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File:ThinLizzy Lineup 3.jpg


He's just a boy, that has lost his way

He's a rebel that has fallen down

He's a fool, been blown away

To you and me, he's a renegade
—"Renegade", from the 1981 album of the same name.

Thin Lizzy are a (mostly) Irish rock/metal band originating in 1969, Led by co-founder, bass player/singer and main songwriter Phil Lynott.

The core members were Lynott and Drummer Brian Downey, with guitar spots filled by a long list of ever changing names, the longest serving of which is californian guitarist Scott Gorham, who moved to the UK to fill a guitar spot in Supertramp, but was unsuccessful.

When he joined the band in 1974, the original guitarist Eric Bell had been and gone, recording the hit single "Whiskey in the Jar", Thin Lizzy's first major success. Joining Scott in the other guitar role was Glaswiegan Brian Robertson, a hot-headed Scottish guitar prodigy, and between them they developed the ground-breaking distinctive twin lead guitar attack which characterizes Thin Lizzy's sound.

They finally found international recognition with 1976's Jailbreak, and Thin Lizzy's other hit, "The Boys Are Back In Town". The band led a career that lasted until 1983, when the band split, and all hopes of recording more original material were tragically crushed forever when Phil Lynott died in 1986, aged just 36.

Thin Lizzy was a unique combination of hard rocking songs about fighting & cool characters, epic guitar parts & harmonies, and sensitive, thoughtful and wide-ranging songwriting. Thin Lizzy are unfortunately still under-appreciated and lesser known compared to their world-famous '70's and '80's contemporaries (they're still mainly only known for two songs, "Whiskey In The Jar" and "The Boys Are Back In Town"), but in their heyday they developed a reputation for being one of the best live bands in the world and once played to a gigantic crowd on the steps of the Sydney Opera House- Their Live Album "Live And Dangerous" is widely regarded as one of the best live albums ever recorded.

Albums:

  • Lineup 1 (Phil Lynott on bass & vocals, Brian Downey on drums. With Eric Bell on guitars)

Thin Lizzy (1971), Shades of a Blue Orphanage (1972), Vagabonds of the Western World (1973)

  • Lineup 2 (with Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham on guitars)

Nightlife (1974), Fighting (1975), Jailbreak (1976), Johnny the Fox (1976), Bad Reputation (1977), Live and Dangerous [live album] (1978)

  • Lineup 3 (with Gary Moore & Scott Gorham on guitars)

Black Rose: A Rock Legend (1978)

  • Lineup 4 (with 'Snowy White' & Scott Gorham on guitars & Darren Wharton on keyboards)

Chinatown (1980), Renegade (1981)

  • Lineup 5 (with John Sykes & Scott Gorham on guitars and Darren Wharton on keyboards)

Thunder and Lightning (1983)


