In terms of 1970s hard rock acts, Thin Lizzy are at the very top of the pile. Defined by the twin-guitar attack that Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson perfected, the band created a harmonic yet thunderous sound, marking them out from the crowd of derivative bands that existed at the time.
Undoubtedly, the band’s most powerful weapon was their frontman and bassist Phil Lynott. Catching the eye for his striking appearance, Lynott always espoused an enchanting swagger, meaning that when it came to the live setting, audiences were at his beck and call. His style of vocal delivery combined that of the veteran Bluesmen of old with the more upbeat contemporary rock style, creating a warm tone unlike any other.
Added to Lynott’s magic was the fact that he was an incredible bass player. Although the duelling guitars of Thin Lizzy often made Lynott’s work on the four-string take a backseat role, when you actually pay attention to this rumbling low-end work, you notice just how adept at serving the song he was, and how he glued the whole thing together. He was the band’s power supply.
Whether it was blues, hard rock, metal, or traditional Irish music, Thin Lizzy had a distinctive sound that allowed them to assert their dominance and help move music on into the future. Without their contributions rock would look very different today, and much of this was down to Lynott, the brains of the operation. Duly, today he is regarded as one of the most important band leaders of his generation.
As Lynott tragically passed away in 1986, fans have wanted to get to know him better as the information on him is finite. Recently, an interview with Hot Press that he gave back in 1984 has been unearthed, and in it, he revealed the identity of the most difficult musician he ever worked with, and unsurprisingly, it was one of Thin Lizzy’s many guitarists.
He said: “Robbo – Brian Robertson. I started off by thinkin’ I’ll join a band where everybody is equal, and we can all do what we want, right? That’s okay if everybody is playin’ to the rules. But if somebody’s using a different set of rules…”
“I have this habit of thinkin’ that I’m really fair. There were some situations where Robbo was just impossible to work with. We’d be recordin’ – I always remember this, ‘cos it was the thing that triggered me into thinking that we really couldn’t work together – and he’d do a guitar solo, and I’d say, ‘Come in and check it out,’ and he’d go, ‘If it’s good enough, it’s good enough… Tell me which solo you want, and I’ll play it,’ that kind of thing.”
“Would he come in and listen to his guitar solo, and tell us it was what he wanted? No… but we’re still very good friends. Once we’re not in a band, it’s okay”, Lynott concluded.