1951 – Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy is born in Dublin…

Phil Lynott

1951 – Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy is born in Dublin, Ireland.

Philip Parris Lynott (20 August 1949 – 4 January 1986) was a singer, bassist, instrumentalist, and songwriter, who first came to prominence as the frontman of Thin Lizzy.

Early life

Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General Hospital) in West Bromwich (then in Staffordshire), England, the son of an Afro-Brazilian father, Cecil Parris, and an Irish mother, Philomena (aka Phyllis) Lynott, whose surname he adopted. His father left his mother just three weeks after he was born and returned to his native Brazil. Phil was christened at St. Edwards Church in Selly Park, Birmingham.

Phil was initially brought up in Moss Side, Manchester where he became a Manchester United fan. While still at school, he moved to Crumlin, Dublin, to live with his grandmother, Sarah. His parents reportedly kept in touch for a number of years after his birth, but Lynott did not meet his real father until the late 1970s.

Music career

In the mid 1960s, Lynott began singing in his first band, the Black Eagles. Around this time, he befriended Brian Downey.

After a short stint in Brush Shiels’ Skid Row with Gary Moore, Phil formed Thin Lizzy around 1970 in Dublin.

In 1978, he was featured in Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, singing and speaking the role of The Parson. In 1979, under the name of “The Greedies” (originally “The Greedy Bastards”, but shortened for obvious reasons), he recorded a Christmas single, “A Merry Jingle”, featuring other members of Thin Lizzy as well as Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols.

In 1980, though Thin Lizzy were still enjoying considerable success, Phil Lynott launched a solo career with the album, Solo in Soho: this was a Top 30 UK album and yielded two hit singles that year, “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts” and “King’s Call”. The latter was a tribute to Elvis Presley, and featured Mark Knopfler on guitar. His second solo venture, The Philip Lynott Album was a chart flop, despite the presence of the single “Old Town”. The song “Yellow Pearl” (1982), was a #14 hit in the UK and became the theme tune to Top Of The Pops.

Also in 1980, he married Caroline Crowther, the daughter of British comedian Leslie Crowther.

In 1984, Thin Lizzy disbanded. Later that year, Lynott recorded a rock’n’roll medley single, “We Are The Boys (Who Make All The Noise)” with Roy Wood, Chas Hodges, and John Coghlan, and collaborated with former bandmate blues/rock guitarist Gary Moore on “Out in the Fields” (a No. 5 UK hit in 1985, his highest-charting single ever) and “Parisienne Walkways” (a UK no. 8 hit).

In 1984, he formed a new band, Grand Slam – with Doish Nagle, Laurence Archer, Robbie Brennan, and Mark Stanway.

It was rumoured that Lynott would team up with Northern Ireland hit maker Clodagh Rodgers to perform a duet in the 1986 A Song for Europe TV contest with the hope of representing the UK in the subsequent Eurovision Song Contest. His last single, “Nineteen”, released a few weeks before his death, was produced by Paul Hardcastle. It bore no relation to the producer’s chart-topping single of the same title some months earlier.

The statue in Dublin

Lynott’s last years were dogged by drug and alcohol dependency, and on the night of 25 December 1985, he was rushed to hospital suffering from a kidney and liver infection. According to album notes, recording of Thin Lizzy’s debut album began on 4 January 1971, exactly fifteen years before his death.

A life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street, Dublin in 2005. The ceremony was attended by former band members Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Brian Downey, and Scott Gorham, and by Lynott’s mother. The attending Thin Lizzy members paid tribute with a live performance.

In November 2005, American actor Gary Dourdan revealed in a radio interview that he has carried out preliminary work with a view to playing Phil Lynott in a film biography. This has also been tentatively confirmed by Phil Lynott’s mother, Philomena, in an article by Rolling Stone magazine.

In 2006, a Thin Lizzy tribute band played at the Nerve Centre, Derry, in memory of Phil Lynott. During the gig, Phil Lynott’s elderly mother, Philomena Lynott, came onto the stage and sang vocals on “Dancin’ in the Moonlight” in memory of her son.

The same year, Lynott’s mother allowed Micky Waters, bass guitarist of The Answer, to be the first to play her son’s bass since his death. The bass was also used in the band’s music video for the single “Keep Believin'”.

Rude Awakening bassist Robert Ryder named his son Philip Parris Calkin after Philip Parris Lynott, and Philomena Lynott was christened the baby’s godmother in 1996 in Los Angeles.

In April 2007, The Rocker: A Portrait of Phil Lynott was released on DVD in the UK.

Solo discography


* Solo in Soho (1980)
* The Philip Lynott Album (1982)
* Live In Sweden (1983)

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