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R.I.P. Larry Wallis, original Motörhead guitarist dies at 70

on September 20, 2019, 10:28am

Larry Wallis, the first guitarist for legendary metal band Motörhead, has passed away at the age of 70.

A cause of death was not immediately made available.

In 1975, Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox were recruited by frontman Lemmy Kilmister to form Motörhead. Although he was in the band for less than a year, Wallis played on the entire On Parole album, which was intended to be Motörhead’s debut LP.

On Parole was shelved by the record label, United Artists, whose executives were not convinced that the LP would be a commercial success. When the band added “Fast” Eddie Clarke as a second guitarist in early 1976, Wallis ended up leaving Motörhead a few weeks later.

About half the songs from On Parole were re-recorded with Clarke and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor for the band’s official 1977 self-titled debut.

On Parole was finally released in 1979 following the success of the albums Overkill and Bomber. Wallis co-wrote and sang lead on the songs “Vibrator” and “Fools”, and also has songwriting credits for “On Parole” and “City Kids”.

Motörhead were just one of several bands on Wallis’ résumé. In the early ’70s, the guitarist played in groups including Shagrat, Blodwyn Pig, and, most notably, Pink Fairies. He was even briefly a member of the prominent hard rock act UFO in 1972.

Following his departure from Motörhead, Wallis recorded the 1977 solo single “Police Car”/”On Parole”, which was produced by Nick Lowe.

(Read: Motörhead to Release Super Deluxe 1979 Box Set)

Wallis himself became an in-house producer for Stiff Records. He also re-formed Pink Fairies in the late ’80s, and played in other outfits throughout the years. He released his only solo album, Death in the Guitarfternoon, in 2001.

Sadly, the past several years have seen the passings of a number of classic Motörhead members. Guitarist Michael “Würzel” Burston died in 2011, followed by Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor and Lemmy Kilmister in 2015. Just last year, “Fast” Eddie Clarke died, as well.

Hear Larry Wallis’ Motörhead track “Vibrator”, as well as his solo recordings of “Police Car” and “On Parole” below.

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