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13 November 2014

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You are in: Birmingham > People > Stories > Phil Lynott remembered

Thin Lizzy perform Rosalie on TOTP, 1978

Top Of The Pops, 1978

Phil Lynott remembered

The Birmingham-born former lead singer of legendary rock band Thin Lizzy died aged 36 after battling against drug and alcohol addiction. He would have been 60-years-old on 20 August, 2009.

Philip Parris Lynott was the distinctive-voiced lead singer and bassist of Thin Lizzy, who found fame in the 1970s with hits like The Boys Are Back In Town and Dancing in the Moonlight.

Philomena Lynott with her son

Philomena Lynott with her son

Yet only diehard fans will know that this iconic rocker was actually born in Selly Park in South Birmingham, and that he recorded what is believed to be his last song with a Brummie artist, three weeks before his death.

Thin Lizzy split up in 1984 to allow Lynott to go it alone, but his solo career never really got off the ground.

'Lost song'

“Phil Lynott left a very strong and powerful legacy that continues to filter through to the music and culture scenes to this day,” argues Paul Murphy, lead singer of Birmingham band The Destroyers.

Colbert Hamilton with Paul Murphy - picture by Ellie Gibbons

Colbert Hamilton with Paul Murphy

Murphy has been researching Lynott’s journey from Birmingham to Dublin for a documentary being broadcast in full on BBC WM on Jimmy Franks’ show on Saturday 22 August (between 1200 to 1400 BST).

A ‘lost song’, which is quite possibly Lynott's very last recording, was uncovered by Murphy.

The track, called 'Do You Want To Rock?', was produced by Lynott and sung by Birmingham musician Colbert Hamilton, and features the rock legend on bass and backing vocals.

Gathering dust

It was recorded in Lynott's home studio in Richmond, less than three weeks before his death.

Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy

"The audio is a bit rough as it was very much a work in progress, but Lynott's unmistakable sound can be heard throughout," says Murphy.

Hamilton, the song's co-writer and lead singer, reveals that the track had been sitting under his bed gathering dust for over 25 years.

“He was on the ball in terms of his playing but he was going at his own pace,” says Hamilton.

Really fresh

“I was aware through my manager of the time that he was taking drugs and looking back he was in poor health.

“I didn’t even realise at the time that he was born in Birmingham.”

 Jez Collins, head of Birmingham Music Archive, was impressed with the track.

Thin Lizzy, Top Of The Pops, 1973

Thin Lizzy, Top Of The Pops, 1973

“It just sounds really, really fresh, and it’s hard to believe it was recorded nearly 25 years ago,” he says.

Involved in drugs

“I just think it’s down and dirty; it’s got a really nice bass-line and the vocals come thorough really powerfully.

“Lynott is an icon of rock and I really hope Colbert will do something with it because I definitely think there’s some mileage in it.”

Lynott struggled to deal with the pressures of his career and had well-documented drug and alcohol problems.

Intensive care

He died on 4 January 1986 from heart failure and pneumonia after an 11-day fight for his life.

Phil Lynott's grave - picture by Ellie Gibbons

Phil Lynott's grave

The 36-year-old rock star had been admitted to Salisbury Hospital in Wiltshire with a serious kidney and liver infection on Christmas Day, after he collapsed from a drink and drug binge at his home in Surrey.

His estranged wife, Caroline, the daughter of TV celebrity Leslie Crowther, had rushed to help him, driving 100 miles (160km) from her house in Bath to his mansion in Kew.

She drove him first to a specialist drugs clinic in Wiltshire, where doctors recommended that he should be admitted to Salisbury's intensive care unit.

Dublin statue

Ms Crowther and her father had kept an all-night vigil by the singer's hospital bed before he died.

Scott Gorham

Scott Gorham

Fellow Thin Lizzy member, Scott Gorham said that his problem got worse when his wife left him and took their two children.

He said: "I suppose he thought drugs would help him out of the low spots".

