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Thin Lizzy

Despite a huge hit single in the mid-'70s ("The Boys Are Back in Town") and becoming a popular act with hard rock/heavy metal fans, Thin Lizzy are still, in the pantheon of '70s rock bands, underappreciated. Formed in the late '60s by Irish singer/songwriter/bassist Phil Lynott, Lizzy, though not the first band to do so, combined romanticized working-class sentiments with their ferocious, twin-lead guitar attack. As the band's creative force, Lynott was a more insightful and intelligent writer than many of his ilk, preferring slice-of-life working-class dramas of love and hate influenced by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually all of the Irish literary tradition. Also, as a black man, Lynott was an anomaly in the nearly all-white world of hard rock, and as such imbued much of his work with a sense of alienation; he was the outsider, the romantic guy from the other side of the tracks, a self-styled poet of the lovelorn and downtrodden. His sweeping vision and writerly impulses at times gave way to pretentious songs aspiring to clichéd notions of literary significance, but Lynott's limitless charisma made even the most misguided moments worth hearing.

After a few early records that hinted at the band's potential, Lizzy released Fighting in 1975, and the band (Lynott, guitarists Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham, and drummer Brian Downey) had molded itself into a pretty tight recording and performing unit. Lynott's thick, soulful vocals were the perfect vehicle for his tightly written melodic lines. Gorham and Robertson generally played lead lines in harmonic tandem, while Downey (a great drummer who had equal amounts of power and style) drove the engine. Lizzy's big break came with their next album, Jailbreak, and the record's first single, "The Boys Are Back in Town." A paean to the joys of working-class guys letting loose, the song resembled similar odes by Bruce Springsteen, with the exception of the Who-like power chords in the chorus. With the support of radio and every frat boy in America, "Boys" became a huge hit, enough of a hit as to ensure record contracts and media attention for the next decade ("Boys" is now used in beer advertising).

Never the toast of critics (the majority writing in the '70s hated hard rock and heavy metal), Lizzy toured relentlessly, building an unassailable reputation as a terrific live band, despite the lead guitar spot becoming a revolving door (Eric Bell, Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Snowy White, and John Sykes all stood next to Scott Gorham). The records came fast and furious, and despite attempts to repeat the formula that worked like a charm with "Boys," Lynott began writing more ambitious songs and wrapping them up in vaguely articulated concept albums. The large fan base the band had built as a result of "Boys" turned into a smaller, yet still enthusiastic bunch of hard rockers. Adding insult to injury was the rise of punk rock, which Lynott vigorously supported, but made Lizzy look too traditional and too much like tired old rock stars.

By the mid-'80s, resembling the dinosaur that punk rock wanted to annihilate, Thin Lizzy called it a career. Lynott recorded solo records that more explicitly examined issues of class and race, published a now-out-of-print book of poetry, and sadly, became a victim of his longtime abuse of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol, dying in 1986 at age 35. Since the mega-popular alternative rock bands of the mid-'90s appropriated numerous musical messages from their '70s forebears, the work of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy will hopefully continue to be seen for the influential rock & roll it is.

In 1999, Thin Lizzy reunited with a lineup featuring guitarists Scott Gorman and John Sykes, and keyboardist Darren Wharton, which was rounded out by a journeyman rhythm section of bassist Marco Mendoza and drummer Tommy Aldridge. The quintet's ensuing European tour produced the live album One Night Only, which was released in the summer of 2000 to set the stage for a subsequent American concert tour. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

