1976 Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
Bass guitarist and vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey met in school in Dublin in the early sixties. The two were in a series of bands, sometimes together and sometimes not. In 1969, they joined up with Eric Bell on guitar and Eric Wrixon on keyboards, and Thin Lizzy was born. The name came from a character in a children’s comic strip. The band was unusual because it included members from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Phil wrote most of the group’s songs when they recorded their first album and also sang lead vocals. Their first single did not chart. Despite disappointing sales, Decca paid to have the group record a second album. Not much came from that album, either.
The band began a tour with Slade and Suzi Quatro in late 1972, and their record label released a single to support the tour. The band had recorded a popular, traditional Irish song, Whiskey in the Jar, but had not put it on either of their albums. Decca chose to release that recording as their single even though the band was not on board with the decision. It turned out to be an excellent move since the record topped the Irish charts, reached the top ten in Germany, and reached #5 in the UK.
Two more singles reached the charts in Ireland but failed to chart anywhere else.
The group released a string of unsuccessful records and went through several lineup changes over the next four years. In 1976 the group recorded the single The Boys Are Back In Town and finally had a record that reached the US chart. The record topped the Irish chart, reached #8 in the UK and Canada, and peaked at #12 on the US Hot 100. That success allowed the band to tour the US with Aerosmith, Rush, and REO Speedwagon, and they sounded even better live than they did on the recording. They had planned another tour of the US, but it had to be canceled when Phil developed hepatitis.
The band had ten more top forty singles in the UK over the next five years, but seldom reached the US Hot 100 and never reached the US top forty again.
Thin Lizzy disbanded in 1983. Phil pursued a successful solo career but died in 1986 at age 36 as a result of the side effects of his drug dependencies.
The group reformed in 1996 and has continued to tour with a constantly changing roster but has never again recorded any new material.
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