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- Phil Lynott
Philip Parris Lynott (20 August 1949 – 4 January 1986) was the front man of the band Thin Lizzy.
Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General Hospital) in West Bromwich (then in Staffordshire), England, the son of a black Brazilian father, named Parris, and an Irish Catholic mother, Philomena (aka Phyllis) Lynott, whose surname he took. His father left his mother just three weeks after he was born and returned to his native Brazil. Philip was brought up in Crumlin, Dublin by his grandmother, Sarah. His parents reportedly kept in touch for a number of years after his birth.
In the mid-1960s, Lynott began singing in his first band, the Black Eagles. It was around this time that he befriended Brian Downey. He formed Thin Lizzy around 1969 in Dublin after a short stint in Skid Row with Gary Moore. Lynott was the main songwriter for Thin Lizzy, as well as the lead singer and bassist. Lynott was half black, and was inspired by Jimi Hendrix as an example of how a black man could be successful fronting a hard rock band. Their first top ten hit was in 1973 with the traditional Irish song "Whiskey In The Jar".
In 1978, he was featured in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, singing and speaking the role of The Parson. In 1979 he recorded a Christmas single, "A Merry Jingle", featuring other members of Thin Lizzy as well as Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols.
Though Thin Lizzy were still enjoying considerable success, in 1980 Phil Lynott launched a solo career with the album Solo in Soho, which was a Top 30 UK album and yielded two hit singles that year, "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts" and "King's Call". The latter was a tribute to Elvis Presley, and featured Mark Knopfler on guitar. His second solo venture, The Phil Lynott Album was a chart flop, despite the presence of the single "Old Town", which became a hit many years later for the Corrs. The song "Yellow Pearl" (1982), was a Top 20 hit and became the theme tune to Top of the Pops.
Also in 1980 he married Caroline, the daughter of British comedian, Leslie Crowther and they had a child, Sarah. That year she also gave birth to their second baby daughter, Cathleen.
In 1983 Thin Lizzy disbanded, and later that year he recorded a rock'n'roll medley single, "We Are The Boys (Who Make All The Noise)" with Roy Wood, Chas Hodges and John Coughlan, and collaborated with former bandmate blues,/ rock guitarist Gary Moore on "Out in the Fields" (a No. 5 UK hit in 1985, his highest-charting single ever) and "Parisienne Walkways" (a UK no. 8 hit). His last single, "Nineteen", released a few weeks before his death, was produced by Paul Hardcastle. It bore no relation to the producer's chart-topping single some months earlier.
Lynott's last years were dogged by drug and alcohol dependency, and the night of December 25 in 1985, he had a health breakdown caused by a heroin overdose, collapsed and was sent to Salisbury Infirmary, where he died on January 4, 1986 at the age of 36.
A life-size, anatomically correct, bronze statue of Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street, Dublin in 2005. The ceremony was attended by former band members Gary Moore, Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham, and by Lynott's mother. Thin Lizzy played together live for the first time in 19 years.
On November 2005, American actor Gary Dourdan revealed in a radio interview that he has carried out preliminary work with a view to playing Phil Lynott in a possible film biography.
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