Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning

   1983 Warner Bros.

This album proved to be Thin Lizzy’s studio swansong, any hopes of a reunion dashed when band leader Phil Lynott died after years of heroin abuse within 2 years of its release.  Fortunately for all of us, it’s a fine final testament to a band that, while being headliners in Europe for years, was never able to live down the notoriety of that song in the U.S.  That song, of course, being “The Boys Are Back In Town” from the classic ‘Jailbreak’ album in 1975.

Kicking off with the relentless “Thunder and Lightning,” Thin Lizzy rocks harder than ever on this disc with the addition of keyboards not diminishing the power of the sound one bit.  In fact, Darren Wharton’s keyboard work adds some nice textures to some of the tracks.

“This Is The One,” “The Sun Goes Down,” and “The Holy War” form a trifecta of texture, diversity and pure rock that rivals a similar trifecta on the previous album ‘Renegade,’ while Phil Lynott’s heart is on his sleeve throughout every song.

Sense of humor is a welcome part of the mix, too, as evidenced on the playfulness of “Bad Habits”:  “Boys will be boys and girls will be trouble…and I’m a man of bad habits.”  You just can’t get any more honest than that.

If all you know of Thin Lizzy is ‘Jailbreak’ or their mid-70’s output, I encourage you to experience what I think are Thin Lizzy’s 2 finest albums…’Renegade” and this one.  You’ll be glad you did.  I know I am.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

4 Responses to “Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning”

  1. Thin Lizzy were a great band, but you’re being brave by saying Thunder & Lightning and Renegade were there two finest albums. I’d say probably their 2 worst (equalling 1974’s Nightlife). Why were they bad? Lynott’s drug habit had taken control by 82 and the songs were crap. Put on a record from the 1976 – 1980 period and Thunder & Lightning and Renegade just don’t compare. Phil’s voice wasn’t as good, his lyrics were becoming predictable, the keyboards were dumb, John Sykes and Snowy White were bad guitar choices (Sykes too metal, White too dull). Lizzy were a great great band destroyed by a bad bad drug habit. There’s a few great tracks on Thunder & Lightning but all up it’s crap – the cover says it all.

    • moosejuice Says:

      Again, your points are well taken. I’ve never understood why Lizzy added keyboards to the mix. Nothing against Darren Wharton, but the keys just didn’t do anything to make the songs better. UFO did a good job with keys, and Clutch really uses them well to get that classic vibe, but they just sound out of place with Lizzy.
      I dunno…I thought Lizzy had some good songs in the ’76-80 period, and Live And Dangerous is undoubtedly a great album…but therein lies the problem. Thin Lizzy was another band that I think never really captured the intensity of their live sound on their studio discs.
      I love the sound on Thunder and Lightning, and I think John Sykes really injected some adrenaline into their sound. Yeah, he could overdo it with the shredding, but I just love the riffs on this disc. They had some serious stuff, but the playful stuff like “Bad Habits,” while being quite silly, are also very fun.
      Thanks for the input and I hope you come back to the Abyss.

  2. I think T&L and Renegade are 2 of their best ALONG with Nightlife and Johnny the Fox. Drugs or not, Phil lets out a lot of emotion on these last 2 records. RIP Phil.

    By the way, the addition of the keyboards was Phil trying to be ‘metal’ as he stated in an interview around 1984/85. He thought it would heavy up his sound.

    • Sean, I just recently “rediscovered” Johnny the Fox and I have to completely agree with you. I don’t know why I didn’t get into that disc before, but now I find myself listening to it nearly every day. It’s really quite brilliant and is Gorham and Robertson’s finest hour. You rock, bro. Thanks for the nudge to give JTF another listen!

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