Friday, 1 January 2016

30 Years Since the Death of Phil Lynott

On 4th January, it will be the 30th anniversary of the death of Irish musician Phil Lynott, best remembered as lead singer and bass guitarist of the rock band “Thin Lizzy”.

Philip Parris Lynott, although being Irish, was actually born in the UK at Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General), West Bromwich on the 20th August 1949. After initially living in the West Midlands and then moving to Manchester, at the age of 4 he went to live with his maternal grandmother in Dublin where he had a happy childhood and was allegedly popular at school.

With early musical influences mysteriously including Tamla Motown and the Mamas and the Papas, he started out in 1965 as a lead singer for a Dublin based, covers band called the Black Eagles. After playing with other locally based bands for the next few years, late in 1969 he along with 3 friends formed the band Thin Lizzy (the name coming from a character in the Dandy comic called Tin Lizzie, which in turn was a nickname for a Ford Model T car).
Whiskey in the Jar 

After supporting Slade on tour in 1972, their first top ten hit came a year later with the release of a version of the traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey in the Jar”. After a quiet follow-on period without charting, the band returned with a changed line-up and enjoyed monumental success in 1976 with their biggest hit “The Boys are Back in Town”.

By the early 1980s, the band was struggling commercially, not helped by Lynott suffering from both asthma attacks and symptoms caused by heroin use. Thin Lizzy was disbanded in 1983, while Phil went on to work with artists such as Roy Wood, Chas Hodges, Huey Lewis and former Thin Lizzy bandmate Gary Moore.


Suffering from alcohol and heroin dependency in his later years, Lynott collapsed on Christmas Day 1985 at his home in West London. After being taken to a drug clinic in Warminster, Wiltshire, he was further admitted to Salisbury Infermary, where he died of pneumonia and heart failure due to septicaemia, on 4th January 1986 at the age of 36.


He was interred at St Fintan’s Cemetery in Sutton, northeast Dublin and in 2005 a life sized bronze statue of the musician was unveiled in Harry street (off Grafton Street) in Dublin.

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