It seems to be a little known fact that Ian Fraser Kilmister, or better known as Motörhead frontman Lemmy, was born in Burslem, the Mother Town of Stoke-on-Trent. In a matter of hours this will be recognised with the placement of a blue plaque at Port Vale’s home ground.
For those who are not familiar with the blue plaque, it’s a circular blue plaque placed on, or near buildings of historical significance associated with a famous person. They could have been born there, lived there or performed in a venue. It’s something that’s been going in this country since the 1860’s, but mainly in London in its early years.
Earlier in the year to celebrate BBC Music Day all (well I’m assuming all) local BBC radio stations invited submissions for people or places locally to be nominated. There’s not a massive pool of choice from the North Staffordshire area, but being unbiased Lemmy was easily the best candidate. The only two nominees I can recall from the radio stations listenership were local singer Jackie Trent (known for singing on the theme songs for Australian TV soap Neighbours) and a venue called The Golden Torch which was a leading light (pun intended) for the Northern Soul movement of the late 1960’s.
The accolade is very deserving for an icon of the heavy metal genre. It’s being unveiled tonight at 6pm by some guy called Tony Iommi, I’d liked to have gone to have a snoop, but due to the rock and roll life style I lead I’m sitting at home waiting for a shopping delivery to arrive between 5pm and 9pm. Living the dream right here.
The placement at the football ground is adequate, even though I support the other team in the city. He was born in the town and performed at the ground once back in 1981 in the inaugural Heavy Metal Holocaust. Personally though I’d liked to have seen it situated in Hanley – the areas city centre. I think it would be a good idea to have a walk of fame like the Hollywood Boulevard or Birmingham’s Broad Street, around our cultural quarter and the Victoria Hall, a venue Motörhead played at least three times. Which ever way to slice it though it’s still recognition for what was extreme music back in the day.
My main gripe is the wording on the plaque.
“Motörhead founder & singer, who’s song Ace of Spades has been adopted by Port Vale FC”.
Nothing about him being born in the town or actually performing at the ground. At the time of writing this, it is the only concert (infamously poorly ran by all accounts), to have been held on the grass at Vale Park. If they’re dishing them out for adoption it won’t be long until Tom Jones has a plaque at the Bet 365 stadium.
I actually thought I’d already posted the quintessential Motörhead song Ace of Spades a long time ago, apparently not. On its 1980 release the single peaked at number 15 in the UK charts, only bettered by The Golden Years Live EP a year later. The same song reached number 13 after being reissued in 2016, not long after Lemmy’s death.
We are Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll…..