Lynott was born in Dublin, Ireland on August 20, 1949 the
son of Parris, a black Brazilian and Phyllis, a white Irish
girl. Three weeks after he was born however, his father left
his mother leaving her with the task of bringing up a black
baby in 1950's Catholic Ireland. In the event she came to
live in Manchester where Phil was brought up by his grandmother,
Sarah, in Whalley Range.
later celebrated his mother and grandmother in the songs 'Sarah'
and 'Philomena' in respect to the hard work they had
in his upbringing. It was whilst at Princess Road Junior School,
where he was often picked on for his colour, that he turned
fronted his first band, The Black Eagles, where he recruited
drummer Brian Downey, a friend from school, before joining
Gary Moore's Skid Row for a short period before returning
to Brian Downey with sugar Shack and later Orphanage .
1969, Phil, Brian and guitarist Eric Bell formed Thin Lizzy.
Two years later, their self-titled debut album was released
to little success, selling a mere 2,000 copies. Refusing to
give in, the band released the 'New Day' EP, which
was recorded as a farewell to the band's location in Ireland
as they moved to London.
Lizzy's second album, "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage"
again scored little success in 1972 however did include the
track "Sarah". Phil was focused on having a hit single
and in early 1973 found it with the No.6 single, "Whiskey
In The Jar" which has since become a rock classic.
Unfortunately, the success could not be repeated with the
follow up single, "Randolph's Tango".
1973, Thin Lizzy returned with the classic 'Vagabonds
Of The Western World' album, which although selling
25,000 copies failed to chart, as did the single 'The Rocker'.
in a last ditch attempt to make Thin Lizzy a success to help
pay off his debts, invited guitarist Gary Moore to join the
band as replacement for Eric Bell. The new line-up lasted
for just one flop single, "Little Darlin'" and in 1974
both Gary Moore and Brian Downey quit the band leaving Phil
on his own. He was devastated.
returned and with new guitarists, Thin Lizzy recorded the
1974 album "Nightlife", which included the single "Philomena"
and the epic blues track, 'Still In Love With You", which
was left by Gary Moore.
In promoting "Nightlife"
the band became a better unit and were able to transfer this
new hard rock, melodic sound on to vinyl for the 1975 album
"Fighting", which included the singles "Wild One"
and "Rosalie" which reached UK No. 20 on it's re-release
as a live version in 1978.
and Lizzy were by now finding success easier to come by and
the 1976 classic 'Jailbreak'
album reached UK No.10 spawning their most famous hit, "The
Boys Are Back In Town" (UK no.8) which was also covered
Happy Mondays in 1999. The title track also reached
UK.No.31 in the singles chart. By now the band were international
rock stars and Phil Lynott a global superstar!
now Thin Lizzy had 'broken' America and whilst touring there
Phil became ill suffering from a bout of hepatitis as a result
of living the high life and was forced to fly back to Manchester
and go into hospital. It meant they had to miss out playing
New York, a serious blow. His illness also seemed to affect
their next album "Johnny
the Fox", (UK.No.11) which was heavily criticised
in 1976 but still managed to produce the UK.No.12 hit single,
"Don't Believe A Word".
illness continued to get worse and his doctors instructed
him to give up drugs, sex and alcohol which he refused to
do. He did return to the USA though with Thin Lizzy, on a
1977 tour supporting Queen. On returning to Britain the band
recorded the brilliant No.4 album "Bad Reputation".
which included the No.14 single, "Dancing In The Moonlight".
Lizzy toured extensively and the subsequent "Live And Dangerous"
album was a huge success in Britain (reaching No.2) on its
release in June 1978.
Downey temporarily left the band angered at Phil's decision
to form a punk band called The Greedy Bastards with Jimmy
Bain of The Boomtown Rats and ex-Sex Pistols' Steve Jones
and Paul Cook. They recorded the track "A Merry Jingle", which
later reached Number 28 in 1980.
and Brian had come a long way together however, and it wasn't
long before Brian Downey was back for the first album to be
recorded with Gary Moore: "Black Rose", released in
April 1979, was Thin Lizzy's biggest hit album yet (UK.No.2),
and spawned the smash singles, "Waiting For An Alibi"
(No.9), "Do Anything You Wanna Do" (No.14), and "Sarah"
(No.24). The album was very much a celebration of their Irish
roots, with many jigs and reels but the laid back approach
Phil had to their live gigs forced Gary Moore to walk out
1980, Phil Lynott responded with the release of his first
solo album, "Solo In Soho" which impressively charted
at UK no.28, spawning the hit singles "Dear Miss Lonely
Hearts" (No.32), "King's Call" (No.35) and "Yellow
Pearl", which was also used as the theme tune to Top Of
also scored massive chart success with Thin Lizzy in the same
year, the single "Chinatown" gave the band their only
UK number 1 hit and heralded the UK No.7 album with the same
also spawned the classic hit, "Killer On The Loose"
1981 the "Live Killers" EP charted at UK No.19 and
was quickly followed by the greatest hits collection "The
Adventures Of Thin Lizzy" which assisted by an expensive
TV advertising campaign reached No.6.
However, success in early 1981
was only short-lived, and in an era of New Wave and Punk,
Thin Lizzy's "Renegade" album flopped (No.38), with
its "Trouble Boys" and "Hollywood" singles failing
Lynott's second solo release, "The Philip Lynott Album" with
it's singles "Together" and "Old Town" also flopped in 1982,
failing to chart despite its brilliance.
of fortune for Lizzy saw 1983's "Thunder
And Lightning" album reach Number 4, spawning the
singles "Cold Sweat" (No.27), "Thunder And lightning"
(No.39) and "The Sun Goes Down" however was not enough
to convince the band members that they had a future. As a
result they embarked on their farewell tour which was recorded
and released as the largely overlooked live album, "Life",
(No.29) in November 1983.
collaborated with Gary Moore once again in 1985 and the single
"Out In The Fields" was a huge hit, reaching Number 5 in the
UK but it was all too late. Phil was devastated by the break
up of Thin Lizzy though and took to heavy drug usage. His
1985 solo single "19" flopped and Phil seemed to have
given up all hope.
now Phil was hitting the national headlines with his drink,
drugs and family problems and failed to score success with
Grand Slam, his new band. Eventually his rock'n'roll lifestyle
caught up with him - Tragically, Phil Lynott died of a
drug overdose on January 4th, 1986 and 2004 marks teh
18th anniversary of his death.
1991 Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy were celebrated with the compilation
album "Dedication - The Very Best Of..." which reached
UK No.8 and spawned the hit single, "Dedication" (UK
No.35), an old backing track by Phil re-recorded by the band.
The re-release of "The Boys Are Back In Town"failed
Lynott's tragic death came far too early. Not only did his
early passing deprive Thin Lizzy's massive army of followers
from his remarkable writing and performing skills but he also
failed to witness the success enjoyed by his beloved Manchester
United, a team he followed with a passion (ironically, Sir
Alex Ferguson became United manager in the same year as Phil's
death). His legend will live on however and plans are currently
under way for a £25 million-budget Hollywood film adaptation
of "My Boy", the biography by his mother following his life
from Manchester to superstardom!