Thin Lizzy were not a heavy metal band, so please don't tune out if you hate heavy metal. They were simply a rock band; a dynamic rock band with a unique singular sound instantly recognizable the way Led Zeppelin or Queen were dynamic and unique and instantly recognizable. They were virtuosos. They were never some sludgy, sinister, smash-mouth band like Black Sabbath (not that there's anything wrong, of course, with being a sludgy, sinister, smash-mouth band like Black Sabbath!).
|Thin Lizzy's fourth studio record, 1974s Nightlife|
Thin Lizzy were huge in their homeland Ireland, as well as the UK and most of the countries on the Continent, but they never quite made it huge humongous huge in the States. And not making it huge humongous huge in the States, in the 1970s, meant the record company's inevitable withdrawal of sponsorship and promotional support. The band was so close -- they were like this close, right on the cusp -- of breaking big time (humongous huge) in the States in 1976, just a couple months after their Jailbreak record came out and became their first there to crack Billboard's Top 40 album chart on the strength, mostly, of their first (and what would become) only U.S. hit single, "The Boys are Back in Town." But on the eve of a U.S. tour to support Jailbreak -- their only record, also, to reach gold/platinum status across the pond -- Phil Lynott became gravely ill and the tour had to be scrapped; the tour that would've made them Stars in the States, sadly, never materialized. Unable to strike while the iron was hot, Thin Lizzy's iron in the U.S.A. never glowed so molten orange again like it did during those brief glorious months in 1976. Had they toured the U.S. in support of Jailbreak, they may have inspired a similar long lasting popularity here as Rush eventually did when they toured in support of their 1976 breakthrough record, 2112; instead, Thin Lizzy's career trajectory -- speaking commercially, certainly not creatively -- had hit its peak and thereafter began a slow decline not at all dissimilar to their contemporaries, U.F.Os., sales slide -- bands, both, that should've broke huge, stayed huge (humongous huge) for years and years and lasted, but unfortunately didn't. Though at least their phenomenal musical legacy will remain forever. No doubt I'll still be rocking out to Thin Lizzy when I'm ninety-nine, blowing out the amplifiers in my hearing aids!
Here's an early Peel Sessions recording of an underplayed and under recognized Thin Lizzy classic, "She Knows". "She Knows" was later refined a bit for their fourth studio record, 1974s Nightlife (pictured above), but I like the energy on this rawer version better.
|Phil Lynott statue, Dublin, Ireland. (Would James Joyce have loved Thin Lizzy?)|
What are your favorite Thin Lizzy records and songs?