Thin Lizzy frontman, Phil Lynott died today, 4th of January in 1986. He was just 36 years old.
Lynott had collapsed at his home after a drink and drug binge on Christmas Day. He was suffering from a serious liver and kidney infection and died eleven days later from heart-failure and pneumonia.
It was a sad end to a man who had entertained and inspired millions. Lynott was all about a good time, it’s there in his music and in the way he lived his life. At his best, his music was simple, working class rock and roll. He was also an inspiration: born and raise in difficult times, a black man in predominantly white Dublin, raised by his grandmother while his mother worked three jobs in England to support the family back home.
Lynott originally wanted to be an architect, but poor, working class lads from housing schemes aren’t allowed to be architects. Instead he was offered a job as an apprentice fitter and turner. It was a dead end job, not a future for an ambitious talent like Lynott. He gave it up for his main passion—music.
Phil first came to prominence as the good-looking singer with the Black Eagles. He then moved onto Skid Row (which later featured guitarist Gary Moore). When Phil took time out to have his tonsils removed, he was replaced as lead singer; it was only then that Lynott went on to form Thin Lizzy with Brian Downey and Eric Bell.
Fortune smiled on Phil, as when sailing from Dublin to England, he met John Peel on board the ship and told him about Thin Lizzy. Peel told him to keep in touch. It was the kind of good luck born from years of hard work that would bring Thin Lizzy massive popular success.
The Rocker: A Portrait of Phil Lynott explains why this great man was such a charismatic and inspirational figure, with a history of all his bands, and various clips from early home movies, along with excellent interview clips, this is a fitting tribute to Ireland’s greatest Rocker.
Bonus: Audio of Thin Lizzy in concert, Berlin 1973, after the jump…