Thursday 18 July 2019

'We all thought he'd pull through'

Friend says Lynott is still missed 25 years on

Fiona Ellis

IT WAS described as "the day the world came down" when one of Ireland's rock'n'roll trailblazers died 25 years ago.

Iconic singer, songwriter and Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott died aged just 36 on January 4, 1986.

"We always thought he had the constitution of an ox," long-term friend Smiley Bolger said last night.

"We knew he wasn't looking the best but everyone thought he was going to pull through."

The news of Lynott's death from complications arising from drug abuse surprised many.

"He kept it all pretty quiet, same as Gerry Ryan, not everybody knew," Mr Bolger said. "I knew he dabbled, but I didn't know he was dabbling that heavily.

"It was like losing a family member; it took me and all the other people close to him a long, long time to get over it. He was missed and he is still missed."

Lynott's mother Philomena has always been one of his strongest advocates and said that it only seemed like yesterday the legendary musician was with her. But she takes comfort in his fans who visit her home around this sad time.

"The last 25 years have flown away from me, but all the fans keep me warm," she said.

This evening, the boys are back in town as part of the Vibe for Philo annual event.

Former Thin Lizzy bandmates Brian Robertson and Eric Bell will be headlining the 'Black Rose' theme gig at Vicar Street, Dublin, an event that came about when Lynott asked Mr Bolger in 1981 to "do a vibe for me sometime". Tickets, from €40, are still available.

Before that, though, there is a chance for musicians of all ages to play along with some of the Thin Lizzy boys at Flash Mob for Philo at 2pm in the capital's Button Factory.

Friends, family and former bandmates have also teamed up with 'Hot Press' magazine to create the biggest ever collection of memorabilia, which tells Lynott's story.

The exhibition at the Green Gallery in Stephen's Green Shopping Centre will run throughout March. It will display items never seen in public, among them birthday cards the singer sent to his mother, school reports and a gift he got of shares in Manchester United.

Also featured are jackets worn by the singer and handwritten lyric books.

Irish Independent

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