Phil Lynott Biography
Thin Lizzy was formed in late 1969 by Philip Lynott, who'd sung with The Black Eagies, Orphanage, and learned bass in Skid Row; drummer Brian Downey, who also played in The Black Eagles, Orphanage (both with Lynott) and Sugar Shack; and guitarist Eric Bell, who had previously played in various groups, including Them, and the showband Dreams.
The group then signed to Decca records, and relied on heavy rock for their stage act. Philip cast himself into Jimi Hendrix at times, and Thin Lizzy sometimes featured Hendrix's songs on stage.
"Thin Lizzy" (1971) and "Shades of a Blue Orphanage" (1972) reflected a folk and blues side of Lynott, who was also a poet of sorts. Several of his books of poetry were published in the seventies.
The break for Thin Lizzy came in the form of a non-LP track single, a rocked-up version of the traditional Irish "Whiskey in The Jar" (1973). It reached number six on the United Kingdom charts.
"Vagabonds of the Western World" (1973) was released, and included "The Rocker", but it also retained some of Lynott's Lyrical gentleness in songs like "Little Girl in Bloom."
In late 1973, Eric Bell left Thin Lizzy for health reasons. He was replaced, briefly, by Gary Moore who toured with Thin Lizzy and recorded a few non-LP tracks, including "Little Darling" and "Sitamoia." Moore left the band, as did his replacements Andy Gee and John Caan.
In 1974, two guitarists were selected to complete the empty gap in Thin Lizzy; Brian Robertson, a Glaswegian, and Scott Gorham, a Californian,
who had formerly played in Fast Buck. Unrelentless practice ensued, and Lynott felt the band was back in shape.
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" was released. Afraid of releasing another diluted album, "Fighting" was produced by Philip Lynott himself.
Finally in 1976, "Jailbreak" was released with John Alcock at the production helm, and Thin Lizzy had hit their mark. It was their first record to hit the top twenty in the United States. Their double lead guitar sound, thought to have been based upon a similar technique used by Wishbone Ash, was in tune. "Jailbreak" was said to be an unusual album, mixing hard rock with a Iyrical, romantic twist.
"Johnny The Fox" was released in 1977, again with producer John Alcock, and it did well, but touring became a problem when Lynott contracted hepatitis, and Robertson injured his hand in a brawl.
Eventually, Robertson left, 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 Rose" (1979). At the time, Thin Lizzy were at a commercial peak. "Black Rose" topped the United Kingdom charts, and produced four hit singles.
Acromoniously, 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 began in earnest by Philip 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. Rumors 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 Moore tracks.
Just as projects had began 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.
With the release of "Dedication" in 1991, one of the best Thin Lizzy compilation albums ever released, Thin Lizzy again rose above the noise. Philip Lynott was certainly not forgotten, with tribute concerts being played around the world since his death.