Wednesday, January 04, 2006

20 Years Ago Today - January 4th

August 20, 1949 - January 4, 1986

Phil Lynott is iconic to Umlaut not only because of Thin Lizzy, but also because of his legacy as a Black Irish Rock Star. Lynott's life story is so compelling. Raised by his single white mother in working class England and Ireland he dealt with profound racism from Day One.. Which no doubt fueled his artistic drive, but also contributed to his self-destructive ways.

Probably THE best Rock Star biography Umlaut has ever read is The Rocker by the late Mark Putterford. It's unflinching and informative with Putterford having interviewed over 40 of Lynott's friends, associates, and relatives, many for the first time. There's the classic story of Lynott's encounter with an Italian Mafioso-type in NYC while on tour and the guy exclaiming "Jesus Christ, the n*gger's a paddy!" (p. 163). Trivia: Lynott was a huge Manchester United fan. Of course, every Music Geek should own a copy of the Live & Dangerous album.

"I used to be a dreamer, but I realized that it's not my style at all.."

The final time Lynott played in S.F. (From the Timo Archives)

Submitted by Old Metal Erik:

Okay, Mr. Umlaut. You had to go and get me started! Lizzy is easily the most important and influential band for me...ever! I will attempt to keep this short and avoid gushing to the point of embarassment.

Way too much memorabilia to scan, so I've selected a few choice pieces. The Day On The Green pics are from July 4th, 1979 at Oakland Stadium. Also on the bill that day were The Rockets, Nazareth, UFO, J Geils and Journey. Whatever happened to shows like THAT!

I particularly love this shot of Phil and Gary Moore hanging at the backstage trailer:

Note Phil's pink Chelsea boots. "There goes the bandolero..."

Onstage in Oakland (Note Sid Vicious button - Pic by Harold O.)

1983 Kerrang #49?! The beginning of the end.

Recently I went to Dublin with my buddy Craig and the wives for the unveiling of the Phil statue. Amazing experience. 4,500 people crammed onto a Grafton side street, chanting the bass melody from 'Dancing In The Moonlight'. Shook hands with Scott Gorham, Robbo, Darren Wharton, Brush Shiels, Gary Moore, and even got interviewed by Dave Fanning from the Westbury Hotel, our interview being sandwiched in between Scott and Gary. Pretty surreal.

Erik, Scott Gorham, Craig

Saw the gravesite, the old backdrop, Phil's old 'hood, and capped the trip off with the big show at The Point, with Gary Moore headlining and featuring most of the important Lizzy members. A thrill, for sure, but a little disappointing in retrospect. Like a 10,000 person party with no guest of honor.

The original Lizzy stage backdrop

Today also marks the 20th Anniversary of the last time I skied. I got plowed into by some huge guy who had never skied and took a wrong turn at Alpine Meadows, broke my neck, got airlifted to Reno, only to find out that Phil had died. That was a bad day. Glad I made it.

Rest in peace Mr. Lynott. Your legacy lives on in a big way. More people love you today than on the day you left us. How many people can say that?

Phil Lynott Statue - Dublin, Ireland