Artist : Thin Lizzy
Album : Jailbreak
Released : March 26, 1976
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (An Absolute “MUST HAVE For Any Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Fan!)
Thin Lizzy may be the greatest, most influential band not to ever truly break in America. And no one really knows why. The music they made in the 1970s should’ve sold in the millions to the American audiences. It didn’t happen that way though, and now people like me who truly love this band freak out when a dopey radio disc jockey plays their song “The Boys Are Back In Town”, and calls them a “One Hit Wonder”, because this is a band that has one of the greatest bodies of work in music history. Not only has their music been instrumental and influential to Heavy Metal/Hard Rock music, but also to Punk, and R&B/Soul. Another travesty is most American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock fans don’t even know who one of the greatest frontmen/bass players of all time Phil Lynott.
Sadly as I stated before, in America when you mention the band Thin Lizzy, most people will know of one song that classic radio stations have played to death, “The Boys Are Back In Town”. A great song to say the least, but the album that the track comes from called “Jailbreak” is full of songs just as good or even better. Even when the record was about to be released the record company couldn’t decide what song to release as the first single. Songs like “Cowboy Song”, “Romeo And The Lonely Girl”, and the title track all had elements that could’ve become huge radio hits in America. An album full of some of the best Hard Rock music ever written. Led by the two guitar assault of Scott Gorham/Brian Robertson, drummer Brian Downey, and Phil’s excellent unforgettable voice and bass playing, the album is solid from start to finish, a band clicking on all cylinders. Absolutley not one weak moment or filler.
This would be an album that would influence countless Heavy Metal/Hard Rock artists. Especially with the two lead guitar style. The band would promote this record by opening for Rainbow, (Ritchie Blackmore was a huge fan of the band) but the tour would be cut short as lead singer Phil would get hepatitis. The timing couldn’t have been worse as the band was just reaching their peak, and getting recognition in America. With the time off Thin Lizzy would work on their follow up album almost just as great as this one called “Johnny The Fox” which would also be released in 1976.
Unfortunately though will Phil’s illness the band had lost all momentum they had worked so hard to achieve, most importantly in America. It also didn’t help that from the depression Phil also started using heroin. He would end up passing away at the age of 36 in 1986 of heart failure after years of abusing his body with drugs and alcohol. Such a tragic loss of one of the greatest musicians and songwriters of the 1970s. That being said it’s truly a shame he didn’t live to see how influential he, and the band he created has become. Not only did his success open the door from other bands from Ireland to gain success, (most notably U2) but his influence in both Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal has proven to be immeasurable, with countless bands, and musicians.
If you personally haven’t given this band a chance, then this is the perfect record to start with. It should be in every Heavy Metal/Hard Rock fan’s collection. Once you hear the greatness you too will wonder how this band never became more famous in America.
All songs written by Phil Lynott, except where noted.
“Jailbreak” – 4:01
“Angel from the Coast” (Lynott, Brian Robertson) – 3:03
“Running Back” – 3:13
“Romeo and the Lonely Girl” – 3:55
“Warrior” (Lynott, Scott Gorham) – 4:09
“The Boys Are Back in Town” – 4:27
“Fight or Fall” – 3:45
“Cowboy Song” (Lynott, Brian Downey) – 5:16
“Emerald” (Gorham, Downey, Robertson, Lynott) – 4:03