Remembering Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott's top 5 tracks | Features - Music Crowns

Remembering Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott’s top 5 tracks

It was on this day in 1986 that 36-year-old Phil Lynott passed away, following a long battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Born in England but raised in Dublin, Ireland by his grandparents, Lynott would go on to become one of Ireland’s most influential musicians, making his name as the bass-playing frontman of Thin Lizzy.

On the anniversary of his death, we took a look at some of the best music the late, great Phil Lynott left behind.

5. ‘Whiskey In The Jar’Thin Lizzy 

Surprisingly, Lynott didn’t think much of Thin Lizzy’s iconic rock rendition of the traditional Irish folk ballad as a single, citing that the track didn’t represent the band. In 1972, ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ became the group’s first massive hit, riding atop the charts for over three months in Ireland.

4. ‘Emerald’Thin Lizzy

Lynott’s fascination with the Emerald Isle’s history takes a front seat here, a track that describes warring clans and ancient battles both lyrically and instrumentally. It’s filled with flitting cymbals, sliding power chords and the harmony of guitarist’s Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson as they bounce off of each other to produce a stunningly symphonic riff. The track, released in 1976 while the troubles were still lingering heavy in Ireland, had a palpable resonance to it. Speaking about its modern relevance, Lynott said: “I was just thinking of a generalisation … It was just to show that violence has been going on for years. You could almost relate it to any period of time.”

3. ‘Yellow Pearl’Phil Lynott

Lynott co-wrote this synth-pop beauty in 1979 with Ultravox’s Midge Ure. The track went on to become the theme song the classic British music chart television programme, Top Of The Pops.

2. ‘Cowboy Song’Thin Lizzy

Half-biographical and half-vivid storytelling, Lynott puts a modern twist on the wild west in ‘Cowboy Song’. Twin guitars return, paired with an irresistible descending riff as Lynott compares the life of a touring musician to the uncaged existence of a cowboy: “I am just a cowboy, lonesome on the trail / Starry night, campfire light, and the coyote call where the howlin’ winds wail”.

1. ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ Thin Lizzy

While the band formed in 1969, it took Thin Lizzy until 1976 to break through to American listeners with their sixth album, Jailbreak. It’s likely that your introduction to Thin Lizzy was with the twin-guitar harmonies, Lynott’s deep vocals and the rousing lyricism about drinking and fighting that features on ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. It remains a classic rock anthem and a monumental part of the band’s enduring legacy.
Madeleine Dunne

While studying multimedia journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University, Madeleine began writing for several publications including Transistor, Vegan Connections, and GigSlutz. In 2018, she became the music editor for Vegan Connections before joining the Music Crowns team as a staff writer and digital assistant. @kohlgrrl

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