Remembering Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott Twenty Five Years On
Band Photo: Thin Lizzy (?)
Rock is responsible for some of the biggest icons and best frontmen in the history of music, there's no doubt about it. Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Bon Scott, they were all rockers and will always be remembered for their commanding performances and outstanding music. Twenty five years ago today, a man easily as great and special as all of the those mentioned previously passed away at the age of thirty six. The man was Phil Lynott, best known as the singing bassist of Thin Lizzy, one of the biggest bands to ever come from the Republic Of Ireland. Lynott was the main composer for the band and was responsible for penning what are arguably some of the best songs in the history of rock music. "The Boys Are Back In Town," "Jailbreak," "Dancing In The Moonlight," look at the credits and you'll see his name by each of these songs. As a frontman, Lynott will always be known as one of the best. One only has to listen to "Live And Dangerous," the classic live album from Thin Lizzy, to hear how he commanded the attention of the audience. He is perhaps the main reason why that album never fails to reach any critics list of best live records.
The influence of Lynott and Thin Lizzy has reached countless bands from Judas Priest to the Happy Mondays to Atreyu, as well as rock fans across the globe, including yours truly. Indeed, I was only five years of age when I became aware of them, owing predominantly to the use of "The Boys Are Back In Town" on a trailer for the movie, Toy Story. I became as interested in that song and who sang it as much as I did the film and later that year was given, "Wild One: The Best Of Thin Lizzy" as a birthday gift. This was made all the more special in that it was my first album and all the more interesting with each passing track. I was blown away by the sonic onslaught of "Cold Sweat" and "Killer On The Loose," while being subdued by the melodies of "Whisky In The Jar" and "Sarah." Ever since I received that CD, with Lynott's face emblazened on the front cover in sepia, I have loved Thin Lizzy and to this day, consider them to be perhaps the greatest pound for pound rock band of all time.
But what made the band so fantastic was that they went beyond great rock music. Lynott was as much of a poet as he was a rocker, his lyrics often being inspired by Gaelic folklore, romance and Celtic mysticism. He even released two poetry books, which mostly consisted of song lyrics, in the seventies. The first being "Songs For While I'm Away" in 1974, with the second, "Phillip," being released in 1977.
It's a true testament to the talent of Lynott that twenty five years after his death, people are still talking about his amazing music, his spellbinding performances and his captivating lyrics. Chances are, there is not a single fan of rock or heavy metal that doesn't know Thin Lizzy, and I have yet to meet one who doesn't like them. It's also impressive to think that, while many bands reunite for new albums and cash in tours, the 1996 (and later 2004) reunions of the band have existed solely to remember the life and legacy of Lynott and pay tribute to their fallen friend. If the continued live performances aren't enough to make one realise how important Lynott is to the people, a life size bronze statue of the man can be found in the Irish capital of Dublin on Harry Street, complete with bass guitar. Tributes like these would seem overwhelming for many people, but in Lynott's case, they seem completely mandatory. No-one had ever been able to weld a romantic soul with the bad ass rocker attitude before him, and certainly no-one has since.
Phillip Parris Lynott
1949 - 1986
Thin Lizzy - Whiskey In The Jar
Thin Lizzy - Emerald
Thin Lizzy - Cowboy Song/ The Boys Are Back In Town
Motorhead featuring Phil Lynott - Motorhead
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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