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Bass Legends – Phil Lynott

January 12, 2012

Phillip Lynott (20 August 1949 – 4 January 1986) wasn’t just a legendary bass player – he also fronted, and wrote most of the songs for, his band Thin Lizzy. His playing style, like his stage persona, was aggressive and underpinned with violence. With Lynott the violence wasn’t an act, however – he was renowned for being tough and street-wise, and these sensibilities filtered through to his songwriting and fuelled his feral vocals and staccato basslines.

Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy were a quinessential hard rock 70s outfit, and Lynott’s unique songwriting, vocals and bass style were a key factor in this. They were not afraid to poke fun at themselves on occasion, or take themselves too seriously, and the band’s onstage unpredictability served to make each show an exciting event, loaded with possibility and chaos. Lynott’s playing was never technically outstanding, but it was always exhillirating, anchoring the (often erratic) music produced by the band, and allowing guitarist Gary Moore to stretch out wildly. His tone was enviable for any bassist.

Lynott died of multiple organ failure brought on by drug misuse  in January 1986. Click here for one of their greatest moments captured on video.

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