Happy Birthday Philo! Phil Lynott would have been 69 today. The Thin Lizzy frontman sadly passed away on January 4th, 1986, due to septicaemia after a battle with drugs. The Rocker was born in Birmingham in 1949 but moved back to Crumlin, Dublin, to live with his grandparents. Growing up Philo always dreamed of being a rock star.
Bands from Metallica, Foo Fighters to the Cardigans all cite Philo as an integral inspiration. Thin Lizzy formed back in 1969 with “Whiskey in the Jar” being one of their first hits. Further on in their career, bigger commercial successes came with the likes of “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back in Town.”
With so many fine rock songs to choose from, it was no easy task to compile Lizzy’s ten best songs. But we gave it a go!
10. “Dancing In The Moonlight”
Bad Reputation (1977)
“Dancing in the Moonlight’ is not the most rocking of Lizzy’s songs. It is, however, a sublime track that sways with an easy groove. Hard to pigeonhole, this classic easily deserved the UK top twenty hit it earned.
‘Emerald’ is the final track from Thin Lizzy’s awesome ‘Jailbreak’ record. It’s arguably one their heaviest songs. The swirling guitar licks get right under the skin. It’s also an excellent display of Lizzy’s musicianship. The band make a rock jam all over the last half of the song. Guitars head skyward taking you with them
8. “Little Darling”
‘Little Darling’ is a perfect blend of rock and pop, but with added rock! Gary Moore’s guitar works perfectly with the horns that add a rock and roll feel to the whole tune. ‘Little Darling’ / ‘Buffalo Gal’ was released 11 April 1974. In the states, the B-side to the gem was ‘The Rocker’
7. “The Rocker”
Vagabonds Of The Western World (1973)
The Rocker is a no messing, pure and dirty rock and roll song! Also taken from Vagabonds which was the last time original guitarist Eric Bell featured with the band. Easily it’s standout track, The Rocker is a lasting testament to Bell’s guitar skills.
6. “Do Anything You Want To”
Black Rose (1979)
‘Do Anything You Want To Do’ is one of Thin Lizzy’s finest songs. Lifted from the band’s 1979 ‘Black Rose’ album it features mammoth drumming and the infamous Lizzy twin lead guitars. Gary Moore delivers some of his best work with the band. The Black Rose record is proof of the band’s place in the rock pantheon.
5. “Don’t Believe a Word”
Johnny the Fox (1976)
‘Don’t Believe a Word’ is the highlight of the Johnny the Fox album. Even though they had released ‘Jailbreak’ that year, the band found time to follow-up with this record near the end of 1976. Despite a minor reception compared to the success of Jailbreak, ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ remains one of Lizzy’s best albums. ‘Don’t Believe a Word’ is driven by a galloping rocking riff at the heart of the song.
4. “Cowboy Song”
Co-written with longtime drummer Brian Downey, ‘Cowboy Song’ is the wild west done Lizzy style. Yet another excellent example of the band’s iconic twin guitar attack, the song was a concert favourite for many years. Phil Lynott always had a certain skill with riffs and melodies, and here we have both. The superb musicianship pushes the song full steam ahead.
3. “Whiskey in the Jar”
Whiskey in the Jar (1972)
The traditional Irish folk song ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ was given the rock once over by Lizzy to make it one of their hallmark tunes. Dating back to the first part of the 17th century, ‘Whiskey’ has been covered by many groups over the years from folk outfits like the Seekers and Peter, Paul & Mary to Jerry Garcia and Metallica. Thin Lizzy’s version is easily the most famous and was a huge hit here at home where it stayed top of the charts for over three months in 1972.
‘Jailbreak’ is one of the few Lizzy tunes that saw heavy rotation on US radio over the years. The twin guitars of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson mix perfectly while Lynott and drummer Brian Downey’s the rhythm section make this 100% pure unadulterated rock and roll. All of the Jailbreak’ album is a total classic rock record, and this track is a testament to the whole record.
1. ‘The Boys Are Back in Town”
‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ was the stand out track from the ‘Jailbreak’ album. The addictive twin lead guitars riff all through this now world-famous song. Killer hooks mixed with Lynott’s songwriting skills on this song cemented the band’s legacy to this day.
Out In The Fields, Sarah, Wild One, Roisin Dubh, Old Town, Killer on the Loose? Told you it wasn’t easy!
The now landmark statue of Phil Lynnot erected at Harry Street just off Grafton Street has become one of Dublin’s most popular attractions with hundreds of Thin Lizzy fans visiting the statue from around the globe. The bronze rocker celebrated it’s 13th birthday yesterday you can read more about that here.
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