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Thin Lizzy: Jailbreak

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Published on Aug 10, 2010

Thin Lizzy are an Irish hard rock band who formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. The two founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist/vocalist Phil Lynott met each other while still in school. Lynott, with an engaging and charismatic personality, took up the role of frontman and speaker for the band and led them throughout their recording career of thirteen studio albums. Thin Lizzy are best known for their songs "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town", all major international hits still played regularly on hard rock and classic rock radio stations. After Lynott died, various incarnations of the band have emerged over the years culminating in the most stable line-up based around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, however Sykes left the band in June 2009.

Thin Lizzy's leader, Lynott was composer or co-composer of almost all their songs. He was one of the few black men to achieve commercial success in hard rock, and was the first black Irishman to do so. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including country music, psychedelic rock, Irish music and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal. Rolling Stone magazine describes the band as distinctly hard rock, "far apart from the braying mid-70s metal pack".

Critic for Allmusic John Dougan has written that "As the band's creative force, Lynott was a more insightful and intelligent writer than many of his ilk, preferring slice-of-life working-class dramas of love and hate influenced by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually all of the Irish literary tradition." Van Morrison, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix were major influences during the early days of the band, and later influences included American artists Little Feat and Bob Seger.

Thin Lizzy were ranked #51 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.

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