Grafton Street

Lynott was born in Woodville Convent Home, known as the 'home for unmarried mothers', on 20 August 1949, and baptised in St Edwards Church on 4 September the same year. Both are in Raddlebarn Road, Selly Park.

He left behind two daughters, Sara, then aged seven, and Cathleen, then aged five.

Philomena Lynott

Philomena Lynott

A statue commemorating Lynott, who grew up in Ireland, stands in Dublin off the city's busy Grafton Street.

He is buried in St. Fintan's cemetery, in Sutton, Dublin.

His mother Philomena Lynott, 79, still lives in Dublin.

last updated: 20/08/2009 at 12:59
created: 19/08/2009

Have Your Say

Pay your tribute to Phil Lynott

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

mark goode
phil god bless you, got a thin lizzy and phil lynott tatoo so you will be with me to the end

Dancing in the Moonlight was never released here in Canada, perhaps because of its similarity to another song.Boys are Back in Town was, though, and it meant so much to me. It was magical for me to discover Dancing in the Moonlight many years after the fact (just recently, so Phil had been dead for many years) and to slowly become obsessed with the band, mostly through Youtube.I am an alcoholic, so I don't really have the right to say this, but Phil, we wish that you had stayed here longer. I love your voice, and your legs, and your band. And it has been such a treat for me to discover you many years after you died. Which is weird, I know.

rock crowdog
phil lynott was a inspiration to all peoples of color and exspecially my race the american indian. people say there is no place for our race in rock n roll just like they did phil. his music will inspire others forever

Rowan Campbell
Iam a huge Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy!I think Phil Lynott was one of the greatest frontmen ever superb bass player and songwriter.I saw two phil Lynott documentaries The rocker and wild one.Phil Lynott is one of my music heroes.He was one cool dude with charisma.I salute you Phil.The live and Dangerous concert is awsome wow what a show!

michael williamson
thin lizzy the group inthe sventies i like his music and i like all his song god bless to you

David Freitas
Phil Lynott " Best there is Best there was Best they will ever be " See you at God's Tavern.

Theo Ekelschot
Phil is gone but his music will go on FOREVER !!

the friendly ranger
Tell me the legends of long ago . . . 23 years and it does not get any easier. Still in love with you. God bless ya Philo !

Thank you Phil you wrote the theme tune to my lifeHappy birthday we miss you bud!

Lynne & Mark Bradley
The Sun will never go down on Phil's memory.Happy 60th Phillip.xxxx

Richard Bailey
Great tunes, great lyrics. Two of my favourites, Randolph's Tango (proving you can be a hard charger and still be sensitive)and Don't believe a word which has one of the best; less is more, guitar solos of all time. Long live the legacy!

Paul Hicks
A legend who will live forever he was the ultimate ROCKER His music will outlast us all HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHIL

Legend, gone but not forgotten.

Thanks to everyone concerned for reminding others of Philips legacy.

Phil O
Happy Birthday to Philip, our Main Man.Also please checkout Thin Lizzy - A Rock Legend - and my own (sadly neglected) site

Dawn McCarrick
Was great to take part in this morning's interview on he Breakfast Show! Big thanks to Radio WM for taking such a big interest in the Man and His Music!Happy Birthday Philip - Slainte!

Happy birthday!Will allways remember you and the music you gave us.

Happy B day Philip,may we never forget you.

Linda Salcido
This Mexican Girl joined his fan club back in the 80's, when the news heart was forever broken. His music lives on in so many peoples heart, souls and memories. "Still In Love With You" he knew exactly how I was feeling. Rest in Peace my friend.

Jez Collins
One of the great rock groups and one of the ultimate front men. Happy Birthday Phil

Jörgen Oskarsson
You left us too early. Your music lives forver. Still No 1 for me.

Peter Nielsen
Here is my never-ending tribute to Phil

A rock legend, Happy Birthday!

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