Monday, March 14, 2005

Thin Lizzy

Despite a huge hit single in the mid-'70s ("The Boys Are Back in Town") and becoming a popular act with hard rock/heavy metal fans, Thin Lizzy are still underappreciated. Formed in the late '60s by Irish singer/songwriter/bassist Phil Lynott, Lizzy combined romanticized working-class sentiments with their ferocious, twin-lead guitar attack. As the band's creative force, Lynott was a more insightful and intelligent writer than many of his peers, preferring slice-of-life working-class dramas of love and hate influenced by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually all of the Irish literary tradition. Also, as a black man, Lynott was an oddity in the nearly all-white world of hard rock, and as such much of his work had a sense of alienation; he was the outsider, the romantic guy from the other side of the tracks, a self-styled poet of the lovelorn and downtrodden.

Lynott became a victim of his longtime abuse of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol, dying in 1986 at age 35. Since alternative rock bands of the mid-'90s borrowed numerous musical messages from their '70s forebears, the work of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy will hopefully continue to be seen for the influential rock & roll it is.

Today's song comes off of the very successful 1976 album Jailbreak and is one of my favorite Thin Lizzy songs.

Cowboy Song by Thin Lizzy

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