(I realized after posting, it was no longer 2016. It is actually 31 years since Phil Lynott's death. But I am running with this anyway.)
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Phil Lynott's death and it has been an even longer time that I have been singing his praises.
At a recent gathering of friends, an occasion where I had been asked to supply a playlist of music, the subject of bad songs had come up. I don't recall any of the conversation other than one friend suggesting Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town," accompanied by the universal "two fingers in mouth" sign for gagging. She had been unaware of my love for Thin Lizzy and that song, until approximately 20 minutes later when the song began to randomly play off of my playlist.
It doesn't matter so much whether you like or dislike "The Boys Are Back In Town." What matters is the unfair tossing of both the song and the artist into categories where they simply do not belong. Thin Lizzy weren't "one-hit wonders." They weren't a "glam band." They weren't "heavy metal." Thin Lizzy were one of the most unique bands of their time, with an original twin-guitar sound that had not been heard before or since. It's lazy to simply define a band based on one song and it is easy for Phil Lynott's often brilliant, occasionally heartbreaking poetry to get lost in the haze of the music, which was played by one of the best drummers in rock and roll, Brian Downey, and some of the most melodic guitar gods of the 70's and 80's in Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Robertson and the late Gary Moore.
I don't suppose thirty years after his death I have a shot at changing the minds of anyone who considers "The Boys Are Back In Town" a novelty like C.W. McCall's "Convoy" or something as odious as Terry Jacks "Seasons In The Sun," two songs you will occasionally see on commercially available compilations along with Thin Lizzy. But I thought that minor injustice should at least be given a bit of a fight.
Below you will find a handful of songs showing a softer side of both Lynott and the band. These songs aren't meant to be definitive. They are not my favorite Thin Lizzy songs. But I do love them all. To these ears, they highlight all the qualities of a great band: good songs, great playing, hooks, memorable choruses. But mostly, they feature Phil Lynott's wonderful words, rhymes and phrasing.