@Michael Angelo indeed their Life:Live double live LP is absolutely stunning. Recorded in 1983 during there farewell tour it featured Lynott, Gorham, Downey,Sykes , Wharton,Robe r t s o n , Bell, White and Moore.
Lynott (Spade)/Down e y (Club)/Gorha m (Heart)/Robe r t s o n (Diamond)
Look for the rare double live album called - live life- absolutely stunning.
cbigb1000
I miss Phil...
The boys are back in town!!!!! Spread the WORD around!!!!!
Spread the word around
If you don't like this song go back to the planet you came from this is a classic to day it was released
i've always loved how they orchestrate the guitars, a lot like Brian May,almost classical
Phil lynott. Very underrated bass player.
Huey Lewis played harmonica on their classic Live and Dangerous album. He was credited as Huey Harp.
Awesome band
Why did thin Lizzy disappear? I love this tune...whisk e y , ha!!!
Thin Lizzy and U2.... the two greatest rock bands to ever come from the Emerald Nation
Thin Lizzy and U2.... the two greatest rock bands to ever come from the Emerald Nation
My Bro at the record store used to turn me on to all the hip new music in the British Import section and in 1974 when I was a junior in high school he played THE ROCKER for me and I was blown away. Been a big fan ever since. They have so many good tunes that get buried. Wild One, Romeo and the Lonely Girl, Cowboy Song, just to name a few.... Irish Pride
as a guitar player I can truly appreciate in Lizzy's dual guitar Punch
milosdad
Forgot about the Warrior. Great song.
Don't believe a word solos are so crisps sweet and clean Robert shadow
My brother lives and plays in Norway he was playing a gig in Poland and someone shouted out don't be so much like Phil Lynott. I am a thin lizzy fan from 1972. They influneces my self and my brother.the double guitar and the royal sounds of Phil were before their time best rock band out of Ireland including U2.
Renegade and black rose are per poetry of Phil Lynott he was a genius and a great front man he is the reason why I embrace playing bass guitar I am black and Irish as well. They should be in the rock and roll hall of fame double guitars and Lynott writing such poetry .
Roll me over and set me free the cowboy life is the life for me. That lizzy at its best Phil was a poet. Love this guy and that he was black make it so cool cause I am black and Irish as we'll
Greatest band that ever lived I got into lizzy back in the late 70s Phil was a genius and a great bassist. I love so many song he influence me to lay bass and write songs. He was a poet and put out two books of poetry. Yes he was black and very proud of his music and words my brother a rocker living in norwY introduce me to thin lizzy cause I keep asking him to
Pardon me , Irish not a scot.
Scotland at its best !! These guys are like Motörhead on crack .
The Black Rose album is totally sick! The guitars on this album are amazing.
These guys influenced just about every rock band to come out in the eighties. Their albums and live shows were fantastic. Unparalleled guitarists and a master poet, songwriter, bass player and showman in Lynott. Oh! And a great drummer.
farcryrush2 , that is a concert in heaven. amazing. so envious
Awesome song.
Great album but it be hard to beat Deep Purple Made in Japan, but that's just me.
Live and Dangerous is the greatest hard rock live album ever... next to Kiss Alive and UFO Strangers in the Night.
farcryrush2
listen to this lineup aragon ballroom 1978 chgo( i was in front row ) the ramones ac/dc and thin lizzy $ 8.50 unreal!
farcryrush2
1981s renegade lp 'the pressure will blow' is still one my favorite songs they ever recorded the way lynott sings on that cut is incredible what do you guys think? he's just a boy that has lost his way
This is still my favorite band PL's lyrics were truth!!
I was flipping thru the TV channels and came upon MTV Rewind of the 80's Concert, so im watching and on comes ???Thin Lizzy?? it was not the same, seemed more like a cover band playing... i mean really? lets make money off this awesome dead guy...
Long live Phil Lynott? Dude...he's (ummmmm) dead
I think the line is Sail Away Rocky and know we're your fans
The best live album ever...only to find out later that there is no such thing as a live album. This record is full of overdubs, but to me, that is what makes this record, Live & Dangerous the best. Maybe UFO Strangers in the Night a close second.
klb19691988
Awesome
Can you find the Ween cover of a Thin Lizzy song? If you do, the appropriate acknowledgem e n t will be given here by myself and others...
milosdad
Love Concrete Blonde's version of It's Only Money.
Love Cowboy Song
milosdad
I love my Molly-O!
Cool jam, but whoever wrote this bio needs to get they head straight...E r i c Bell was never in the band at the same time as Scott Gorham. Also, I'm wondering why Eric's name isn't in the songwriting credits and its credited to Lynott/Gorha m / R o b e r t s o n / D o w n e y instead.
elvis.hester 8 7 2 3
A song that won't die in a million years! The boys are back in town
True f**king musicians !! Hands down ! Love the way those tempos change every time with any song of theirs!!! God bless
The greatest rock export from Ireland. Long Live Phil Lynott!!!!
i am only 16 i love their music
milosdad
Whiskey in a jar's my favorite. As I get older I realize I was never mature enough to appreciate Thin Lizzy as much as I should have. Lucky enough to have seen them several times in thier heyday though.
Who doesn't like Irish music???
gypsyhawk next best thing!
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