Fans of legendary UK band Motörhead are mourning the passing of “classic era” guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, who died on January 10 after being hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 67.

Clarke was the blues-influenced lead guitarist on what are considered by fans to be Motörhead’s greatest run of albums: Motörhead (1977), Bomber (1979), Overkill (also 1979) and Ace Of Spades (1980), as well as the landmark live album, No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith (1981). Motörhead drummer of that era, Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, and ever-present leader Lemmy both died in late 2015.

Born south-west London, Clarke took up the guitar in his mid-teens, inspired by Eric Clapton, John Mayall and other British blues guitar heroes of the 1960s. He began to work his way through a series of bands, the best known of which was Zeus, alongside the US musician Curtis Knight. But he was actually working on renovating houseboats when he was asked to join the fledgling Motörhead (to play alongside early guitarist Larry Wallis) in the mid-’70s. “I didn’t have anything on at the time and Lemmy had a bit of a reputation, so it was a chance for me to be in a band that already had a foothold,” he later recalled. “I took the gig without really considering the music side of it.” Wallis suddenly left anyway, and Clarke was on his own.

The band nevertheless went on a peerless run of releases, cutting their most influential tracks. It was a hectic ride. Although Clarke had been neither a drinker nor a drug user before joining the band, he soon acquired a taste for both. He gave them up after a successful spell in rehab in later life. He’d left Motörhead in 1982, after a row with Lemmy over the band cutting a cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”. Clarke disliked the song, saying: “It sounded awful to me, the whole thing; I thought the song was badly paced, I thought the amount of chords they were putting in was wrong, but Lemmy would not budge, and we had a f***ing row about it.”

After Motörhead, Clarke formed Fastway with UFO bassist Pete Way, and his last release was a return to his real love, the blues, on Make My Day – Back to Blues (2014). Clarke was usually associated with Fender Strats live, but in the studio he often played a favorite Gibson Les Paul, a 1972 Deluxe. The trio of Lemmy, Taylor and Clarke reunited for one last time in in 2014 to play “Ace Of Spades” at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, England.