February 21, 2024
Thin Lizzy standing in front of a car in New York

In September 1976, Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott and Scott Gorham attended Melody Maker’s annual Readers’ Poll ceremony in order to accept the magazine’s Best Newcomer award. Given that Lizzy had had their first UK Top 10 single [Whiskey In The Jar] three years earlier, and had just finished recording their soon-to-be-released seventh studio album [Johnny The Fox], the accolade rather bemused the two band members, but it reflected the extent to which Lizzy had broken into the national consciousness with that year’s Jailbreak album. The challenge now, for a group whose career had become punctuated with false starts, was to build on this momentum.

Lizzy’s manager, Chris O’Donnell, had identified Tony Visconti as the man to push Lynott’s band forward. The New York-born record producer was on a hot streak thanks to his work with T.Rex and David Bowie. And when O’Donnell read an interview in which Visconti had wondered aloud why Thin Lizzy had yet to record an album which matched their live power, the manager reached out to him to see if he might be interested in remedying this situation. It was agreed that Lynott and Gorham would call in on the producer at his Good Earth studio in Soho, London following the Melody Maker awards, to present a new batch of demos earmarked for Lizzy album number eight.

Phil Lynott and Scott Gorham onstage

Scott Gorham and Phil Lynott on stage in 1977 (Image credit: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images)

Visconti was impressed by Lizzy’s new material, and by their charismatic, loquacious leader. “He was Prince Charming,” he told Lynott biographer Graeme Thomson. “Full of enthusiasm, really outgoing and friendly. He wanted to make it work, and oozed confidence. All the songs were written and apparently rehearsed. They were in great shape.”

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