A couple weeks ago, I finished reading Phil Lynott: The Rocker by Mark Putterford. All in all, it was a pretty solid read, and a must for any Thin Lizzy fan. As the co-founder, lead singer, bassist, and lead songwriter of Thin Lizzy, Lynott was a mercurial and charismatic rock star. Born out of wedlock to a white Irish mother and a black South American man, he was raised mainly in Dublin by his grandparents, while his mother and stepfather ran a hotel in Manchester. Sticking out like a sore thumb didn't get Lynott down, and he found music at a relatively young age, eventually forming Thin Lizzy in 1969. During the '70s, Thin Lizzy became the first internationally successful Irish rock band. Bad luck seemed to get in the way of huge success in America, where the band only charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with "The Boys Are Back In Town" (#12), "Cowboy Song" (#77), and "Do Anything You Want To" (#81). However, in their native Ireland, the UK, and Europe, they were much more commercially successful, scoring 14 Top 40 hits in the UK (including 4 Top 10), 9 Top 10 albums on the UK charts, along with 17 Top 40 hits on the Irish pop charts (including 7 Top 10s and 2 #1s). Sadly, the rock star lifestyle was too enticing for Lynott, and he became addicted to heroin, which led to his death in January 1986. Thin Lizzy has become one of my favorite bands over the past ten years or so, and I'd put Lynott's ability to tell a story in a song right up there with Springsteen, Van Morrison, and Dylan. Still very much beloved in Ireland, in 2005, a life-size bronze statue of Lynott was erected in Dublin in 2005, and sits on Harry Street, just off of Grafton Street (if you happen to be in Dublin any time soon).
From the front man of the greatest Irish rock band of all-time to the front man of arguably the greatest American band of all-time, I have since started reading I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman. The Beach Boys were my first favorite band, and there are very few people who can claim they have influenced music over the last 55 years as much as Brian Wilson has. The man was (and is) a musical genius, who had his own issues with substance abuse, and then an overbearing psychiatrist. But at least he's still alive.
Books read in 2017:
-X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Ray Davies
-Phil Lynott: The Rocker by Mark Putterford