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Larry Wallis (1949–2019), original Motorhead guitarist

Getty Images / Redferns / David Corio

He played with the band on their debut album, but left before they hit it big

Larry Wallis was the original guitarist for legendary metal band Motorhead, though he didn’t continue with the band after their early days. A founding member of the band. Wallis wrote several songs for their 1976 debut album, “On Parole,” and played guitar on the recording, as well as singing lead on the two songs. But the album wasn’t released, and Wallis left the band out of frustration before they made it big. When the album was later released without the band’s permission in 1979, Wallis’ songs and influenced remained. Both before and after his time with Motorhead, Wallis was a member of the Pink Fairies, and he wrote or co-write all the songs for their 1973 album “Kings of Oblivion.” Wallis was also known for a solo career including the 1977 single “Police Car” and for playing in other bands including Shagrat alongside Steve Took.

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Died: September 19, 2019 (Who else died on September 19?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 70.


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Stiff Records: Wallis was involved with Stiff Records from the label’s early days, both as a performer and as an in-house producer. His “Police Car,” produced by Nick Lowe, was released on the label, and he was part of the label’s 1977 Live Stiffs Tour along with musicians including Elvis Costello and Ian Dury. As producer, Wallis worked with artists including the Adverts and Mick Farren.

What people said about him: “RIP Larry Wallis. So sad to hear the news this morning that we lost another legendary war horse of Rock. Lucky enough to share the bill with him a couple of times way back then. OK Lem… you got a decent lineup now… rip up the heavens!!!!” —Clive Jackson, lead singer for Doctor and the Medics

“Although his time in the band was short, Larry Wallis was one of the rare few to be there at Motorhead’s inception, creating those first riffs which would pave the sound for the rest of their career. A sad loss, would’ve loved to have seen him on stage. RIP Larry Willis.” —Twitter user @RJ_Fraser

“RIP Larry Wallis. This song [‘Police Car’] Rolling Stone magazine described as the greatest ever rock song on its release, apparently! It is one of my all time favorite tunes yet I only discovered it a few years ago. Made a huge impact on me.” —Twitter user @Richard13162222

Full obituary: New York Daily News

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