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Thin Lizzy circa 1976 - Brian Downey, Brian Robertson, Phil Lynott, and Scott Gorham.
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Hard rock, Heavy metal
Years active 1974—1984, 1986, 1993, 1994, 1996—2001, 2004—present,
Associated acts Skid Row
Gary Moore
Grand Slam
Website Official website
Members John Sykes
Scott Gorham
Marco Mendoza
Tommy Aldridge
Past members Phil Lynott (deceased)
Brian Downey
Eric Bell
Brian Robertson
Gary Moore
Snowy White
Darren Wharton
Randy Gregg
Michael Lee

Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band who formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. The band was originally led by bassist, songwriter and singer Phil Lynott. They are best known for their 1974 songs "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town" as well as their 1975 song "Bad Reputation", all major international hits still played regularly on hard rock and classic rock radio stations.

Lynott is one of the few black men to achieve significant success in hard rock. As well as being a multiracial band, members were drawn from both sides of the Irish border and from both Catholic and Protestant communities.


With Phil Lynott (1975-1984)Edit

The group was founded in late 1975 in Dublin, Ireland, by Lynott, guitarist Eric Bell, electric organist Eric Wrixon and drummer Brian Downey. Wrixon was gone by early 1970, and tiring of the limited possibilities in Dublin, the group relocated to London in 1971.

Signing a contract with Decca Records, Thin Lizzy's first hit came in 1973, with "Whiskey in the Jar", a version of a traditional Irish song.

However, the group initially had problems matching the success of "Whiskey...", and after a disastrous gig, where a drunken Bell walked offstage, leaving Lynott and Downey alone onstage, Bell left the group by mutual consent. His immediate replacement was Lynott's former Skid Row band mate and guitarist Gary Moore who stayed long enough to record a number of tracks including the single 'Little Darlin' and 'Still In Love With You' (which he co wrote but wasn't credited, although towards the end of his life, after Lizzy's breakup, Lynott was always the first to confirm that 'Still In Love With You' was "Gary's Song") and securing a new record deal with Phonogram Records. After this Lynott and Downey regrouped, recruiting Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson as guitarists to make what was arguably the classic (and most successful commercially) Thin Lizzy lineup.

Fighting (1974) was their first album success, however the following album, Jailbreak, was a smash hit thanks to the singles "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town", their most successful and remembered songs.

Robertson quit the group in 1978, and was replaced by Gary Moore, then a succession of guitarists (including Midge Ure at one stage), though the group was sometimes reduced to the core trio of Lynott, Gorham and Downey.
File:Thin lizzy 08081977 04 800.jpg

During the late 1970s and early 80s, Thin Lizzy played to a rabid fanbase but was unable to break into mainstream markets. Unlike most established rock musicians, Lynott was a vocal supporter of early punk rock; this endeared him to some punk musicians and fans, but many more punks rejected Thin Lizzy as a useless relic.

Their live shows at this time were no-nonsense, no special effects affairs relying purely on the music and Lynott's rapport with the fans. Encores would feature Lynott seemingly ignoring repeated requests from the crowd for "The Rocker". Eventually, he would say "This is what I want to play... a song called The Rocker" and the band would launch into the crowd favourite. Their critically acclaimed live album Live and Dangerous has been called one of the best examples in the genre of concert recordings, having been voted the best live rock album of all time by readers of Classic Rock (magazine), as reported by the BBC.

One notable highlight for the band in their latter days was headlining the first ever Slane Castle concert in 1981 - and like all Irish dates, the final encore was a crowd pleasing "Whiskey In the Jar". The supporting lineup that day included Kirsty McColl, Hazel O'Connor and U2.

After a farewell tour in 1984, Lynott dissolved Thin Lizzy and focused on his solo career. Lynott continued his solo career, which he had begun while still with the group with the album Solo in Soho, yielding hits in "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts", "King's Call" (featuring Mark Knopfler on guitar), and "Yellow Pearl" (used in the early 80s as the theme tune for the BBC programme Top of the Pops). He also recorded a rock'n'roll medley single in 1983, "We Are The Boys (Who Make All The Noise)" with Roy Wood, Chas Hodges and John Coghlan.

