Phil Lynott

Along with Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott was one of the first to merge poetry with rock music. Philip Parris Lynott was born in 1949 (his father was Brazilian and his mother Irish), and was raised mostly by his grandmother, Sarah. After discovering rock n' roll as a teen, Phil began singing in his first band, the Black Eagles. It was around this time that Lynott met future Thin Lizzy drummer, Brian Downey. As the 60's wore on, such landmark artists as Van Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, which would help shape the sound of this next band, influenced Phil. Thin Lizzy was officially formed in the early-70's, and through a succession of guitarists, eventually became one of the world's top hard rock bands by the middle of the decade, especially on the strength of the hit anthem "The Boys are Back in Town" and a string of classic albums (Jailbreak, Bad Reputation, Live & Dangerous, Black Rose). In addition to the band's instantly recognizable (and infinitely copied) twin guitar attack - supplied by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson - it was Lynott's storytelling lyric-writing that most focused on. While Lizzy was often lumped into the 'heavy metal' category, the band covered a lot of ground musically, while Lynott embraced the fledgling punk scene - forming a side project with ex-members of the Sex Pistols (the Greedy Bastards), becoming good friends with Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof, and guesting on Johnny Thunders' 1978 album, So Alone. Lynott also published several books of his poetry during the 70's and 80's, and released a pair of solo albums 1980's Solo in Soho and 82's the Phil Lynott Album. But like many rockers of the 70's, Lynott and most of his bandmates succumbed to the party hearty lifestyle of rock n' roll - indulging in hard drugs and alcohol. Not only did it affect the quality of the band's work by the early-80's (contributing to the band's break-up by 1983), it turned out to be detrimental to Phil Lynott's health. After Lizzy's break-up, Lynott attempted to form another band, Grand Slam, which ultimately failed. But a successful collaboration with old friend Gary Moore, "Out in the Fields," showed Phil still had what it took, but it wasn't enough for Phil to put his life back on track. Lynott died on January 4, 1986 - his body giving out from all the years of abuse and hard living. But Lynott's songwriting and spirit live on - Thin Lizzy's name continues to be named by band's as a major influence, namely Metallica, Def Leppard, Henry Rollins, and Smashing Pumpkins, as Phil's stature in the rock world reached legendary proportions immediately after his death.
Greg Prato, Rovi