Today’s Christmas-themed post brings to light yet another reason why the 70s were fucking awesome. Back in summer of 1978, Thin Lizzy vocalist Phil Lynott got the brilliant idea to recruit a few of his famous friends like former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, the great Gary Moore, his Thin Lizzy bandmate, Scott Gorham, guitar hero Chris Spedding and Dio/Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain to play a few live gigs together and The Greedies (formerly known as “The Greedy Bastards”) were born. Now if that isn’t the personification of a “supergroup” I do not know what is.
Phil Lynott and Paul Cook
Later on in 1979, Lynott, Jones and Cook along with Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and Brian Downey recorded The Greedies’ one and only song, “A Merry Jingle,” a riff on two classic Christmas songs—“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells.”
Since we all know that great things usually don’t last, The Greedies and their superstar friends only played four gigs before moving on to other things. Cook and Jones formed The Professionals and Lynott soon released his first of three solo records, Solo in Soho. Amusingly, the “B” side of “A Merry Jingle,” called “A Merry Jangle,” is the A-side played backwards. Nicely. There are a few copies of the single out there on eBay if you’re wanting to add this to your record collection.
The clip of The Greedies performing “A Merry Jingle” on UK television in 1979 follows.
A shot of Marc Bolan of T-Rex performing on UK kids music TV show, Supersonic
There are days I really, really love my job. Lucky for you, this is one of them, because I can’t wait to share this super intimate (as well as sort of strange) footage of T.Rex, The Damned, and Thin Lizzy performing on the short-lived kids Britpop-music television show awesomely titled, Supersonic.
Supersonic annual from 1977 featuring Bay City Rollers, David Essex and the star of the show Mike Mansfield
The show was hosted by producer Mike Mansfield, and was targeted to kids and teens as well as filmed in front of a screaming audience full of them - hence its afternoon time slot.
Supersonic only ran for a couple of years and would feature musical performances from all kinds of groups. Some that would distinctly appeal to the shows targeted demographic like the Bay City Rollers, but there were also appearances by legendary rock musicians and glam bands like The Sweet, Slade, Ginger Baker, and The Kinks. I gotta say that the footage of Thin Lizzy doing “Wild One” from their 1975 record, Fighting on Supersonic is really something special. And after you watch it, you can’t help but hope that it made a lasting impression on the lucky kids in that studio.
Phil Lynott on Supersonic
A strange aside - Gary Glitter also made several appearances on the show. Which of course in retrospect sounds like a terrible fucking idea as Glitter’s activities that earned him the title of “pedophile” date back to 1975. Yikes. Anyway, I can’t think of any better way to cleanse your mind of my previous statement than watching a certain Marc Bolan getting doused by a giant bubble machine while lip-synching (and gyrating) his glittery heart out to his 1975 single, “Dreamy Lady.”
T.Rex performing “Dreamy Lady” on the UK kids show, Supersonic
I can’t think of a better way to spend an hour and twelve minutes than listening to roughly a hundred Thin Lizzy guitar solos (and two keyboard solos), spanning twelve albums, meticulously edited together into a nice, tidy package of unbridled awesomeness. Truly, this is one of those “this is what the internet was made for” cases—a gift for all mankind!
I’ve just played this thing through in its entirety three times in a row and am currently in the process of burning it to a CD for every road trip I ever make EVER, and I’ll be damned if I don’t plan a party just to have this as the soundtrack.
In one fell swoop, we get all of the epic Thin Lizzy soloing, 1971 to 1983, from guitarists Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Roberston, Gary Moore, Snowy White, and John Sykes, as well as two keyboard solos by Darren Wharton.
...And of course the bass playing of Phil Lynott, pictured here in a DEVO costume, because whynott?
This mix is not presented in chronological order, but rather in a manner aesthetically chosen for maximum flow. From the upload’s “liner notes,” we see that the mix is laid out to start with a bang, and then take the listener through three more crucial periods of the band’s playing:
00:00 Peak Period 1979 - 1980 (maybe not the best LPs, but the best solos)
12:36 Early Years 1971-1973 kinda Psych Prog Power Trio-ish
36:13 Twin Guitar Harmony Attack Developments 1974-1977
1:00:44 Heavy Metal End Phase 1981-1983
Perhaps as interesting as the megamix itself, is the fact that it was put together by none other than former4AD label artist, His Name Is Alive‘s Warren Defever. The bedroom dreampop experimentalist began in the late ‘80s, was signed to the 4AD label in 1989, and remained on that label for 13 years. Since parting ways with 4AD in 2002, Defever has worked as a producer, mastering engineer and remixer for artists including Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, Iggy and the Stooges, The Gories, Destroy All Monsters, Low, and Ida. He has recorded His Name is Alive records since 2006 for his own Silver Mountain label. The Thin Lizzy solo superedit was constructed by Defever as a method for inspiring the playing on 2014’s His Name Is Alive album, Tecuciztecatl. According to Defever in a recent chat with Dangerous Minds:
Me and Dusty were attempting some harmony guitar solos while recording our new album, Tecuciztecatl, and put it together as a study guide to practice along with.
Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive and Thin Lizzy megamix fame.
We asked Defever about the layout of the edit, which does not follow a chronological order. According to Defever:
I spent more time trying to figure out how to arrange it conceptually than actually editing. It quickly became clear that going in chronological order or reverse chronological order would leave the most familiar solos buried in the middle of the seventy minute piece. It also became clear that just presenting every solo in the order they occurred on the records would not flow well, but presenting the solos within each record together would be easy because of the consistent sound quality, style and era. I broke them down roughly into four eras - peak period, psychedelic early years, twin guitar developments and heavy metal end phase.
I was a big fan of His Name Is Alive in the ‘90’s and I have to admit I’d kind of forgotten about them until now. Thankfully, this Thin Lizzy mix also reintroduced me to Defever’s work and their excellent new album,Tecuciztecatl, which is totally worth your attention.
But for right now, you’ve got the next hour and twelve minutes of your life planned out.
The solo megamix is available on soundcloud or via Defever’s Youtube upload here:
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…
It’s Roy Wood’s birthday and to celebrate here’s a little curio from 1983 of probably the greatest pub rock band in the world, The Rockers.
The Rockers consisted of Roy Wood, Phil Lynott, Bev Bevan and er, Chas Hodges from Cockney knees-up duo Chas ‘n’ Dave. They released one single “We Are the Boys (Who Make All the Noise)” this time with Status Quo’s John Coghlan on drums. Here, that number tops and tails a fine medley of Rock ‘n’ Roll standards as performed on O.T.T. - the late-night version of kid’s Saturday morning classic Tiswas, both of which were hosted by Chris (Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) Tarrant.
Hot damn this is good! Thin Lizzy on fire at the Sydney Harbour in 1978.
2 Bad Reputation
3 Cowboy Song
4 The Boys Are Back In Town
5 Waiting For An Alibi
6 Are You Ready
7 Me And The Boys Were Wondering How You And The Girls Are Getting Home Tonight
8 Baby Drives Me Crazy
Gary Moore joined Thin Lizzy on this tour and Mark Nauseef is subbing for Brian Downey on drums.
If you ever needed another reason to love dear Phil Lynott then just watch this short clip from Jim’ll Fix It - Jimmy Savile’s classic dreams-come-true TV series - from 1982, in which 70-year-old grandmother, May Booker wrote to Sir Jim asking if he could fix it for her to play keyboards with her favorite band - Thin Lizzy. And you can guess what happened next.
May is rather good, and she has a fun time with Phil - who is such a delightful charmer.
Twenty-six years ago today, Ireland’s greatest rock star Phil Lynott died. The singer passed away from heart failure and pneumonia after an ‘11 day fight for his life’, at the Salisbury Hospital in Wiltshire, England.
It was a sad day. But this year it can be commemorated with the incredible news that a “treasure trove” of 700 songs, stashed away by Lynott, will be released in June year. The Belfast Telegraph reports:
Shortly before he passed away in 1986, Mr Lynott gave 150 tapes to a third party for safekeeping. The cache of up to 700 songs has finally been released to record company Universal Music.
“This is an absolutely stunning find,” Steve Hammonds, project manager behind the new Thin Lizzy box set, told the Irish Independent.
“In every group there’s a member who lovingly collects their recordings and in Thin Lizzy that was Phil Lynott, because Lizzy was his baby and his band.”
It will be the second boxed set in recent times to feature archive work by the band, following last year’s ‘Live At The BBC’ release.
But the newly unearthed recordings stretch from Thin Lizzy’s years with Decca Records, beginning in 1971, to their ‘Renegade’ album in 1981.
“There are out-takes, unheard versions of Thin Lizzy hits and, most exciting of all, material which was recorded but never released at the time,” said Mr Hammonds.
“Phil Lynott was such a prolific songwriter. He recorded 12 Thin Lizzy albums, two solo albums, along with his Grand Slam post-Lizzy project, and now we find he had even more songs in his drawer.”