Breakup and various reunion projects (1985-1996)Edit

In 1985, Gary Moore and Phil Lynott rekindled their friendship and working relationship. Shortly afterwards they released a single together called "Out in the Fields". With Brian Downey present on drums (he had become a frequent drummer on Moore's solo albums), this single put the early 1974 lineup of Thin Lizzy back together. However, the single was released as "Gary Moore and Phil Lynott", not Thin Lizzy.

Lynott died in January 1986, a victim of drug abuse. In the Summer of that year, the band reformed for Self Aid. Bob Geldof and Gary Moore both handled most lead vocals, though all of the band did for Whisky in the Jar. This lineup featured Bob Daisley on bass in Lynott's absence, but otherwise featured Thin Lizzy's last lineup - Gorham, Downey and Wharton.

After this, the band members did not work together until the recording of the single "Dedication" in 1991, when a rough demo of Lynott's was worked into a finished song to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death. Modern recording techniques were used to replace the guitar and drum tracks with new work by Brian Downey and Scott Gorham. The song also featured on a greatest hits compilation album, Dedication: The Very Best of Thin Lizzy. This is the only post-Lynott studio track to have been published by the band - several previously unheard live tracks have been published though.

Following this, numerous small reunion projects began to appear. In 1993, a lineup featuring Robertson and Downey performed with Bobby Tench on lead vocals, Doish Nagle on guitar and Dough Brookie on bass. They toured Ireland briefly as "An Evening With The Thin Lizzy Band". Another version of Thin Lizzy touring as "A Tribute to Phil Lynott" formed shortly after, in 1994, retaining Downey but also containing Sykes (now also performing lead vocals), Gorham, Wharton and with bass parts played by Marco Mendoza.

Another compilation album called Wild One: The Very Best Of Thin Lizzy was released in 1996. It was supposed to include a new version of the title track, based on master tapes mixing original Lynott performances with new music. However the master tapes disappeared (presumed stolen), and the project was cancelled. The album appeared as a 2 CD set in Japan, with lots of rare/unreleased live recordings and B-sides. Because of this last minute ditching of the new version of "Wild One", the song did not appear on the album at all despite being in the name and having lyrics from it quoted on the back of the album cover.

Reformation (1996-present)Edit

In 1996 latter-day guitarist of Thin Lizzy, John Sykes decided to try and re-assemble Thin Lizzy, presenting the band as a tribute to Phil Lynott's life and work. He decided to take on the role of lead vocals himself in the absence of Lynott, and persuaded Brian Downey and Scott Gorham to return to the fold. To complete the lineup, Marco Mendoza (who played with Sykes in Blue Murder from 1991-1993) filled Lynott's shoes playing bass. Darren Wharton, who had been the band's only official keyboardist, also joined. Lizzy itself had only had a keyboardist as an official member from 1980-1984, but it added to the new Thin Lizzy's credibility nontheless.


In 1997, Tommy Aldridge filled in on drums when Brian Downey was unable to. He became a full fledged member when Downey left shortly, feeling the group was "too disorganised". This lineup remained stable through to 2000, when the group recorded a live album, One Night Only. The band went on hiatus from 2000 until 2004, with Sykes releasing two solo albums in the gap in between (he would release one more in 2005).

Once again in 2004, Thin Lizzy returned. This time, Sykes and Gorham brought in Randy Gregg on bass (formerly of Angel) and Michael Lee on drums (Robert Plant, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cult). This lineup proved temporary however, with Mendoza returning in 2005, and Aldridge returning in 2007. There are however, no plans for a new album though the band continues to tour.

Origin of the band nameEdit

There are at least three versions of the origin of the name Thin Lizzy. Since there do not appear to be any recorded interviews with members of the band confirming any of them, they must remain as speculation.

The most popular version describes how the band's lead guitarist Eric Bell, who was a fan of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, bought a copy of Dandy comic[1] after seeing Eric Clapton depicted reading a copy of its sister publication The Beano on the cover of the 1966 album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. Bell suggested Tin Lizzie, the name of a robot character from the comic, which became Thin Lizzy (a sly nod to the Dublin accent in which "Thin" is pronounced "Tin").

