Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Phil Lynott (1949-1986)- 25 years later

Philip Parris Lynott
August 20, 1949- January 4, 1986

Twenty-five years ago today, rock music lost one of it's best. His name was Phil Lynott, bassist and lead singer for the hard rock group Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott was born in the UK to a 17 year old Philomena Lynott. Lynott's father had  already left and abandoned Philomena. His name was Cecil Parris and was known to have been Afro-South American or Brazilian. Therefore, Phil stuck out for the rest of his life as a black person. Lynott formed Thin Lizzy in 1969 with childhood friend and drummer Brian Downey and guitarist Eric Bell. The trio made three albums that barely did anything. The band did, however, have a hit with their cover of the traditional Irish song "Whiskey in the Jar". Bell left in late 1973, which left Lynott and Downey without a guitarist. They hired both guitarists Brian "Robo" Robertson and Scott Gorham. Both Robertson and Gorham were lead guitarists, a sound that would make the band famous. The band hit it big in 1976 with the release of Jailbreak. The album include some of the band's best known songs, including "The Boys Are Back In Town". Thin Lizzy continued to record and tour, with some line-up changes along the way. In 1983, Thin Lizzy embarked on their farewell tour. After Lizzy's split, Lynott formed a new band called Grand Slam. The band lasted for less than a year. In his last year, Lynott increased his drug using. In late 1985, Lynott had tried stopping and was well enough to attend a Christmas part on Christmas day in 1985. Supposedly, Lynott was given a "present" in an envelope of which he opened and used at home. Lynott's mother discovered her son passed out on the floor that night and quickly got her son to a hospital. Philomena was upset to discover holes in her son's skin (including his foot) from years of drug use. On January 4 1986, Lynott passed away from complications of pneumonia, although people believe it came from Lynott's drug use especially heroin. Lynott was just 36 years old.

Lynott's memory, legacy, and music still live on to this day. In the mid 1990's, Thin Lizzy reunited. As of 2011 guitarist Scott Gorham, drummer Brian Downey, and keyboardist Darren Wharton are the only three of the six members in the reunited Thin Lizzy that played with Lynott in the original band. This band will tour throughout Europe for January and February, paying tribute to Lynott and his music. Lynott's legacy also lives in his children. Lynott had two daughters, Sarah and Cathleen, with his wife Caroline Crowther. In July of 2010, it was confirmed by Philomena Lynott that artist Macdaragh Lambe is the biological son Phil had with a girlfriend in 1968.  Lynott's grave is visited by many and in 2005, a bronze statue of him was unveiled in Dublin, Ireland on Harry Street. 

As a songwriter, Lynott was pretty much overlooked by major critics. Lynott's songs with Thin Lizzy and by himself are some of the most underappreciated songs in hard rock and heavy metal. Lynott wrote about partying in songs like "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "The Rocker". He also wrote about life including his own. Examples include songs like "Philomena" (for his mother) and "My Sarah" (for his first child). Lynott also had a fascination in history. Songs like "Massacre" and "Emerald" are great examples. Aside from Lynott's music with Lizzy, he released two solo albums (Solo in Soho and The Philip Lynott Album) and some poetry books. 

Below are two old blog posts from last year...

Deep Bands: Thin Lizzy- A short biography that summarizes Lizzy's entire career.

Phil Lynott's family accept man as rocker's son- Article from July about Phil's son, Macdaragh Lambe.

Rest in peace, Phil. Twenty-five years later, we still miss you. God bless.


  1. He wasn't born in Dublin, he was born in England.