Are you a fan of metal titans such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax and Dream Theater? Do you dig newer metal bands like Mastadon and Kamelot? Have you ever wondered who might have influenced these great bands? The Irish hard rockers from the 70's, Thin Lizzy, is who. They pioneered the story-telling and melodic twin guitar attack that is commonplace with today's prog and power metal bands.
Most people, especially Americans, are only familiar with their song, "The Boys Are Back In Town", if they are familiar with anything by the band at all. This song has been used in countless commercials in addition to the movie "Toy Story". But Thin Lizzy is far more than one over-used song, far more.
Thin Lizzy was formed as a 3-piece blues rock band in the late 60's in Dublin Ireland, but it wasn't until they moved to London in the early 70's and replaced their single guitarist with dual axemen that their sound developed into what would become their trademark. Founder Phil Lynott was the bass player, lead singer and main songwriter of the band, and he wrote songs ranging from lost love to Irish history to his own battle with substance abuse.
Phil Lynott disbanded Thin Lizzy in 1983. He continued on with solo work and projects with other musicians until his untimely death in 1986. Former menders of Thin Lizzy have been touring under the band's moniker with Lynott's mother's blessing since 1996. However, with their 15 years of activity and 12 studio albums, the band has influenced countless fans and musicians alike. As I mentioned, and it can't be understated, their introduction of twin lead guitar playing and their story-telling created a deep bond with the fans of the band.
Being a much-imitated band, Thin Lizzy has been covered by countless other artists. Iron Maiden did a cover of "Massacre" and released it as a b-side for their single "Can I Play With Madness", Anthrax released their version of "The Cowboy Song" on their album "The Sound of White Noise", Metallica did a cover of the Thin Lizzy classic, the Irish traditional "Whisky in the Jar" on their album of cover tunes "Garage Inc". These are just some examples of famous bands covering Thin Lizzy, but there are countless others.
Below are a few songs with a harder edge that I feel are great examples of what made them pioneers. If you decide to check them out, and I really think you should, keep in mind that this is hard rock from the 70's. A great place to start would be to get your hands on "Black Rose", "Thunder and Lightning" and "Bad Reputation". Put them into the CD player or turn on your iTunes and enjoy. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Live Long and Rock Hard,