Phil Lynott: Thin Lizzy legend’s musical influences ‘The love child of Elvis and Hendrix’

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Many major bands of the classic rock era sadly saw a member live fast and die young. One of these was Thin Lizzy founder Phil Lynott, who is now getting the documentary film treatment. caught up with director Emer Reynolds, a fellow Dubliner, who met the star before his untimely death in 1986 at the age of just 36.

A huge Thin Lizzy fan, Emer was introduced to Phil by her then boyfriend.

The award-winning filmmaker very briefly met the bassist when babysitting in Dublin during the Seventies.

Despite never really getting to know him personally, she felt: “The film was my chance to get to know him.”

For Phil Lynott: Songs For While I’m Away, Emer interviewed the Thin Lizzy legend’s closest friends and family, the women in his life, his bandmates and stars who’ve been influenced by him like Metallica’s James Hetfield.

While Thin Lizzy influenced those who followed them, Phil was particularly inspired by The King of Rock and Roll growing up in Dublin.

Emer said: “He was a huge Elvis fan. In fact, some of the moves you’ll see on stage are direct lifts from Elvis.

“He grew up in a house with his uncles, who were like his brothers.

“His Uncle Timmy had this extraordinary record collection.”

The vinyl genres went all over the place, giving Phil a pretty eclectic taste in music.

From The Mamas and the Papas to Roy Orbison and, of course, a lot of Elvis.

Emer shared: “As the years wore on he talked a lot about Jimi Hendrix and you could certainly see in the early days a huge amount of Van Morrison.

“He was obsessed with Astral Weeks, he used to play it like 24 hours a day.”

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Emer summed up that Phil ended up being “the love child of Elvis and Hendrix”.

Later on, when Thin Lizzy really took off, the band ended up supporting Queen on their 1977 North American tour for A Day at the Races.

Even then, Phil was being inspired by his fellow rock stars, with the director sharing how this was particularly the case with Freddie Mercury.

Not so much in terms of being influenced by Queen’s sound as Phil was “totally inspired by the treatment that Freddie got”.

Emer pointed out how the Thin Lizzy frontman was rather taken by Freddie’s planes from venue to venue, the white limousines and someone being at his beck and call.

Phil said: “That’s what I want. That’s the level of fame and treatment I want to get.”

Emer added: “I don’t know if it was to do with the performances as much as realising that maybe he was inspired in terms of Freddie’s rider!”

Phil Lynott: Songs For While I’m Away is set for release in UK cinemas on October 30. See for further information & tickets. The film will also be screening at Doc ‘n Roll, the UK’s Music Documentary Festival, in London on 1st November. Thin Lizzy Rock Legends super deluxe edition is out now.

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