.’ James also used the lyrics ‘Born to lose, Living to win’ inspired by the late vocalist’s song ‘Born to Lose.’ This line also became a slogan in Kilmister’s mantelpiece at his grave in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
After the rockstar’s death, Metallica’s tribute reached the top of the UK Rock & Metal Singles and Albums Charts and became one of the most meaningful farewell gifts ever created for the Motörhead icon.
You can listen to the tribute song ‘Murder One’ below.