Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band who formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. The band was originally led by bassist, songwriter and singer Phil Lynott. They are best known for their 1976 songs Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back in Town, both major international hits still played regularly on hard rock and classic rock radio stations.
Critic John Dugan writes 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 was a major influence as revealed in an interview with Phil Lynott in the movie Thin Lizzy the Rocker: A Portrait of Phillip Lynott. American groups Little Feat and Bob Seger also influenced Lizzy. Their music covered much territory (including hints of country and traditional folk music), but is generally classified as traditional heavy metal or hard rock.
Though others had earlier used similar techniques, Thin Lizzy is widely recognised as one of the first hard rock bands to employ double lead guitar harmony (the twin guitar clash) - a technique pioneered by Wishbone Ash in the UK, whilst independently in the USA by Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band. This style was later refined and popularised by bands of the emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden especially. The latter group in particular has praised Thin Lizzy extensively and even covered the song "Massacre" from Lizzy's popular Live and Dangerous album. Examples of this dual guitar harmony technique include "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Cowboy Song" from Jailbreak. Brian Robertson's unconventional use of the wah-pedal as an extension of the instrument during soloing rather than as a purely rhythmic effect, as described in the Total Accuracy video "Still in Love with the Blues" (featuring Brian Robertson & Stuart Bull), is a distinctive and influential sound.
Lynott is one of the few black men to achieve significant success in hard rock. As well as being a multiracial band, members were drawn from both sides of the Irish border and from both Catholic and Protestant communities.
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