Thursday, August 23, 2012

Possibly My Last Thin Lizzy Pitch Of The Year. Possibly.

Before you watch this performance, and I hope that you will watch this performance, let me say a few things.

This is not the classic Thin Lizzy lineup. This is Thin Lizzy running on fumes, mostly due to Phil Lynott's bad habits and declining health.

The song, which I love, wouldn't necessarily fall in a Top 20 of favorite Lizzy songs, but it does fall into my Top 3 Lizzy performances.

I do not condone the use of the synthesizer that keyboard player Darren Wharton employs throughout. I don't even condone the use of Darren Wharton.

All this being said, I find this performance of "The Sun Goes Down" from the Regal Theatre on Thin Lizzy's final tour, one of the greatest examples of how Phil Lynott can deliver a song with a deeply emotional punch. For years, Lynott's lyrics have told heartbreak stories, as well as confessed all he's lived and believed, both good and bad. Here, looking more than a little worse for wear, Lynott works from the inside out. How he doesn't break down is a miracle. It is nothing less than intense. Scott Gorham and John Sykes each have a moment in the spotlight and they both shine on guitar, speaking for Phil, with what they do best, and better than many.

As my friend and I discussed yesterday, and as I commented over on Burning Love? during this week's ongoing discussion about hard rock and heavy metal, Thin Lizzy seems to either get love and respect, or they are simply tossed aside onto various piles of things they really aren't. As our friend BuzzBabyJesus just commented, "I don't know enough about Thin Lizzy to have a viable opinion." I think you may speak for many, Buzz.

They aren't heavy metal. They aren't one-hit wonders, though my friend and I did both agree that "The Boys Are Back In Town" is a fantastic song and unfairly gets lumped in with songs like The Sweet's "Little Willy" and Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll" on various glam compilations.

I'm pretty sure another reader, Albert possibly, once mentioned in an earlier post the similarities between Phil Lynott and Bruce Springsteen, and how they both wrote about their lives, God and the devil, growing up, living, learning, loving and dying in their hometowns. Freehold and Dublin & Phil and Bruce may not be as far apart as you think.

Here's a list of 20 songs. There are listed alphabetically, and they may not be the band's 20 best. But for me they represent the many layers of Thin Lizzy. Spotify'em, iTunes'em, YouTube'em, but by all means, listen to them and then make a decision.

Bad Reputation
Cowboy Song
Dear Lord
Dear Miss Lonely Hearts
Don't Believe A Word
Got To Give It Up
It's Getting Dangerous
Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed
King's Call
Little Darling
No One Told Him
Old Flame
Old Town
The Rocker
Rosalie (One of only 2-3 covers in the repertoire)
Still In Love With You (Live & Dangerous version)


Derek D. said...

"Southbound," the Live and Dangerous version, might be my all-time favorite Lizzy tune, for the tasty guitar lines and the longing in Phil's voice:

"Hey, you're not getting any younger,
the wild west has already been won"

"I got to leave this ghost town" ...chills!

buzzbabyjesus said...

I watched the whole thing. I admit to worrying about getting past the minute mark until Phil started to sing. It's everything you said.
His vocal redeems "Daddy Rollin' Stone".
The first time I heard "The Boys Are Back In Town" I thought it was Springsteen. I got the album but decided it was a little Stupid for me. I draw the line at songs about cowboys and six shooter's.
That also goes for "Bad Company", and that one by Bon Jovi.

Gene Oberto said...


Thanks for sparing us from Outlaw Pete, which I heard in a café yesterday. It was so long, it curdled the cream in my coffee.

FD13NYC said...

You'll have no argument or negativity from me about Thin Lizzy. They're one of the best and truly one of my favorite bands. Good list, my faves too. Although, as we know, there are others.

Paul said...

Great post Sal. A very overlooked band. The Corrs did a version of Old Town that I believe is great. See link below:

steve simels said...

"Old Flame."

I get chills just thinking about it.

Albert said...

Sal..I know you're aware of my love affair with were there for a good part of it...started in early high school and shows no signs of long as I can hear, I wanna hear Thin Lizzy...I sometimes think that had they not hit with Boys are Back in Town their legacy would have been altered completely....rather than just a great band too cool for Top Ten foolishness,they were pigeon-holed as a one-hit insanely diametric to their far as the Phil/Boss "twin sons of different mothers" deal goes, which I strongly subscribe to, I also wonder if they felt a kinship, or maybe couldn't or wouldn't acknowledge this as they were both plying their respective trades...I bet someone out there in literati-land has something to say on the subject....gonna look...

A walk in the woods said...

Sal, don't make this the last Think Lizzy post at all. You brought the Lizzy back from forgotten-70s-group in my eyes through your blog to legendary status. I think my initial issue with them was the worst name ever in rock music, matched with what I perceived in the 70s to be something too close to metal. (Sorry I haven't been able to weigh in on that topic in Burning Love yet)

Thin Lizzy is only getting more interesting to my ears these days. Great clips you posted today. Keep the Lizzy focus up!

Mark Pollock said...

Lizzy was the "house band" for several years at WXRT in Chicago, one of many reasons why I loved that station from its early days as a late night bloc on a foreign language station through many years of excellence (now, they've long been just another badly formatted chai station). Anyway, Lizzy and Bruce were what got me through the mid-70s, and my favorite non-Bruce concert memory was seeing them headline a show with BeBop Deluxe and GP & the Rumour as the openers. Keep up the good work trying to educate your readers about the greatness of Phil Lynott and Think Lizzy. I wouldn't have picked those 20 songs, but thinking of the 10-15 others I'd have on my list drove home just how great they were.

steve simels said...

Sal --

The keyboard stuff notwithstanding, that's fricking great. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Lizzy might have fit into your Mott question a few weeks ago, "who else changed their style to become more popular?" Before Fighting, they dabbled in all kinds of styles, all of them pretty well, but then developed a focus on the harder sound which made them famous.

Steven Portela said...

I've loved every one of your Thin Lizzy posts. You forgot some of their best songs, though:
Wild One (top 10 for sure)
Southbound (L&D, although it's from soundcheck)
Black Rose
Waiting For An Alibi
King's Vengeance
Vagabonds of the Western World (power trio awesomeness)
The Pressure Will Blow
We Will Be StrongGot To Give It Up (that solo!)
Romeo & The Lonely Girl (bad lyrics, killer playing)
The Rocker (the version from Life/Live)

So many records that still hold up well. They SOUND great- crisp drums (Downey, one of my favorites), gorgeous guitar tones. Even the Snowy White albums, which aren't my favorites, sound terrific.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to see Lizzy a good few times in their 70's heyday and I still give 'em a lot of airplay (isn't there always yet another remastered, deluxe, bonus tracks reissue?). They'd passed their peak by then, but give Cold Sweat a listen for some excellent vocals & guitar. Now, where's my air guitar gone?

Alan Lloyd said...

Vagabond of the western world (my favorite)
Opium trail
wild one
Bad reputation
With love
SHA la la
roisin dubh
Honesty is no excuse
Buffalo gal
a ride in the lizzymobile