PHIL LYNOTT, FOUNDER OF THIN LIZZY, died on this day, January 4, 1986. Born in England but raised in Ireland he was the lead singer, bassist and principal songwriter of the band. “Gone too soon” is an understatement – this immense talent was only 36 when he died, thanks to heroin and alcohol abuse.
Thin Lizzy remains one of the most influential bands yet under-appreciated bands; most rock fans don’t know just how influential they were. If you hear a melodic, twin-guitar solo in a hard rock song, odds are good that band loves Thin Lizzy (see: Metallica, Judas Priest for starters).
Most folks know Thin Lizzy for their biggest US hit single, “Boys Are Back In Town” but they had so many other great songs. Two of their best are “Whiskey In The Jar” (covered by Metallica years later) and “Cowboy Song,” the latter being my favorite Lizzy song.
Lynott had a swaggering on-stage presence – the guy had that star quality – and Lizzy was a great live band. Check it out:
My other favorite Thin Lizzy song is “Dedication” – finished and released after Lynott’s death, on the 1991 greatest hits album, Dedication. I LOVE the lyrics and Lynott’s vocals here – this song never fails to lift me up.