Blast From The Past
Ahh, Thin Lizzy. One of the few bands you can’t fault. A leviathan in the world of rock, an immortal force, Thin Lizzy started out as the brainchild of one Birmingham-born Irishman named Phil Lynott, who wanted to create music for the working classes, by the working classes. An admirable goal. Especially when the competition was so fierce. When the band formed, complete with a name that legend has it was lifted from a Beano cartoon, they straightaway had to put up a fight against the mighty Lez Zeppelin. But The Zep’s brand of rock was, at least at that time, a more juvenile offering, and Thin Lizzy’s sense of down-to-earthness and a “novelty rock” version of the Irish folk tale ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ made the public take notice. Their most productive phase came when, after a string of unimpressive wannabe rock musicians, Brian Robertson and Scott Gorman were recruited. The guitarist slot became a revolving door, but once Eric Bell was replaced by Gary Moore, and the band could start experimenting with those twin guitar harmonies that the band name is now synonymous with, they became stable (at least for a little while) in order to kick off in style.
One of the most impressive things about Thin Lizzy was their resilience. The media in the 70’s hated hard rock and heavy metal, but the band toured relentlessly, with emotive music that really meant something, and so they were always ensured fans. The records came fast, but Lynott found he simply couldn’t reproduce a formula that worked as well as ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. He started to write incredibly ambitious songs and wrapping them in vaguely articulated concept albums. Their huge fan base shrank into a small yet enthusiastic bunch of hard rockers – and they were the ones that mattered while Thin Lizzy was made to look like tired old traditional rock by the rise of punk. With the benefit of hindsight, this fan base is no doubt stronger than ever.
The post-Thin Lizzy years were some of the best for the former members, but this success was short lives for Phil Lynott, the original Rocker, who died in 1986, aged 37. Fortunately, with Gorman and John Sykes still touring under the Thin Lizzy moniker, the legend will never die; and we’ve always got Dan Hawkins’ stage t-shirts to remind us of the name.
No doubt the greatest tribute band in the world, Limehouse Lizzy, are touring the country this summer, blasting their talent far and wide. I cannot stress enough how much you NEED to see this band, Thin Lizzy fan or not. Their talent can only be matched by the real Thin Lizzy at the height of their fame.
For anyone looking to listen to more of Lizzy’s music, and don’t know what record to buy, go with ‘Wild One – The Very Best of Thin Lizzy’. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Then get hold of ‘Cowboy Song’ as an added treat. Do this and you really have got the greatest collection of songs by an incredible band that is as famous for their live shows as their music.