Thin Lizzy Provide Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: "Frankie Carroll" is about an alcoholic man who beats his kids.
  • Air Guitar: Thin Lizzy are just too damn riffilicious, and those guitar harmonies and the guitar "duels" are top-notch.
  • Album Filler: A lot of Thin Lizzy's ballads can come off as this, as the juxtaposition can be jarring. Also, there is a 1972 song called "I Don't Want to Forget How to Jive", which never should have been recorded.
    • Nightlife is considered to have quite a lot of filler, especially the second side.
  • Album Title Drop: There is a title track (or a track whose name includes the album title) on most Thin Lizzy albums.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted: Downey was "the quiet one".
  • Anti-Christmas Song: Phil Lynott got together with some ex-Sex Pistols and recorded a medly of Christmas tunes in a hard rocking style that comes off very ironic. Oh, and they were called "The Greedy Bastards".
  • Audience Participation Song: The band were well known for this, and some songs were massively extended in concert for those call-and-response games. Other songs were written specifially for gigs and never recorded.
  • Autobots Rock Out: "Emerald": the show piece is a "battle" between the lead guitarists.
  • Author Existence Failure, The Band Minus the Face: After Lynotts death, the chances of Thin Lizzy becoming any more than "the official tribute" are offically zero.
  • Black Sheep Hit: "Whiskey In The Jar" was originally recorded as an Irish in-joke and as a B-side to one of their singles. When the management got hold of it, they flipped it to the A-side and it became a massive hit, much to the band's chagrin.
  • Breakup Breakout: Done dozens of times over their history, and now Lynott's gone nobody known for sure who's going to be in the band for the next gig.
  • Break Up Song: "Still In Love With You", "Borderline", "Didn't I", etc.
  • Call-and-Response Song: Thin Lizzy did this with many a Audience Participation Song.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: In order to record their first single "The Farmer", the band were required to record the song "I Need You", written by the owner of the studio. The band reluctantly did so, but never considered it part of their canon. As a result, the song has never been reissued since its original 7" vinyl single release (though it has been bootlegged on CD). As a result the original single is very valuable.
  • Common Meter, Common Time: with only a few exceptions.
  • Concept Album: "Jailbreak" and "Jonny the Fox" were born of failed attempts at this.
  • Cover Version: Thin Lizzy covered Bob Seger's song "Rosalie" on the "Fighting" album.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Thin Lizzy's version of the popular Irish folk drinking song, "Whiskey in the Jar"
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The name was lifted from the Dandy comic's character "Tin Lizzie", with an alteration of spelling (Dubliners pronounce "th" as "t").
  • Greatest Hits Album: Hardly a year goes by when a new one of these doesn't get released. Sometimes if you're lucky, you'll get one with rare b-sides or unused tracks (such as the "Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels boxset).
  • Hard Rock
  • Heavy Meta: The song "The Rocker", which is supposed to be a satirisation of the stereotypical "rocker" image that was around in the early seventies (as in Mods & Rockers).
  • I Am the Band: Pretty much any band that Lynott was in became Thin Lizzy, with the exceptions of when he toured in release of one of his solo records.
    • Subverted in that the current lineup of Thin Lizzy doesn't contain Lynott at all (due, obviously, to his death).
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The original "Sarah", "Frankie Carroll".
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On which they move about quite wildly.
  • Money Song: "It's Only Money".
  • Morality Ballad: Averted. For example, the song "Suicide" is about a murder that goes reported as a suicide due to lazy and incompetent police work. Case number 81 remains unsolved, presumably forever.
    • "Frankie Carroll" tells what effect alcohol can have on a man with little morals.
  • Murder Ballad: A lot of Thin Lizzy songs are about death. "Killer on the Loose", "Warrior", "Emerald", "Angel of Death", etc.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: "Cowboy Song". A country-rock anthem, by a Brazilian-born Irishman, about Texas and Mexico.
  • New Sound Album: Except during their stable mid-to late seventies period, they varied quite a bit.
  • No Export for You: Every American tour they attempted was plagued by problems and usually cancelled, possibly contributing to their lack of worldwide success and probably the reason they are little known across the Atlantic.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: The rather dubious "S&M" from the "Black Rose" album.
  • One-Hit Wonder: Annoyingly they are best known only for their two biggest hits, "The Boys Are Back In Town", and "Whiskey In The Jar" (which was later covered by Metallica).
    • They have many hits in the UK which still get airplay. In the UK, Metallica's version of "Whisky" is nowhere near as popular as the Lizzy version, due to Lizzy being able to be played on 'oldies' stations and Metallica being relegated to specialist metal stations.
  • One-Woman Song: "Rosalie" (a Bob Seger song), "Sarah" (Lynott's grandmother) and "Sarah" (Lynott's daughter).
  • Rockstar Song: apart from the satirical "The Rocker", there is also "Rocky".
    • "The Boys Are Back In Town" definitely describes the rock star lifestyle.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their debut.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Not also what some of their songs are about, but also the eventually deadly lifestyle of Lynott himself.
  • Signature Song: Again, "Whiskey In The Jar" and "The Boys Are Back In Town". Other fan favourites and lesser hits are "Jailbreak", "Waiting For An Alibi", "Don't Believe a Word" and "Dancing In the Moonlight", plus many others.
  • Something Blues: "Slow Blues" and "Sugar Blues"
  • Song of Song Titles: The sub-titles of the mini-epic "Rosin Dubh: Black Rose (A Rock Legend)" reference the original Irish/Scottish/English folk melodies the track contains.
  • Spoken Word in Music: A couple; the intro to "Fool's Gold" and "The Friendly Ranger at Clondarf Castle".
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: averted hard- Lynott was a master at rhyming lyrics.
  • Subdued Section: More common in the bands' earlier period.
  • Supergroup: Technically whilst Gary Moore was in the band in 1979, as he had already cemented himself as a solo act by this point.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: Get Out Of Here has exactly the same chord progression and upbeat sound as The Boys Are Back In Town. Luckily it's an excellent song in its own right.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Lynott's writing style was often based around this, but the producion and arrangement would usually transform them into something more elabourate.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "The Boys Are Back In Town", "Rosalie", and "Get Out Of Here".
  • Triumphant Reprise: The end of "Roisin Dubh: Black Rose (A Rock Legend)".
  • Wasted Song: The majority of Thin Lizzy's material just doesn't get the widespread exposure it deserves. Also, two parts of "Dancing in the Moonlight" were mercilessly spliced together for a cider advert.
    • Sha La La is usually considered to have been wasted as a Nightlife album track. Had the band released it as a single it might have been a hit. Luckily a live version would appear on Live And Dangerous, a live album which is considered one of the best ever.
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