Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)

Philip Lynott, the charismatic Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist with the band Thin Lizzy sadly died on 4 January 1986. He was born 20 August 1949.Thin Lizzy were formed in Dublin in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist/vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott assumed the role of frontman and led them throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums. Thin Lizzy are best known for their songs “Whiskey in the Jar”, “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back in Town”, all major international hits still played regularly on hard rock andclassic rock radio stations.

Growing up in Dublin in the 1960s, Lynott fronted several bands as a lead vocalist, most notably Skid Row alongside Gary Moore, before learning the bass guitar and forming Thin Lizzy in 1969. After initial success with Whiskey in the Jar, the band found strong commercial success in the mid-1970s with hits such as “The Boys Are Back in Town”, “Jailbreak” and “Waiting for an Alibi”, and became a popular live attraction due to the combination of Lynott’s vocal and songwriting skills and the use of dual lead guitars. Towards the end of the 1970s, Lynott also embarked upon a solo career and published two books of poetry.

Lynott, Thin Lizzy’s de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band’s songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of hard rock music. Thin Lizzy boasted some of the most critically acclaimed guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities during The Troubles. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal. Rolling Stone magazine describes the band as distinctly hard rock, “far apart from the braying mid-70s metal pack”. Allmusic critic John Dougan has written that “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 byBob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually all of the Irish literary tradition.” Van Morrison, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix were major influences during the early days of the band, and later influences included the pioneering twin lead guitars found in Wishbone Ash and American artists Little Feat andBob Seger.

After Thin Lizzy disbanded, Phil Lynott assembled and fronted the band Grand Slam with Gary Moore and subsequently had major UK success with Moore with the song “Out in the Fields”, followed by a minor hit “Nineteen”, he was the leader before it folded in 1985.  Following his tragic death he remains a popular figure in the rock world, and in 2005, a statue was erected in his memory. in 2012, Gorham and Downey also decided against recording new material as Thin Lizzy so a new band, Black Star Riders, was formed to tour and produce new releases such as the All Hell Breaks Loose album, although Thin Lizzy plan to reunite for occasional concerts.

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