Thin Lizzy came into being in 1969, formed by Brian Downey and Phil Lynott. They were school mates and would share a bit of history in the music business. Phil Lynott’s first gig was as vocalist for The Black Eagles in 1963, his pal Brian Downey joined in 1965. This was an exciting time of growth in recorded music, and record albums were flying off the shelves. Movement is constant in the entertainment industry and another opportunity came up for Phil in 1967. Fellow Irish musician Brush Sheils asked him to join his band Skid Row, which is where Phil first got to work with guitarist Gary Moore.

Phil Lynott was fired from Skid Row in 1969 after a not so successful television performance by his friend Brush Sheils. They continued their friendship, being fired is not uncommon in the entertainment business. Sheils even taught Phil how to play bass guitar after all that. Now that’s a true friend.

Phil Lynott then decided to form Orphanage, again with his friend drummer Brian Downey. One night during a performance by Orphanage at a pub in Dublin two other musicians heard the band and approached Lynott and Downey about forming a new band. After much discussion, planning and playing together, a year later in 1970 they announced the birth of Thin Lizzy. Their first live gig was at a school hall, and in July 1970 EMI Records released their first single “The Farmer/I Need You” but it sold very few copies.

The band was later signed to Decca Records and Phil Lynott who was firmly in charge of the band moved the operation to London. They stumbled through their career in the early 70’s with recordings that just did not generate a lot of interest. Guitarist Eric Bell left the band in 1973, this is where Phil’s old pal Gary Moore enters the picture with Thin Lizzy for the first of several times.

The Album that put this band on the map was The Boy are Back in town, released in 1975 and generated airplay on radio around the world. The Irish rockers Thin Lizzy had officially arrived and made its mark in music history. The mid 70’s found them on some of the biggest tours in America including our own Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, and in Europe supporting Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The band would exist in many forms and Gary would come and go a couple more times, but in 1983 Phil threw in the towel and formed a new band called Grand Slam, but were never able to get signed by a label.

Sadly in 1986 Phil Lynott passed at age 36 from complications due to drug dependency. The music of Thin Lizzy was all either written or co-written by Phil. He leaves us his legacy in music.

After a career with Thin Lizzy and a solo career that spanned from 1978 through 2011, Gary Moore had released 18 solo albums. Gary sadly passed in February 2011 while on holiday with his girlfriend in Estepona Spain. He suffered a heart attack in his sleep, brought on by a high level of alcohol in his system.

94.9 WMMQ logo
Get our free mobile app

I’m sure Gary and Phil both would still appreciate it if when listening to Thin Lizzy, turn it up loud! They were after all an Irish hard rock band.

Thin Lizzy

Irish Rock band Thin Lizzy

Still photos for this gallery came from this video created by Music DV Is Life

MORE: The 10 Greatest 3 Piece Bands in Classic Rock




UP NEXT: The Top Ten Athletes Who Played for The University of Michigan


UP NEXT: Nine Things We've Missed During the Pandemic


More From 94.9 WMMQ