However, Thin Lizzy members Scott Gorham and Brian Downey will have the “final say” over which songs are released.
“The members of Thin Lizzy are fully involved with this project. We have been sending them tapes of what we’ve found and respecting their wishes as regards the material being issued and the art work,” added Mr Hammonds.
Label bosses have declined to give more details on why the material is only surfacing now, 30 years after Thin Lizzy split.
“Phil Lynott passed the material on to a third party for safekeeping. They held on to it for decades because they were waiting for the right people to come along.
“They really didn’t trust anyone enough to release it properly. The catalyst was a boxed set of Thin Lizzy BBC sessions we issued earlier this year, which made them believe we were the right people. No money has changed hands, this person is a Thin Lizzy fan.”
In memory of the great man, here’s Phil Lynott and his band Thin Lizzy Behind the Music
Phil Lynott statue on Dublin’s Grafton St (toy monkey not included)
You’ll have seen the other Thin Lizzy posts that we’ve put up on DM by now, right? Big up to Paul and Marc for the Phil Lynott-loving that has been going on here - Lizzy are an under-appreciated band, who to my knowledge never really broke through in America. Of all the rock act Ireland has ever produced though, Thin Lizzy are by far the best, and most of that legacy rests with the cool, charismatic and incredibly talented Phil Lynott himself.
The Phil Lynott Story goes further than other Thin Lizzy-based docs to explore Lynott’s background, from his teenage mother’s escape from the work houses of wartime Northern England to Phil’s growing up as a black man in the vastly white1960s Dublin, and from his fledgling career as a psychedelic folk-rocker to his post-Lizzy years and his decent into heavy drug use and eventual, untimely death. It’s a fascinating story, packed to the gills with drama, drugs, scandal and lots of great music. It would make an amazing biopic, but who would play Phil?
This BBC-produced documentary is essential listening for anyone with a vague interest in rock’n'roll - you don’t need to be a fan to find this fascinating. But if you are a fan and don’t know the full story, be prepared to be amazed at some of the anecdotes and the background information supplied by Lynott’s incredible mother Philomena. Here’s a little bonus too - a video for the Lynott solo single “Old Town” (co-produced with Midge Ure and one of the greatest synth-pop tracks of all time IMO) with Phil strolling around early 80s Dublin and fooling around on his native Grafton St and Ha’Penny Bridge:
Phil Lynott was Thin Lizzy. The talented, beautiful, iconic Irishman was the band’s heart and soul, and its demise in 1984, presaged Lynott’s early death on January 4th 1986 - fifteen years to the day Thin Lizzy started recording their first album.
Bad Reputation is an honest and affectionate documentary that tells the story Ireland’s greatest band. Starting with guitarist, Scott Gorham and drummer, Brian Downie remixing the classic Jailbreak album, the film quickly revisits the band’s early incarnation as The Black Eagles, Orphanage, and then Thin Lizzy, named after a character from the comic the Beano.
Produced and directed by Linda Brusasco, the film includes very rare footage of a young Phil at the start of his career, and includes revealing interviews with him through the highs and lows, together with interviews from nearly all of the key players, Brian Downie, Scott Gorham, Eric Bell, Brian Robertson, Midge Ure, Bob Geldof, and legendary record producer, Tony Visconti.
The reformed version of Thin Lizzy are currently touring, check here for details.
Phil Lynott was always something special - a hugely loved and respected musician, an iconic figure who was “the original Dublin rock’n’roller and arguably a bigger natural star than any of those that followed in his footsteps.”
Phil Lynott - Bass, Lead Vocals
Brian Downey - Drums
Scott Gorham - Guitar
Snowy White - Guitar
Darren Wharton - Keyboards
01. “Are You Ready?”
03. “Waiting For an Alibi”
05. “Trouble Boys”
06. “Don’t Believe a Word”
07. “Memory Pain”
08. “Got To Give It Up”
11. “Cowboy Song”
12. “The Boys Are Back In Town”
14. “Black Rose”
15. “Sugar Blues”
16. “Baby Drive Me Crazy”
18. “Disaster” (“Angel OF Death”)
While we pride ourselves on being an anarchic collective here at Dangerous Minds, we do have a few unwritten rules. One is no mashups unless they are exceptional. Well, I may be wrong (I occasionally am) but this tight little video/audio marriage of Thin Lizzy and The Pixies really works for me. And I’ll post anything that reminds the world of just how ultra-cool Phil Lynott is…even in mashup mode.