The name “Lemmy” will always live on for fans of hard rock, but now the singer’s moniker could be immortalised far beyond the bounds of music – in chemistry’s periodic table.
Lemmy, the frontman of rock band Motorhead and whose real name was Ian Kilmister, was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer on St Stephen's Day and died just two days later at his home in Los Angeles, shortly after celebrating his 70th birthday.
In perhaps the ultimate tribute, fans have signed a petition calling for one of four newly discovered super-heavy elements, chemical number 118 in the periodic table, to be named “Lemmium”.
The petition, set up by John Wright, a business support manager from York, states: “Heavy rock lost its most iconic figure over Christmas with the sudden and unexpected death of Ian ’Lemmy’ Kilmister.
“Lemmy was a force of nature and the very essence of heavy metal. We believe it is fitting that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) recommend that one of the four new discovered heavy metals in the periodic table is named Lemmium.
“An astrological object (a star) has been named Lemmy to meet the IUPAC naming recommendations.”
The petition has already gained more than 12,000 supporters on the change.org website.
But some Motorhead fans were not so keen on the idea.
One wrote on the petition page: “Let’s not. Lemmy himself said in 2010, ’We were not heavy metal. We were a rock’n’roll band. Still are. Everyone always describes us as heavy metal even when I tell them otherwise. Why won’t people listen?’ Why won’t you listen?”’
Another, Christopher Scurrah, added: “Lemmy always said Motorhead wasn’t heavy metal, he said ’We’re Motorhead and we play rock and roll’. If 118 is a noble gas that’s fine with me.”
The four new elements were discovered by scientists in America, Japan and Russia and were verified on December 30 by the IUPAC, which governs chemical naming, terminology and measurement.