This band started out in 1969 in Dublin, Ireland. The band was originally named Funky Junction. But they soon changed their name to Thin Lizzy
. They contrived their name from the nickname of the Ford Model T(circa 1908-1927), which was referred to as the "Tin Lizzie." Maybe the modification of this nickname was influenced by the stereotypical "starving artists."Bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott was the undisputed leader of this band. He wrote most of their songs. He was one of the very few black hard rock artists of that time and probably even up to this day. His father(Cecil Parris) was an Afro-South American, allegedly from Brazil. His mother was an Irishwoman(Philomena Lynott). His father didn't take much responsibility for his son, so he was raised by his mother and her relatives.
were one of the hardest working hard rock bands of the time. They were almost always touring and squeezed in a lot of time for promotional activities. Their previous album, Jailbreak
was released in March 1976
. The band couldn't tour after this album, because Phil became very ill with hepatitus right after that album was released. So Phil took this time to write most of the songs for the Johnny the Fox
Album(released in August 1976
was why both of these albums were released in 1976
The first track, Johnny, is a bad ass tune that tells an exciting story about the reckless demise of a desperate dope addict. I can't elaborate on the subject matter of this song, because it involves crime and drugs. The lyrics of this song, written by Phil, exhibit his great talent for songwriting. This song has a lot of energy and really rocks. Most importantly, the music of this song was also very well written. This is a killer track. Rocky is about the life of a rock star. The lyrics are about the enthused fans and the chicks. This is a mildly heavy song, it rocks with a decent ryhthm, but it's not overly spectacular. Borderline is about someone drinking at a bar, who feels bad about his girlfriend dumping him. It's a slow and boring ballad. Don't Believe a Word
is about the sketchiness and deception of verbal expression. It must have really been about the temptations of all of the female fans, that Phil had encountered. According to Wikipedia this song was a hit single in England, but it doesn't reveal the chart position. This song is very melodic with sharp guitar riffs.
Almost 2 million Irish citizens immigrated to North
America in the mid-1800's, because of a famine in their homeland. Fools
Gold is about the dilemma of staying in Ireland to remain broke and hungry. Or immigrating to North
America to work their asses off. The gist of this song is about the overall toughness of life. Though this song rocks, it isn't nearly as intense as some of the other tracks on this album.
Johnny the Fox
Meets Jimmy The Weed
is about the rivalry between 2 street hustlers in Skid Row
(downtown Los Angeles
). This is a heavy song that rocks with a funky 1970's rhythm. It has some spectacular guitar riffs. I can detect some influences from Jeff Beck and Tommy Bolin
in this song.Old Flame
is a ballad about an ex-girlfriend, that he misses. It's got a soothing and relaxing sound. I prefer the the heavier songs to the ballads, but objectively, I've got to admit that this is a very fine song.Massacre
is a heavier song and rocks with a lot of melody. It's a very dramatic song, which describes a battle where 600 soldiers were slain.Sweet Marie
is another song about how someone misses his girlfriend. This time it's from the perspective of a rock star who's touring. This is a very slow love ballad. It reminds me of Barry Manilow. It is a high quality song, though I always skip it(except for now).
Boogie Woogie Dance is a killer song, with a lot of catchy bass hooks and emphatic special effects that were done with guitars. The lyrics of this song are how people dance differently in the countries of France, Spain, and Brazil. But this song is a killer metal jam, despite it's references to dancing. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.
This album wasn't as commercially successful as their previous album, Jailbreak
, but it does stand out as one of their better albums. It's also one of my all time favorite albums. They are a very unique band, they can be identified by the vocals of Phil as well as by their distinctive style. Thin Lizzy
has influenced many rock artists. Lynott preferred to play a Fender Precision Bass. His bass playing has influenced big time metal stars like Cliff Burton(Metallica
) and Les Claypool
). According to 2 separate accounts on Wikipedia, Lynott collapsed from kidney and liver infections on Christmas day 1985. Then he died of heart failure and pneumonia in a hospital, on January,4th, 1986. He was 36 years of age.