Member on classic albums succumbs to pneumonia while hospitalized
“Fast” Eddie Clarke, the Motorhead guitarist who appeared on many of the band’s classic albums, died at age 67..
“Fast” Eddie Clarke, the Motörhead guitarist featured on many of the band’s classic albums and a founding member of Fastway, died Wednesday. He was 67.
The group confirmed Clarke’s death on Facebook, noting that he was in the hospital for pneumonia.
“We are devastated to pass on the news we only just heard ourselves earlier tonight. Edward Allan Clarke – or as we all know and love him Fast Eddie Clarke – passed away peacefully yesterday,” the group wrote. “Fast Eddie…keep roaring, rockin’ and rollin’ up there as goddamit man, your Motörfamily would expect nothing less!!!”
With Motörhead, Clarke played with loose, rock & roll abandon, as his guitar roared around frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s lead bass; his guitar solos were like Chuck Berry at 78 R.P.M. He took that style in a more metallic direction with Fastway, a more commercial hard-rock band he formed with former UFO bassist Pete Way. Where Motörhead’s grit achieved more success in the UK, Fastway’s slicker image, built on Clarke’s rock & roll riffs, resonated with American headbangers in the mid Eighties.
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Why do I think of the term “mondegreen” when considering Motorhead?
Until recent years, I didn’t know that a mondegreen is a misheard word or phrase in a popular song. After learning that definition, I immediately thought of Sister Christian by ‘80s urban rockers Night Ranger.
Back in my thirties, I always heard them sing: “Yo Motorhead, what’s your price for flight?” Time passed and I eventually thumbed through a songbook of popular hits. Turns out the real lyric was “Your motoring…” Frankly it doesn’t make any more sense than my previous, erroneous interpretation.
I was never into the speed/thrash rock that was Motorhead’s forte. And the widespread grief at the December 2015 death of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister took me by surprise. A month earlier, he’d been predeceased by bandmate Phil Taylor who bore the moniker “Philthy Animal.” With the tamer “Fast” as his nickname, Eddie Clark must have been one of Motorhead’s more conservative members.
Yo Motorhead, may your surviving members take comfort from what will again be an avalanche of condolences from lifetime fans.