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Thin Lizzy

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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
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Albums by
Thin Lizzy

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    17 songs

    On Air

    Live 2012 - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

    25 songs

    On Air

    Fighting [Deluxe Edition]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Live at High Voltage Festival 2011

    20 songs

    On Air

    Live at the IndigO2

    18 songs

    On Air

    Live in London 22.01.2011

    15 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation [2011 Bonus Tracks]

    22 songs

    On Air

    Johnny the Fox

    20 songs

    On Air

    Jailbreak

    18 songs

    On Air

    Shades of a Blue Orphanage [Limited Edition]

    14 songs

    On Air

    Thin Lizzy

    12 songs

    On Air

    Vagabonds of the Western World

    10 songs

    On Air

    Johnny the Fox

    10 songs

    On Air

    Fighting

    9 songs

    On Air

    Chinatown

    9 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation

    9 songs

    On Air

    Shades of a Blue Orphanage

    9 songs

    On Air

    Thunder and Lightning

    9 songs

    On Air

    Renegade

    9 songs

    On Air

    Jailbreak

    9 songs

    On Air

    3 Black Rose: A Rock Legend

    36 songs

    On Air

    Vagabonds of the Western World [Limited Edition]

    21 songs

    On Air

    Nightlife [Deluxe Edition]

    5 songs

    On Air

    Rhino Hi-Five: Thin Lizzy

    2 songs

    On Air

    Boys Are Back In Town

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Thin Lizzy

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   The Boys Are Back in Town
  3.   Jailbreak
  4.   Cowboy Song
  5.   Whiskey in the Jar
  6.   Dancing In the Moonlight
  7.   Waiting for an Alibi
  8.   Bad Reputation
  9.   Don't Believe a Word
  10.   Still in Love with You
  11.   Warriors
  12.   Emerald
  13.   Hollywood (Down on Your Luck)
  14.   Angel of Death
  15.   Massacre
  16.   Opium Trail
  17.   Renegade
  18.   Wild One
  19.   Romeo and the Lonely Girl
  20.   Chinatown
  21.   Thunder and Lightning
  22.   Got to Give It Up
  23.   Killer on the Loose
  24.   This Is the One
  25.   Cold Sweat
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Thin Lizzy

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    Monsters of Classic Rock

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    Cheap Trick: DNA

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    Classic Rock Deep Dive

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    Van Halen: DNA

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    Classic Rock BBQ

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    Bruce Springsteen: DNA