My Legends of Pop Music – Part Forty-Two – Thin Lizzy
If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
If there is one thing I like, it is a good opening rift. One of the finest is of course Thin Lizzy and Whiskey in the Jar. The featured track is their 1972 hit which bought them into our world of pop music by making a traditional Irish ballad as their own.
Thin Lizzy are an Irish hard rock band formed in Dublin in 1969. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal.
Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist, lead vocalist and principal songwriter Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott led the group throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums, writing most of the material. The singles “Whiskey in the Jar” (a traditional Irish ballad), “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Waiting for an Alibi” were international hits. After Lynott’s death in 1986, various incarnations of the band emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey. In 2012, Gorham and Downey decided against recording new material as Thin Lizzy so a new band, Black Star Riders, was formed to tour and produce new releases, such as their debut album All Hell Breaks Loose. Thin Lizzy have since reunited for occasional concerts.
Towards the end of 1973, Eric Bell began to feel constricted with the changing style of the group, which left less room for free-form jamming and had people wanting the band to create a follow-up hit to “Whiskey in the Jar”. Matters came to a head during a gig on New Year’s Eve 1973 at Queen’s University Belfast, where he walked off stage halfway through the show and had to be persuaded to finish the set. The next day, he quit the group, and was immediately replaced by ex-Skid Row guitarist Gary Moore to help finish the tour. Moore stayed until April 1974; the band recorded three songs with him in that time, including the version of “Still in Love with You” that was included on the fourth album Nightlife. He left the group after being concerned about his health and struggling to compete with Lynott for control, and formed Colosseum II with Jon Hiseman
Lynott, Thin Lizzy’s de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band’s songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy featured several guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their early members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities during “The Troubles”.
Randolph’s Tango (Bob Harris Session, 1973) – Only released in Ireland, a pleasant little ditty with some excellent guitar work.
The Rocker with Gary Moore March 1974 – Again, only released in Ireland. Distinctive double guitar leads.
Jailbreak (Live 1976)
Cowboy Song live at The Rainbow 1978
Don’t Believe A Word Live BBC Old Grey Whistle Test 1979
Dancing In The Moonlight TOTP 1978
Waiting For An Alibi with live vocal Kenny Everett Show 1979. Good to see and hear Kenny Everett again.
Do Anything You Want To – Top of The Pops 1979
Sarah (TOTP 1979) – I have always liked this, I guess I am just a bit soppy.
Killer on the Loose Live (1981)
My favourite along with the featured track is of course:
The Boys Are Back In Town live Sydney Opera 1978 (w. Gary Moore) – Timeless is this.
Just a reminder that next week is the start of Eurovision, the cringe fest that I for one enjoy:
- Tuesday 10 May, 19:00: Eurovision Song Contest, First Semi-Final
- Thursday 12 May, 19:00: Eurovision Song Contest, Second Semi-Final
- Saturday 14 May, 19:00: Eurovision Song Contest, Grand Final
- – Times shown are UK time.
Singalong, enjoy and be happy!
Links to previous Legend articles:
© Phil the ex test manager 2022