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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

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nicko252008
THin Lizzy on e of the best rock and roll sets of all time!!
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Emerald.... freakin' awesome guitar work!
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Wild One is one of their greatest songs.
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"The music sailed out into the night then upward towards the skies, traveling on that thin border between reality and imagination" .
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Just watched that Behind The Music episode after not seeing it for over 10 years. Brilliant. All hail the Kings Call.
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Listening to massacre by thin Lizzy. Listen to the awesome guitar work seamlessly blended with the tight drums .
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Thin Lizzy still has a fresh sound after all these years!
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milosdad
I think one of the reasons Thin Lizzy still connects with people today is because of the depth of their lyrics. Their songs are as close to true poetry as there is in rock. One of the few bands that hit an emotional nerve with me. Even the upbeat tunes have a hint of sadness to them. A thinking man's band for sure.
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"Happy Saint Patrick's Day"♧
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THIN LIZZY ........Stil l kicks Asssssss!!!!
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Still in love with you...... so good.....
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Little Thin Lizzy never hurt anyone
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Ditto.
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Agreed Rich. They say geniuses think alike .
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Hey Brett this Boy Is Back In Town and my take on Thin Lizzy is summed up in sheer brilliance across the board!
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Suicide has got to be one of the most rockin' guitar riffs around! love to play this one!
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scottdutcher
Thin Lizzy is one of the greatest rock bands ever!
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Come on Rich haven't heard from you in a while what's your take on Lizzie?
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Johnny The fox.just listen to the fine guitar work on this tune
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Thin Lizzy's jailbreak. So badass!!!
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The boys are back in town...so you may want to lock up the girls!
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thin lizzy rocks to bad phil lynott left us to early you are truly missed but the gods of rock n roll will reunite us one of these days.
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I truly loved the jail break album....but in my opinion one of the better tunes on that disc was The Cowboy Song
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To all faithful Thin Lizzy fans check out the Black Star Riders a band put together by Scott Gorham. They released a killer album in 2013 called All Hell Breaks Loose and have a new one scheduled for February 2015 called The Killer Instinct. Great vocals by Ricky Warick ex. The Almighty.
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There aren't many live albums that I can honestly say every single song is a gem!
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I really did shed a few when Phil passed.
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Jailbreak. The badass of badass songs!!!
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Whiskey in the jar love Metallica's rendition but this one is the true classic
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Def Leppard does a great rendition of Lizzys Don't Believe A Word on their Yeah! covers album.
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RIP Phil.....
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wilfc422
One of the most underrated bands in rock history.
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The original Thin Lizzy group of players will always be my favorites. But I have to admit when Gary Moore join the band for just a brief period, he immediately gained my respect as a as a unique and amazing guitar player. After he left lizzy I bought all of his solo albums and fell in love with the blues. Rest in peace Mr Moore you are truly missed by this fan
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Hats off to you cf1nsx! I seem to get a good variety from all their albums albiet I have to listen for hours to get that selection. Lizzy along with UFO and the original Riot are just so underrated and underappreci a t e d . Rock on brother!
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Well Messrs Wurzbach & Badger,I guess I make it the Hat trick-Seen Lizzy 4 times- All Brilliant- So maybe you guys can tell me why Pandora only plays stuff from Johnny the Fox? -How about anything from Black Rose? Or Jailbreak? -For f**ks sake-Cowboy Song maybe? These lads influenced Everything that was good in the 80s -Leppard,Mai d e n , P r i e s t etc - Just can't understand why all the Great ones seem to have a death wish-Lynott, B o n , S . C l a r k , M . S c h e n k e r -Stay w/us Misha -& R.I.P.Mr Moore -I know that I
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♤Lynott
♧Downey
♡Gorham
♢Robertson
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This song emerald still gives me chills to this day everytime I hear it. Long live Iizzy!
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I hope to God for your sake you mean the facility and not the album or song of the same name.
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jail sucks
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Roisin Dubh the song (Black Rose) features melodies of traditional songs -Shenandoah/ W i l l You Go Lassie Go/ Danny Boy/The Masons Apron.
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Outstanding songs never get old
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Indeed we are Brett!
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Couldn't have said it better rich pretty sure you and me are the biggest Lizzy fans on Pandora
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Listening to Black Rose A Rock Legend in its entirety. One of their greatest. Thank you Mr. Lynott and Mr. Moore rest in peace.I have no words to describe your brilliance. All I have to do is listen and my emotions speak for me.
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When I found out Phil had passed I listened to his records all day and got drunk all over again. Still have sessions listening to Thin Lizzy and saw Gorham and Downy play in Oz last year fan forever
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The second greatest song of the 70's. Do It Again being the greatest.
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Great to see all the Thin Lizzy fans still are out there. This was our rock and roll we can never forget it.
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farcryrush2
check this out i seen lizzy with the ramones and ac/dc in 1978 at the aragon ballroom in my hometown of chicago 8bucks! unreal
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milosdad
I remember when I found out Phil had died. I was in college and had moved to punk by then. I was cleaning out a friend's dorm room for Christmas break when I grabbed his Rolling Stone mag. On it was a list of rockers who had died that year. I was devastated. It was then that I realized how personal music was to me. I was lucky enough to have seen Thin Lizzy several times but after that day I made it a point to try and appreciate these artists while they are here on this earth.
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@BrettBadger I could only imagine their brilliance in the flesh! I've seen about 90% of the band's I comment about and Thin Lizzy and UFO are two of the acts I wish I could go back in time to witness first hand.
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Was lucky enough to see them in 79.They played in smaller venues so got to see them up close.They were awsome as you expect.
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