this boy is cracking up.

i can’t get enough of this song lately. i’m not sure why. all i can tell you is that i grew up in the 80s, so while some people probably can’t get past the production values of the time, that stuff generally doesn’t distract me from a good song. and this isn’t exactly typical 80s fluff…check out the great piano solo halfway through, and the mournful bridge section in the pub.

i remember seeing some “behind the music” special about thin lizzy years ago, and they played about five seconds of this video, which has kind of haunted the back of my brain ever since. sure, it was manipulative of them to have phil singing about breaking down and looking soulful just as they were talking about his drug problems and death, but it was still a far cry from what i was used to hearing from the lizzy. for years i had no idea what the song was or where it was from, until i realized it was actually phil lynott solo. from what i’d read and heard on the radio, i assumed thin lizzy were basically “the boys are back in town” multiplied by 112.

turns out i was wrong. phil lynott was a lot more musically adventurous than classic rock radio would have you believe — particularly when it came to his solo work (some of the demos he recorded with junior giscombe shortly before his death are so far removed from anything else he did, it’s kind of shocking) — and thin lizzy didn’t really get the recognition they deserved. though the band eventually hit on a commercial formula and didn’t deviate much from the tried and true once they became successful, they made a few albums before they hit it big that aren’t really anything like that stuff, and for my money blow it all to pieces. there’s some really good music there…i think shades from a blue orphanage alone destroys just about everything else they did. some of it makes me think a bit of early springsteen, which is the last thing you’d expect from thin lizzy. it’s funky, and complex, and jazzy, and folky, and “sarah” is just a gorgeous song any way you slice it.

there are some great songs buried on the later albums too, and from interviews that i’ve seen, phil was a much more down to earth and humble irish rock star than bono, which just makes me like him even more. where bono usually seems painfully full of himself, phil seemed genuine and even kind of shy when he wasn’t on-stage.

more importantly, this video has taught me an invaluable lesson: the best way to make a girl in a business suit smile is to gesture to her that you’re preparing to play an invisible flugelhorn solo, from somewhere across town, and then have said invisible flugelhorn become a real one.

if you’re into 70s rock/power ballads/lengthy guitar solos, you might dig this too:

video that didn’t originate from youtube and has something to do with me coming soon…maybe some more recording footage or something.


  1. i’ll definitely keep a look out for the demos and live stuff…and it’s kind of funny to see you posting here, because i’ve been meaning to send you a message thanking you for making all that great rare lizzy/lynott stuff available. “he fell like a soldier” isn’t like anything else i’ve ever heard from phil or thin lizzy. the man had range, and was a ridiculously underrated bassist. i think he could have made a pretty great and diverse third solo album if he had put together the best of the tracks he did with junior, and some other things, like a more polished version of “samantha”.

    it’s a shame more people don’t realize that thin lizzy were more than just “the boys are back in town”…it took me long enough to realize it myself.

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