Profile of Phillip Lynott, Thin Lizzy frontman
(Telegraph) As a new exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of the Thin Lizzy frontman’s death, Neil McCormick wonders why he never quite attained the status of other fallen idols.
Growing up in Ireland in the Seventies, Phil Lynott was our local rock god. We weren’t exactly spoiled for choice, to be fair. Belfast born Van Morrison was always out of reach, operating on some ethereal plane of his own. Rory Gallagher was great, but there was something unimposing about him, like a farmer with an electric guitar. Later, Bob Geldof hijacked punk rock, and made us feel it was possible for an Irish chancer to take on the world. Then came U2, and the roar of the Celtic tiger.
But Lynott had something unique, an otherness, an alien mystique, that sets him apart. Tall, black, elegant, always beautifully dressed, he was almost impossibly cool when, really, it was just not considered cool to be Irish. Yet the Celtic twirls of Thin Lizzy’s breakthrough folk rock hit, ’Whiskey In The Jar’, and Lynott’s broad Dublin brogue and twinkling, friendly stage presence identified him as one of the people.