Thin Lizzy front man, and proud Dubliner, Phil Lynott died on this day (Jan 4) in 1986. Today we celebrate the beloved music icon by remembering his most popular tunes.
Lynott, was burn in West Bromwich, England, to an Irish mother and British Guianese father, but returned to Dublin at the age of four where he was raised by his grandmother in Crumlin.
Following a relatively happy childhood Lynott fronted several bands, most notably Skid Row alongside Gary Moore, before learning the bass guitar and forming Thin Lizzy in 1969. The band had an initial success with "Whiskey in the Jar" and then again in the mid-1970s with hits such "The Boys Are Back in Town", "Jailbreak" and "Waiting for an Alibi".
Towards the end of the 1970s Lynott also embarked upon a solo career, published two books of poetry. After Thin Lizzy disbanded, he assembled and fronted the band Grand Slam, of which he was the leader until it folded in 1985. Before his death on Jan 4 1986 Lynott had a subsequent major UK success with Moore with the song "Out in the Fields", followed by the minor hit "Nineteen".
Despite his success in Ireland and the UK it seems that Lynott was constantly trying to match his success in the United States where “The Boys are Back in Town” had hit the number 12 slot. He never charted higher than number 77, with the 1976 song “Cowboy Song. According to Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham the front man had turned increasingly to alcohol or worse. Gorham said, at the time of his death, “I suppose he thought drugs would help him out of the low spots.”
He died from heart failure and pneumonia having been admitted to Salibury Hospital in Wiltshire, England, on Christmas Day, following “a drink and drug binge” at his home. He was survived by his two daughtered and estranged wife. His memorial service was attended by hundreds of mourners and he was buried in Dublin.
After Lynott’s untimely death Thin Lizzy attempted to continue but ultimately retired in 2012. Several members of the group, including Gorham, now record as Black Star Riders.
Lynott remains a popular figure in the rock world, and in 2005, a statue to his memory was erected in Dublin, just off Grafton Street.
Here are just five of Lynott’s most popular tunes:
Out in the Fields:
The Boys Are Back In Town:
The Sun Goes Down: