Front man of Thin Lizzy, songwriter, pioneer of Irish rock music
Phil Lynott was born in Birmingham, on August 20 1949,
to a Brazilian father and Irish mother. His father, Parris,
left when Phil was three weeks old, leaving his mother to
raise a black baby in Catholic Ireland in the fifties. She
eventually moved to Manchester, leaving Phil with his grandmother.
To free himself from his grandmother's control, he started
writing songs and playing in bands in Dublin. His first
band was the Black Eagles, which he left to join Kama Sutra,
and then Skid Row. He formed Thin Lizzy with friends Brian
Downey and Eric Bell in 1969, which quickly became recognised
as one of the top Irish bands.
They were spotted by Decca Records during a gig, and offered
a record deal.
They went to London and recorded their debut album Thin
Lizzy, released in April 1971. In 1973, they had a hit with
Whisky in the Jar, which got to number 6 in the charts.
Other hits followed, despite one of the founder members
quitting the band. Thin Lizzy signed with Vertigo in 1974,
and released "Nightlife." The album was good,
but its hard edge was washed out in the mixing, a problem
attributed to its producer. In 1975, "Fighting"
Afraid of releasing another diluted album, "Fighting"
was produced by Lynott himself. Finally in 1976, "Jailbreak"
was released, and Thin Lizzy had hit their mark. It was
their first record to hit the top twenty in the United States.
"Jailbreak" was said to be an unusual album, mixing
hard rock with a lyrical, romantic twist. "Johnny The
Fox" was released in 1977, and it did well, but touring
became a problem when Lynott contracted hepatitis, and Robertson
injured his hand in a brawl. Eventually, Robertson left,
leaving but a trio for "Bad Reputation" (1977),
produced by Tony Visconti, but he returned for "Live
and Dangerous", their first live effort, and still
considered to be one of the greatest live rock albums in
history. After "Live and Dangerous", Robertson
left again to form Wild Horses, and was replaced by Gary
Moore, who rejoined in time for the recording of "Black
At the time, Thin Lizzy was at a commercial peak. "Black
Rose" topped the United Kingdom charts, and produced
four hit singles. Acrimoniously, Gary Moore departed once
again, and was replaced by Midge Ure, who had previously
played with Ultravox. Ure was then replaced by Snowy White,
a Pink Floyd stage sideman. "Chinatown" (1980)
and "Renegade" (1981) were both released with
the addition of a keyboardist, Darren Wharton. A solo career
was begun in earnest by Lynott during 1980 and 1982. He
released two albums, "Solo in Soho" (1980) and
"The Philip Lynott Album" (1982), but his heart
was with Thin Lizzy. In 1983, "Thunder and Lightning"
was released and included the addition of John Sykes, formerly
of the Tygers of Pan Tang, to replace White. It was a superb
album, one that Lynott felt captured the essence of Thin
Lizzy on its hardest edge. Unfortunately, it was also a
year of endings. Thin Lizzy disbanded, and"Life"
(1983), a double live album was left in the wake.
Rumours abounded that Lynott had not wanted to end the band,
but they never played together again. The former members
of Thin Lizzy went their separate ways, with Lynott and
Downey starting Grand Slam, with Doish Nagle and Lawrence
Archer, but the band failed to sign a record deal, and thus,
eventually disbanded. Philip Lynott and Gary Moore were
reunited once more in 1985, with the recording of "Out
in The Fields", a Moore composition. It was a hard
edged song, with Lynott lending vocals on several other
Just as projects had begun to take off, Philip Lynott lost
his battle with drugs and died of heart failure and pneumonia
on January 4, 1986. Lynott had been admitted to Salisbury's
intensive care unit on Christmas night after being transferred
from a clinic for drink and drug addiction.
:: Phil Lynott - Tribute
:: Homerb's Lizzy Limited
:: Whisky in the Jar
| :: The
Roisin Dubh Trust
:: Twilight's Last Gleaming