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Monday, August 30, 2004


My brother blogged about his birthday last week, and many of us wished him well, as I do again now in conjunction with my favorite all time frontman (my definition) who shares his birthday with Fred. Phillip Parris Lynott was born on August 20th, 1949. A true original, Phil broke down barriers wherever he went. The first Irish rock star ( I suppose one could argue that Van Morrison wears that crown, but have you ever seen Van in leather?), and the only (that I know of) black Irish rock star, Phil brought soul to hard rock, and Ireland to the world. We lost Phil in January, 1986. A victim of his chosen vocation, and the illusuion that he created, Phil lived hard and died bad. His legacy, however, continues to inspire (the Darkness) and the official Thin Lizzy website (http://www.thin-lizzy.net/) is hub of activity twenty years after the fact. Every year, in January, Philomena, Phil's mum, hosts 'The Vibe For Philo" in his honor (http://www.vibeforphilo.com/) and someday I will attend. In the meantime; a happy birthday to Phil, and my brother.

I remember Alan Jackson breaking the news of Phil's passing to me while zoning out to MTV while on break from college, "...Some breaking news, Phil Lynott, the frontman, song writer, and bass player for the hard rock outfit Thin Lizzy was found dead today from an apparent overdose. He was 37 years old. (somber pause for phony sentiment)...I'll have that Oingo Boingo video when we return after these messages".

My brother and I bought "Live and Dangerous" from the PX on the strength of the album cover alone and were not at all disappointed by what the double album had in store for us. Thin Lizzy was one of those bands that defied any typical genre enough to create what I can only imagine must have been a struggle for Phil between him and his record company. It took a little while to pick up the groove of what they were playing honestly. My brother and I were so thoroughly entrenched into the Aerosmith/Ted Nugent world of hard rock that something with a little flavor was a challenge, but we kept on listening to it and eventually fell in love with it from beginning to end. I would speculate that Phil was probably under constant pressure to alter his band's sound to be more like "Them", but from listening to his entire discography it seems that he never compromised anything to them.

I always wonder what all these rock and roll suicide victims would be doing now if they had ever successfully navigated their vices and lived. What kind of music they would be playing. Phil is one that I often think about in this context (Hendrix & Randy Rhodes are others).

Sleep well Phil and happy birthday.
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