Phil Lynott was the archetypal 70s rock star with what could be argued are the archetypal set of rock star contradictions. Wild yet sensitive, sexual yet lyrical, this leather bound rocker also wrote some beautiful ballads. Wild One collects together the best of his work with Thin Lizzy and is an excellent representative collection.
After forming in Dublin in 1969, Lizzy had a one off hit in 1973 with a superb rock version of the Irish folk standard Whisky In The Jar. Whisky featured some exquisite work by original guitarist Eric Bell and is featured on Wild One along with another Bell co-composition The Rocker which showcased the harder sound to come. Bell was replaced soon after the band's "freak hit" with guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson joining Lynott and drummer Brian Downey to complete what was undoubtedly the definitive Lizzy line-up. Gorham and Robertson's dual riffing and harmonising guitars were key components of the classic Lizzy sound along with Lynott's tough yet occasionally sensitive vocals, lyrics and persona. Together they created several classics featured on Wild One such as Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back In Town, Don't Believe A Word and Bad Reputation over a series of hit albums. This culminated with the double Live & Dangerous LP (from which Rosalie and Still In Love With You are featured) which even now is still considered one of the best live albums of all time.
Unfortunately the youthful, fiery Robertson left the band soon after L&D and was replaced by a succession of guitarists over the next few years including Gary Moore, Snowy White and John Sykes. Although none of these line-ups quite matched the band with Robertson, they still produced some excellent music as featured tracks such as Do Anything You Want To and Chinatown testify as well as Gary Moore's solo single Parisienne Walkways which features vocals from Phil Lynott.
Thin Lizzy were the first rock band I saw live as a 15 year old on their farewell tour of 1983. Not a bad choice for a first gig though it was sadly one of the last concerts by this great band. Even more sadly, before I was 18 Phil Lynott was dead, a pointless victim of a lifetime of rock'n'roll indulgences.
Although acknowledged as a major act, it is perhaps surprising that Thin Lizzy are not more revered in the annals of rock music than they are. The sexism prevalent in much of their work may not have helped matters but this was the less politically correct 70s after all. Archetypal lyrics then by the archetypal rock star of his period, Wild One in an excellent, well-chosen overview of the tough yet sensitive Philip Lynott and is well worth acquiring.