Thin Lizzy Liner Notes: Favorite Quotes Part 1 (S/T)

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Below is a selection of our favorite quotes and anecdotes from our good buddy Kevin ‘Sipreano’ Howes’ liner notes for Thin Lizzy’s eponymous first album. Howes is a record collector, archivist and curator who has played a huge role in several LITA projects (Jamaica to Toronto, Native North America, etc.) and was co-producer of this Thin Lizzy reissue.

  • On Lynott when Bell scouted him out: “Tall, black, and skinny as a nail, Lynott had been booted out of the well-known Skid Row because of off key vocals on a promotional television appearance. Undeterred and assisted by minor tonsil surgery, he was working hard at improving his delivery and secretly adding bass to his arsenal…”

  • Soon after forming the band, Lynott and Bell moved into a house in Clontarf, a posh area of Dublin: “Close to the sea, the split-level apartment quickly became a communal sanctuary to a cast of girlfriends, pals, and assorted bohemian acquaintances with monthly bills and rent being the only drag.” Downey was a regular guest.

  • The older, upper class residents of Clontarf eventually got fed up with the Thin Lizzy house and wrote a petition with about thirty signatures to kick them out! It didn’t work. (Until the band relocated to London when they signed to Decca.)

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Tin Lizzie, the female robot character from Irish comic ‘The Dandy,’ after whom Bell named the band.
(Image via The-Slipper.Blogspot.com.)

  • The origin of the name ‘Thin Lizzy’: Bell recalls, “Like every other red blooded Irish kid, I read The Beano and The Dandy and The Topper and The Beezer. There was this female robot in The Dandy comic called Tin Lizzie. I remembered the name for some reason and mentioned it to the guys. They all looked at me like ‘You gotta be kidding, it’s desperate!’ ‘Wait a minute,’ I said. ‘It’s called Tin Lizzie in the comic. T-I-N. If we put an ‘h’ in it, it’s pronounced Thin, but the people in Dublin [who don’t pronounce their h’s] will still say Tin.’ So they had to make an effort to say it, a very profound idea.”

  • Thin Lizzy’s first gigs were throughout the Irish countryside, following traditional showbands. “Farmers were coming into the dance with cow shit on their boots,” Bell recalls.

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The North American album cover of the LP.
(Image via ThreeChordRegression.Blogspot.com.)

  • The UK album cover features “a surreal fish-eye photo of a wheel-less car” whereas, the North American release featured a “distinctive image of a Ford Model T (aka, a Tin Lizzie) puttering up the profile of a lady’s well-curved hip.”

  • Ivor Raymonde, famed UK arranger for Dusty Springfield and  others, played Mellotron on “Honesty.”

  • “Clifton Grange Hotel” is “a play-by-play account of [Phil’s] beloved mother Philomena’s Manchester, England Inn.” Whenever the band were within forty miles of the place Phil would say, “Right, let’s go back to me mom’s!” “It was an oasis. She really looked after us,” recalls Bell.

  • About this reissue Bell says, “It’s incredibly nostalgic, positive, but very melancholy as well. The three of us were extremely close at one point. I’m really chuffed because when it was first released, we couldn’t give it away, and then you think after all this time, it’s still valid.”