10 Best Thin Lizzy Songs
Choosing the 10 Best Thin Lizzy songs is a difficult task. They had a distinct style all their own, featured great players throughout their career and were a powerhouse live act. Most importantly, in Phil Lynott, they had a first class songwriter. While always a near impossible task to pick a mere ten songs out of a vast catalog of any given artist, it's particularly so when said catalog is as great as Lizzy's! 'Suicide,' 'Waiting For An Alibi,' and 'Killer Without A Cause' are but a few songs that could have easily been invited to the party here, but alas, ten it is. So keeping that in mind, we give you our list of the 10 Best Thin Lizzy songs.
‘Dancing In The Moonlight’
“Dancing in the Moonlight' is not your typical Lizzy song. This track swings, grooves and heats to a boil as the guitar shares spotlight with a saxophone player. This beauty is actually quite far away from the hard rock terrain the boys were usually treading on. It's a pop song that pretty much defies classification. A top twenty hit in the UK, the song sadly failed to chart in the states.
'The Rocker' is easily one of the best songs in Thin Lizzy's arsenal. Issued as a single, as well as showing up on their 1973 album 'Vagabonds of the Western World,' 'The Rocker' is…well…a rocker! Credited to the entire band lineup (Lynott, Downey and guitarist Eric Bell), it's a gritty, primal rock and roll song. No pretense, no frills, no apologies … in the words of Chuck Berry, they simply 'let it rock!' A single edit of the song was issued, but again, outside of Ireland, failed to make a dent.
'Emerald' closes the 'Jailbreak' album in perfect order. It's one of the band's heaviest and most menacing songs, as the intertwined guitars manage to wrap themselves around the listeners head. A real live tour de force, it's one of the best examples of Lizzy's pure musicianship, as the band seems to have free reign for the entire last half of the song. The guitars soar to the heavens above, and you, dear listener, get to go along for the ride.
'Little Darling' is a perfect little pop track that also manages to rock out. It's what rock and roll was, is and, with some exceptions, should be about — a catchy song clocking in at just under three minutes and delivered with a visceral punch. Gary Moore's guitar work is all aces, while the horns add a certain vintage rock and roll feel to the whole thing. In a word, perfect!
‘Do Anything You Want To’
Not to be confused with the 1977 Eddie & The Hot Rods song of the same title, 'Do Anything You Want To Do' is certainly one of Thin Lizzy's best songs. This classic rocker from the band's 1979 'Black Rose' album features galloping drums and twin lead guitars — all the trademarks of classic Thin Lizzy. Still, for some reason, it failed to make a commercial dent. (Anybody sensing a theme here?) Gary Moore returned to the fold to deliver some of his best work with the band. As the song fades out, Phil Lynott reminds us that “Elvis is dead…the king of rock and roll is dead.” Maybe so, but Lynott still had some life left in him, and the entire 'Black Rose' album is proof of that.
‘Don’t Believe a Word’
'Don't Believe a Word' is hands down the highlight of the 'Johnny the Fox' album. As if releasing 'Jailbreak' wasn't enough for one year, the band found time to issue this follow-up toward the end of 1976. Compared to the mega success of 'Jailbreak,' 'Johnny The Fox' fell flat in sales and critical acclaim. Still, despite not having the cohesiveness of it's predecessor, it remains a very fine album, and 'Don't Believe A Word' definitely leads the way. A surging groove moves the song along with yet another raunchy, rocking riff at the song's core.
The 'Jailbreak' album produces another fine gem. Co-written with long time drummer Brian Downey, 'Cowboy Song' is the wild west brought to life Lizzy style. Yet another perfect example of their legendary twin guitar attack, the song was a concert staple for many years. Phil Lynott always had a way with riffs and melodies, and here we have both on display. The band dynamics push the song full steam ahead. A real prize of a song!
‘Whiskey in the Jar’
'Whiskey In The Jar' was a traditional Irish folk song adapted by Lynott and crew. Dating back to somewhere in the first part of the 17th century, 'Whiskey' has been covered by many over the years from folk acts like the Seekers and Peter, Paul & Mary to Jerry Garcia and, most recently, Metallica. Thin Lizzy's version is, perhaps, the most famous and was a huge hit in Lynott's native Ireland where it rode atop the charts there for over three months in 1972.
The title cut from the band's breakthrough 1976 album, 'Jailbreak' is riff rock heaven and an easy pick for the 10 best Thin Lizzy songs. It's also one of precious few Lizzy tunes embraced by US radio over the years. The somewhat sinister sounding verse gives way to a triumphant chorus before the ultimate climax of the 'breakout' section. The dual guitars of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson blend perfectly while the rhythm section of Lynott and drummer Brian Downey make this 100% pure unadulterated rock and roll. Though it might be obvious to state, the entire 'Jailbreak' album is a total classic — if you've never heard the whole thing please do so at once.
‘The Boys Are Back in Town’
What else could have been the number one Thin Lizzy song?! The track most readily identified with Lizzy, and still heard any given day on any classic rock radio station, 'The Boys Are Back in Town' was the calling card from their classic 'Jailbreak' album. Those twin lead guitars are prominently on display, surrounding a hook to die for that helped propel the single to just outside the US Top Ten (#12) and forever cemented their legacy. The song has taken on a life of its own over the ensuing decades, but is unfortunately the only song most of America knows by the band, which, of course, is a damn shame.