Philip Parris Lynott was born on 20th August 1949 in West Bromwich, near Birmingham. The son of Philomena Lynott, a white Irish Catholic and Cecil Parris from Brazil, Phil was initially brought up in Moss Side, Manchester and moved to Ireland whilst still at school. He lived in Crumlin, Dublin with his grandparents.
His teenage years saw him join his first band, ‘The Black Eagles’, as the lead vocalist. The drummer of the band was Phil’s old school friend, Brian Downey. Moving on, Phil then joined Brush Sheils’ group, ‘Skid Row’ during which time he also began learning to play the bass. In 1968, ‘Belfast kid’ Gary Moore replaced the guitarist and a year later saw their first independently released single ‘New Faces, Old Places’.
When Brush Sheils decided to reform the band as a 3-piece, Phil left to start his own group, ‘Orphanage’ with Brian Downey on drums, Pat Quigley on bass and guitarist Joe Staunton. They were now also performing original material and as Brian Downey said: “Quite a few of the melodies that ended up on the first Lizzy album were being thrown around in Orphange.”
By the end of 1969 they were approached by experienced musician Eric Bell who suggested forming a new band with Phil and Brian, and together with Eric Wrixon on keyboards, the first configuration of Thin Lizzy was created.
What followed has been well documented with Thin Lizzy finding international success through a series of hit singles, albums, tours and varied line-ups through the years.
Phil remained the leading creative force behind the group and his mixture of poetry and rock proved to be as distinctive and original as the twin-guitar sound they pioneered to deliver their work.
In 1979 he recorded a Christmas single, ‘A Merry Jingle’, under the name “The Greedies” (shortened from “The Greedy Bastards”). This featured other Lizzy members, along with Steve Jones and Paul Cook fo the ‘Sex Pistols’.
The early 1980s saw Phil produce two widely acclaimed solo albums, ‘Solo In Soho’ and ‘The Philip Lynott Album’ and when the band eventually broke up in 1983, Phil started up ‘Grand Slam’ with Laurence Archer on guitars, Robbie Brennan on drums, Doish Nagle on rhythm guitar and Mark Stanway on keyboards. Debuting in London in June 1984, the band was well-received and continued to gig throughout that year ending with a show at the Marquee in London on December 4th.
Phil also worked with Gary Moore on Moore’s tracks, ‘Parisienne Walkways’ which went to number 8 in 1979 and ‘Out In The Fields’ which reached number 5 on release in May 1985.
Although he had begun work on a new album, Phil finally succumbed to the excesses of his lifestyle and died on 4th January 1986. He left behind a legacy of work that continues to inspire and captivate audiences old and new, and carved out his well-deserved place among the greats of 20th century musicians.