Thin Lizzy bassist and front man Phil Lynott passed away 25 years ago today due to drug and alcohol dependency in Salisbury, England. The hole Lynott, who was 36, left in the rock world has never been filled.
First off, we should just post Lizzy's entire Jailbreak album right here to honor the Irish band's late leader. We can't think of many other albums that we own on every available format and could listen to on repeat, nonstop. Sure there are others, but they are probably embarrassing (cough Metallica's Load cough).
The black Irishman played bass like a lead guitarist, and had a velvety voice that could croon with the best R&B singers coupled with a rock and roll bellow that has birthed imitators ever since the band hit the scene in the early '70s.
The band had a swagger, an ass-shake, that hasn't been duplicated. They sounded compact and tightly-wound, but still could be heavy as hell. We always liked to say that Thin Lizzy sounded like AC/DC fronted by Sam Cooke.
Thin Lizzy recorded a dozen albums together, from Nightlife, the iconic hit-filled Jailbreak, Bad Reputation, the proggy Renegade, and their last, the metallic Thunder & Lightning in 1983. If you put a Thin Lizzy album in the car, you will immediately want to drive 100 miles in one direction just because they sound really good while you are driving.
They influenced artists as diverse as Metallica, The Hold Steady, Mastodon, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Kings of Leon, Iron Maiden and Valient Thorr, whose lyrical content borrows heavily from the group's latter days.
If you need a primer on Thin Lizzy, this list is a good way to start your journey. If you only know "The Boys Are Back In Town" from movie trailers or FM radio, then prepare to meet your new favorite band. If you are already fully ensconced, then enjoy their greatest hits.
"Whiskey In The Jar":
"The Cowboy Song":
"The Boys Are Back In Town":
"Don't Believe A Word":
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"Still In Love With You":