Sean liked Thin Lizzy … in particular, he regarded the guitar riff in ‘Emerald’ as the best rock riff ever. That was his favourite Lizzy song (it’s in his YouTube ‘favourites’); others he liked included classics such as ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’.
I wrote a piece on Lizzy on another blogsite a few years ago … here it is …
Thin Lizzy were arguably the best Irish rock band. They started as a three-piece in the early seventies … Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey from Crumlin in Dublin; Eric Bell, the lead guitarist, from Belfast.
‘Whiskey in the Jar’ is adapted from an old Irish ballad: I think they recorded it as a kind of joke or novelty track.. They expected nothing of it, but it got them on Top of the Pops and on the road to success, and excess. It’s still a great track, in my opinion … one of those happy accidents that manage to capture and preserve some magic from the place and the time and the people present.
The song is about a drunken, thieving, violent, lecherous desperado … Lynott’s natural charm manages to make the character likeable, and Bell’s inspired guitar runs do the rest. The band never did anything like it again. (Metallica do a pretty good version too, incidentally.)
Thin Lizzy went through line-up changes … Bell left and a couple of long-haired American guitar-slingers joined; they became a power-chord stadium-rock machine, but were still great.
Lynott was killed by his lifestyle at the age of 36. He is buried in Dublin, where a statue of him was unveiled in 2005; his mother, Philomena – a lovely, lively woman – tends his grave. There’s a concert in his memory – A Vibe for Phillo – every year, and more Thin Lizzy tribute bands than you could shake a stick at. But the magic is elsewhere.
Phil was a likeable and charsimatic man, as the blogger steddyeddy can confirm … eddy once interviewed him for a pirate radio station; Phil arrived with a crate of Guinness. He was a kind of quintessential Dubliner who fell into the traps that Dublin sets for anyone who’s in any way weak.
The video for Lynott’s single ‘Old Town’ is dated now, but it still has great poignancy for anyone who loved his music, and who loved Dublin in the seventies and eighties. That includes me.