Top Of The Pops, 1978
Phil Lynott remembered
By Scott Faulkner
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
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.
“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
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.
It was recorded in Lynott's home studio in Richmond, less than three weeks before his death.
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.
“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
“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.
He died on 4 January 1986 from heart failure and pneumonia after an 11-day fight for his life.
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.
Ms Crowther and her father had kept an all-night vigil by the singer's hospital bed before he died.
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".
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.
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
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