A second version is that the band name was taken from the nickname for the Model T Ford.

A third version is suggested by Jim Fitzpatrick, who was a friend of Phil Lynott and who produced artwork for the band. On his web site, Fitzpatrick suggests that Phil Lynott was inspired to name the band after a girl he met, whose name was Liz Igoe, and that he added the Thin because it "scanned better".[2]

== One Night in Dublin: A Tribute to Phil Lynott


In 2005, Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy guitarist 1974, 1978-1979) and his band (Jonathan Noyce from Jethro Tull and fellow former-Lizzy member Brian Downey) performed a tribute concert to Phil Lynott in Dublin called "The Boy is Back in Town". It featured a guest performance by Scott Gorham, and others from former Thin Lizzy guitarists Brian Robertson and Eric Bell.[3].


Present Lineup (2007-present)Edit

* Lead Vocals: John Sykes (1994, 1996-present)

All of this lineup played together from 1997-2001, but with the addition of a keyboard player.

Classic lineup (1974-1978)Edit

* Phil Lynott - lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar (1969-1984)

=== Former members


Original Lynott-era members of the band (1969-1984)Edit

* Phil Lynott - lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar (1969-1984)

Post-Lynott reunion band members (1986, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996-2001, 2004-present)Edit

* Bob Geldof - lead vocals (1986)

==== Temporary touring members


* Andy Gee - guitars (1974)


Studio albumsEdit

* Thin Lizzy (1971)

Live albumsEdit

* Live and Dangerous (1978)

=== Live videography


* Live and Dangerous (TBA 2007)


* The Beginning, Vol 12 (Decca, 1974 - Germany)

As Funky JunctionEdit

* Tribute To Deep Purple (Stereo Gold Award, January 1973)

  • In 1972, Bell, Lynott and Downey took part in a recording session for Decca Records for the Tribute to Deep Purple album. Vocals and keyboards were handled by Benny White and Dave Lennox respectively, both from the Dublin band Elmer Fudd. Thin Lizzy were struggling financially at the time and this project was designed to bring in some money. The makeshift group was given the name Funky Junction and a photo of an entirely different band was put on the cover of the album.

Track listing is as follows:

1. "Fireball"

2. "Dan"

3. "Palamatoon"

4. "Corina"

5. "Black Night"

6. "Speed King"

7. "Strange Kind of Woman"

8. "Rising Sun"

9. "Hush"

At the foot of the back sleeve is written: 'Funky Junction - The Sound of Today'

The vinyl version of the album is quite rare.

Thin Lizzy singlesEdit

Their chart peak positions are shown for the following singles in the following territories. Blank spaces indicate either that the single was not released in that territory, or that there is no information available regarding its chart position. Many of these singles were released in other countries, but chart information is not yet available.

Key to chart headings: UK (United Kingdom), US (United States), IRL (Ireland), GER (Germany).

"The Farmer" (1970) -
"Whiskey in the Jar" (1972-73) 6 1 7
"Randolph's Tango" (1973) - 14
"The Rocker" (1973) - 11
"Little Darling" (1974) -
"Philomena" (1974) -
"Rosalie" (1975) -
"The Boys Are Back in Town" (1976) 8 12 1
"Jailbreak" (1976) 31
"Cowboy Song" (1976) 77
"Rocky" (1976) -
"Don't Believe A Word" (1976) 12 2
"Dancin' In The Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)" (1977) 14 4
"Rosalie / Cowgirls' Song" (1978) 20 14
"Waiting For An Alibi" (1979) 9 6
"Do Anything You Want To" (1979) 14 81 25
"Sarah" (1979) 24 26 5
"Chinatown" (1980) 21 12
"Killer On The Loose" (1980) 10 5
"Hey You" (1980) -
"Killers Live E.P." (1981) 19 11
"Trouble Boys" (1981) 53 30
"Hollywood" (1982) 53
"Cold Sweat" (1983) 27 23
"Thunder And Lightning" (1983) 39 22
"The Sun Goes Down" (1983) 52
"Dedication" (1991) 35 2


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Blog Critics - 3 October 2007

External linksEdit


* The Roisín Dubh Trust

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