Monday 24 July 2017

Fans get their Phil as lost Thin Lizzy treasure surfaces

Phil Lynott
on stage
with Thin
Lizzy
Phil Lynott on stage with Thin Lizzy
The new album cover minus name and logo
Thin Lizzy in 1978
Live & Dangerous artwork - release 1978
Brian Robertson (guitar) Phil Lynott (bass) Scott Gorham (guitar)
Thin Lizzy 1978
Live & Dangerous artwork - release 1978
Thin Lizzy in 1977

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

FOR years we were told 'home taping' was killing music.

But fans of Thin Lizzy have been thanked by a record label after providing a home taping of the rock group's first BBC session.

It had been thought that no recording of that historic session existed -- but it now makes up a central part of a new €90 boxset.

'Thin Lizzy -- Live at the BBC' features over 80 songs recorded by Phil Lynott and the group during the '70s and '80s.

But because the BBC wiped many of the recordings after they were broadcast, Universal Music had to appeal to fans for help with lost sessions.

After posting messages to social-networking sites, label bosses were stunned when they received a home-taped cassette of Thin Lizzy's very first BBC session.

It dates from July 7, 1971, and was recorded for Stuart Henry's 'Sounds of the '70s' show on the BBC.

It was previously believed to have been lost forever.

"This is almost the Holy Grail to fans as this session is not only Thin Lizzy's first for the BBC, but probably the first time they were played on the radio," said Steve Hammonds, of Universal, who oversaw the new project.

Despite being recorded on cassette, studio engineers were able to remove any hiss from the tape, and boost and deepen the sound recordings to CD quality.

It means Lynott originals 'Look What The Wind Blew In' and 'Return of The Famer's Son' feature as opening tracks on the new boxset.

That 1971 Thin Lizzy line-up featured Lynott, original guitarist Eric Bell, and Brian Downey on drums.

But subsequent guitarist Scott Gorham revealed how the group almost split over a later BBC session -- and some facial hair.

Session

"We hadn't seen each other for about two weeks, and drummer Brian Downey turned up at the BBC session with a beard," he said. "Phil Lynott went mad at him saying, 'I'm the only one in Thin Lizzy who's allowed to have facial hair', and he demanded that Brian shave it off right there.

"Brian refused and there was a huge row between them. Thankfully, Brian relented and agreed to shave but the headlines could have been 'Lizzy splits as drummer won't shave'."

Fellow guitarist Brian Robertson credits the influential Radio One DJ John Peel with getting their foot in the door with the BBC. Their second BBC session in November 1972 was for Peel.

"John Peel was a major fan and a big supporter of Thin Lizzy in the early days. That counted for a lot. Doing sessions for his radio show gave us a huge platform in the UK," he said.

The band did 14 sessions in total for the BBC, and the boxset contains six CDs and one DVD.

Universal Music has said its release is a direct result of fresh interest in the band from fans around the world.

"There has been a phenomenal resurgence of interest in Thin Lizzy during the past 12 months," Mr Hammonds said.

"Part of it is due to Thin Lizzy going back out on the road as a live band.

"For example, they played Slane Castle this year with the Kings Of Leon, who have cited them as an influence and have helped introduce them to a new generation of fans.

"The 25th anniversary of Phil Lynott passing this year has also been a factor; Phil Lynott remains an icon of rock and icons stay with us forever."

Deluxe remastered versions of Thin Lizzy albums 'Nightlife' (1974) and 'Fighting' (1975) will also be released next February.

The original Thin Lizzy split in 1983 with singer and songwriter Lynott passing away on January 4, 1986, from heart failure and pneumonia. He was aged just 36.

The boxset, which is released today, retails at €90.

A two-disc edition is available for €10.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment