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Phil Lynott

born on 20/8/1949 in Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom

died on 4/1/1986 in Salisbury, England, United Kingdom

Phil Lynott

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Phil Lynott
Birth name Philip Parris Lynott
Born August 20 1949, West Bromwich, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Died 4 January 1986 (aged 36), Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, heavy metal
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar, harmonica, Irish harp, percussion
Years active 1965-1985
Labels Vertigo Records
Warner Bros. Records (US)
Associated acts Thin Lizzy, Wild Horses The Greedies, Skid Row, Grand Slam, Gary Moore, John Sykes
Notable instruments
Rickenbacker 4001 bass (early)
Fender Precision Bass

Philip Parris "Phil" Lynott (pronounced /lant/; 20 August 1949  4 January 1986) was an Irish singer, bassist, musician, songwriter and poet who first came to prominence as the frontman of Thin Lizzy. He released two solo albums and also formed and fronted the band Grand Slam, right up until his death on 4 January 1986. He was 36 years old.

Early life

Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General Hospital) in West Bromwich (then in Staffordshire), England, and christened at St. Edwards Church in Selly Park, Birmingham. His mother, Philomena (aka Phyllis) Lynott, was Irish, and his father was Cecil Parris, an Afro-South American,[1][2] some sources more specifically stating that he was an African-Brazilian.[3][4] Lynott's mother met Parris in Birmingham in 1948, and they saw each other for a few months until Parris was transferred to London. Shortly afterwards Philomena found she was pregnant, and after Philip was born she moved with her baby to a home for unmarried mothers in Selly Oak, Birmingham.[5] When Parris learned of Philip's birth, he returned to Birmingham and arranged accommodation for Philomena and Philip in the Blackheath area of the city. Philomena's relationship with Parris lasted a further two years although he was still working in London and they did not live together.[5] The Lynotts subsequently moved to Manchester and Philomena stayed in touch with Parris, and although she turned down a proposal of marriage from him, he agreed to pay towards Philip's upkeep.[5] An interview with Parris' wife in August 2009, however, stated that Parris was from Georgetown, British Guiana, and that he and Philomena later had a daughter and a second son who were both given up for adoption.[6] Philomena's own account of the story does not concur with regard to any other children.[5] Philip Lynott did not meet his father again until the late 1970s.[1][6]

When Philip was four years old, he went to live with his grandmother Sarah in Crumlin, Dublin, while his mother stayed in Manchester.[5]

Music career

In the mid 1960s, Lynott began singing in his first band, the Black Eagles.[4] Around this time, he befriended Brian Downey, who was later persuaded to join the band from the 'Liffey Beats'. Before long the Black Eagles broke up and Lynott joined 'Kama Sutra' before settling into a short stint singing in Skid Row (not to be confused with an American band of the same name), a band that featured guitarist Gary Moore, bassist Brendan 'Brush' Shiels and drummer Noel Bridgeman. Lynott was let go by Skid Row following a temporary absence to have his tonsils removed. Lynott had acquired a bass guitar and Shiels gave him some lessons to help him on his way. Lynott and Downey quickly put together a new band titled 'Orphanage' with guitarist John Stanton and bassist Pat Quigley. At the end of 2006 a number of Skid Row and Orphanage demo tapes featuring Phil Lynott were discovered. These were his earliest recordings and had been presumed lost for decades.[7]

In 1969, Lynott and Downey quit Orphanage to form Thin Lizzy with guitarist Eric Bell and keyboard player Eric Wrixon (both ex-Them, but from different line-ups).[4] Lynott was the main songwriter for Thin Lizzy, as well as the lead singer and bassist. Their first top ten hit was in 1973, with a rock version of the traditional Irish song "Whiskey in the Jar",[4] featuring a cover by Irish artist and friend, Jim Fitzpatrick.[8] Their biggest international hit, the 1976 song "The Boys are Back in Town", featured Lynott's lead vocals. The song reached the top 10 in the UK, Ireland and Canada, and peaked at #12 in the US.

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 "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. The previous year he had performed alongside Jones and Cook on Johnny Thunders' solo album "So Alone".

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.

In 1980, he married Caroline Crowther, the daughter of British comedian Leslie Crowther.[4] The couple had two children - Sarah, for whom the 1979 song of the same title was written, and Cathleen.[4]

In 1983, Thin Lizzy disbanded.[4] 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. Phil regularly collaborated with former bandmate blues/rock guitarist Gary Moore on a number of tracks including the singles "Out in the Fields" (a No. 5 UK hit in 1985), his highest-charting single ever, "Parisienne Walkways" (a UK no. 8 hit in 1978), "Back On The Streets" and "Spanish Guitar" in 1979.

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

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.[9] He also recorded some material with Archer, Huey Lewis, and members of Lewis's band the News in 1985, which were not released.[9]

He also released two books of poetry which were poorly received and have thus become very rare although they are now held as collector items and a signed hardback copy of one of his poetry books may sell for up to 150.


Lynott's last years were dogged by drug and alcohol dependency leading to his collapse on the night of 25 December 1985 at his home in Kew. After his estranged wife Caroline drove him to a drug clinic in East Knoyle, he was taken to Salisbury Infirmary where he was diagnosed as suffering from a kidney and liver infection.[4][9] He died of heart failure and pneumonia in the hospital's intensive care unit on 4 January 1986 aged 36.[4]

In 2005, a life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street, Dublin. The ceremony was attended by former band members Eric Bell, 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.[10] His grave in St. Fintan's cemetery in Sutton is regularly visited by family, friends, and fans.[11]

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


See also: Thin Lizzy discography


  • Solo in Soho (1980)
  • The Philip Lynott Album (1982)
  • Live In Sweden 1983 (2001)

See also

  • Black people in Ireland
  • List of people on stamps of Ireland
  • List of drug-related deaths


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alan Byrne, "Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune", Firefly, 2004
  2. Mark Putterford, "Philip Lynott: The Rocker", Castle, 1994
  3. Thin Lizzy official website
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Thin Lizzy star dies on BBC website. Retrieved 28 December 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Philomena Lynott, "My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story", Virgin, 1995.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Phil Lynott's lost family", Daily Express, 23 August 2009
  7. Fans' joy as Lynott demos unearthed
  8. *Philip Lynott remembered by his friend, artist Jim Fitzpatrick
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Farewell, Phil", Sounds, 11 January 1986, p. 3
  10. Thin Lizzy's Lynott back in town from BBC News, Northern Ireland, 20 August 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2007
  11. Lynnot's grave, St. Fintan's Cemetery
  • Hale, Mark (1993). 1694 Philip Lynott Headbangers, First edition, second printing, p. 201, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Popular Culture, Ink.
  • Putterford, Mark (2002). Phil Lynott: The Rocker, p. 228, Omnibus Press.

External links

Thin Lizzy
John Sykes | Scott Gorham | Marco Mendoza | Michael Lee
Phil Lynott | Brian Downey | Eric Bell | Gary Moore | Brian Robertson | Snowy White | Darren Wharton | Tommy Aldridge | Randy Gregg
Studio albums: Thin Lizzy | Shades of a Blue Orphanage | Vagabonds of the Western World | Nightlife | Fighting | Jailbreak | Johnny the Fox | Bad Reputation | Black Rose: A Rock Legend | Chinatown | Renegade | Thunder and Lightning
Live albums: Live and Dangerous | Life | BBC Radio One Live in Concert | The Peel Sessions | Boys Are Back in Town: Live in Australia | One Night Only
This page was last modified 10.06.2010 16:12:32

This article uses material from the article Phil Lynott from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.