Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bad Reputation

One of the things that I've noticed with bands is that after a while an image of them prevails that is often defined by just a couple of songs, some iconic images and a few key words. So the picture that is normally painted of Thin Lizzy is that of a gang of rabble rousers, largely because of The Boys are Back in Town. This is a shame because it overlooks their more soulful moments, such as Dancing in the Moonlight, Sarah and a personal favourite, Old Flame, from Johnny the Fox (and also the B side to probably their best single, Don't Believe a Word).

When musicians die young, it's tempting to imagine what they would have gone on to do had they lived. I reckon Nick Drake and Randy Rhoads would have gone on to greater things. Sid Vicious, probably not. What about Phil Lynott who would have been 65 today had he lived? It's tempting to think that his career was over. After all, his post-Lizzy band Grand Slam did nothing. Yet at the same time, he was in the Top Ten as late as 1985 with Out on the Fields. Would he have reformed Lizzy as a touring act like the Stones, playing the hits in arenas? Or would he have shown that he still had some creative juice, like Robert Plant? It's difficult to say, but that's the problem with speculating about Phil - there was always a bit more to him than you might expect.


  1. For what it's worth, I think he was a spent force. Best to rememebr him this way.

  2. Yeah, to be honest I think you're probably right, largely because of the lack of success of Grand slam, but also because of his health. I remember watching a live Thin Lizzy concert on the TV from 1983 or so. I have never seen a man sweat as much in my life as Phil Lynott did on stage in that concert. It actually was pouring off him.

    Dancing in the Moonlight is a brilliant song, he always did bring a bit of soul to it all. Even when he was being mushy (Sarah) he was charming.