“Now some people say that it ain’t right…
And some people say nothing at all.
But even in the darkest of night…
You can always hear the king’s call.”
Before U2 put Ireland on the map as a music center, Thin Lizzy were Dublin’s only Rock N Roll export. With hits “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Jailbreak”, they experienced only minor commercial success in the USA but became legends in their native Europe. They were led by the engaging Philip Lynott on bass and vocals. Lynott was a true original, as poetic as Jim Morrison and charismatic as Jimi Hendrix. Like those legends, his brief life was punctuated with a catastrophe of great material that is only still being unearthed today.
Thin Lizzy released a string of albums, beginning in 1971 with the Decca Records release “Thin Lizzy”. Their twin lead guitar attack became their trademark, along with Lynott’s soulful singing and writing. Their songs reflected Lynott’s fascination with Irish traditions and folklore. By mixing folk inspired lyrics with hard rock, blues and soul, the group managed to release albums that appealed to a wide variety of listeners. Unfortunately the group disbanded in 1983, leaving Lynott to continue as a solo act.
Before the disbanding of Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott released his inaugural solo effort “Solo in Soho” on Warner Brothers Records in 1980. The album featured most of the Thin Lizzy lineup, including guitarist Gary Moore, as well as Lynott admirers Huey Lewis and Mark Knopfler. Knopfler played a stinging guitar solo and sang background on the single ‘King’s Call’. The Lynott-penned track is sure to be noted as one of the first songs to lament the death of Elvis Presley. It is a fitting tribute to the King, with the lyrics describing Lynott’s very personal experience on the day of Presley’s passing. Knopfler also marks his first foray into memorializing Elvis, as he later wrote and recorded tributes of his own: “Calling Elvis” and “Back to Tupelo”, respectively.
The song became a minor hit in Britain and was one of Lynott’s last before his untimely death in 1986, at the age of 36. His tragic passing, like that of Elvis Presley and other icons, will forever be a footnote to the music he created and legacy he has left behind.