Band Biographies: Brian Downey

Born in Dublin on 27th January 1951, Brian Michael Downey and Philip Lynott first met at school. Although Brian was two years younger than Phil, they began a friendship which would last until Phil’s death in 1986.

Growing up in Crumlin, a town near Dublin, Brian’s early musical influences came from his father who played in a local pipe band and loved jazz, and together with 60’s heroes the Kinks, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, set Brian on his musical journey that still continues.

Brian started his career with a series of local bands including ‘The Liffey Beats’ and ‘Mod Con Cave Dwellers’. One of the first bands Brian played in with Phil on lead vocals, was ‘The Black Eagles’.

After the band split they went their separate ways with Brian joining ‘Sugar Shack’. Back with Phil in 1969 they formed ‘The Orphange’ with guitarist Joe Staunton and Pat Quigley on bass. This period helped cement their working relationship and established the sort of band they ultimately wanted to create.

Soon after, they met with guitarist Eric Bell and keyboard player Eric Wrixon, and the first incarnation of Thin Lizzy was born.

Along with Phil, Brian is the only other original member to remain with Thin Lizzy from the beginning to the end. Throughout his career there have been many highlights including numerous chart successes and legendary live performances such as his tour de force drum solo in the song ‘Sha La La’ during 1978’s Live and Dangerous.

Brian still lives in Dublin and since Thin Lizzy he has formed several different bands, playing the blues.