Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott recalls starting out in the music business and seeking fame and fortune in London.
Musician Brush Shiels remembers meeting Phil Lynott for the first time in 1967 when he was singing in the covers band the Black Eagles with Brian Downey on drums. Brush was in the process of forming the blues rock band Skid Row and knew he wanted either Phil as lead vocalist or Peter Adler, the son of harmonica player Larry Adler.
He wouldn’t do it so I went along to Phil, I asked him if he’d do it and Phil said he would do it if I took Brian Downey as well.
Brian Downey however had other ideas, and he went to play with the Sugarshack. Bush wanted Phil in the band was because,
He looked great, that was the only reason, I didn’t even know if he could sing...he was the best looking guy walking down Grafton Street in 1967 and he always dressed great, and he looked great.
Phil Lynott wanted to be an architect but the only job he ever had was as an apprentice fitter and turner in the Tonge and Taggart foundry in Dublin’s East Wall. At this point the Black Eagles were doing weekend gigs and as he was earning more money from music, he gave up the day job.
It was Brush Shields who suggested Phil learn to play the bass guitar and ultimately decided when Phil was no longer necessary for the Skid Row line-up. At this time Sugarshack were starting to break up so Phil and Brian formed their own band, Orphanage, with Pat Quigley. When Orphanage split up, Phil and Brian formed Thin Lizzy with Eric Bell and Eric Wrixon.
In 1970 Think Lizzy went to London with managers Brian Tuite and Ted Carroll. Brush points out to leave Dublin was the only path available to the band.
Doesn't matter if you’re Michael Mac Liammóir or a guy selling newspapers if you want to do it right everybody thinks you have to go to London.
On the boat over to England, the band had a stroke of luck as BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel was a fellow passenger. Phil made himself known to the DJ.
I play in a group called Thin Lizzy, you know, any chance of getting of us on the show.
Peel was impressed by Phil's chutzpah and asked the band to look him up when they got to London. The ‘Peel Sessions’, were recorded by musicians in the BBC studios and then broadcast on the John Peel Show. These sessions often gave the first break to bands that would later achieve success. Between 1972 and 1977 Thin Lizzy recorded a total of nine Peel Sessions.
This documentary opens with footage of Phil leaving his grandparent’s home at 12 Leighlin Road in Crumlin where he was raised by his mother Philomena's parents.
'Renegade: The Philip Lynott Story' was broadcast on 19 March 1983. The writer and presenter is Dave Heffernan.