In 1978, the band released their first live album, Live And Dangerous. Stories abound about the “liveness” of the album, but it was a huge success, reaching #2 in the UK.
This success was overshadowed by the permanent departure of Robertson some time after a gig in Ibiza on July 6 1978, the disagreements with Lynott reaching an impossible level. He was once again replaced by Moore. Also around this time, Lynott was spending time with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and Chris Spedding to form a band called The Greedy Bastards. In this way, Lynott was able to align his band with the punk movement and avoid being tagged as a dinosaur, as many other 70’s rock bands had been. Lynott also shows up on Johnny Thunders’ first solo album, So Alone, around this time.
In August, the band began another tour of the USA, followed by a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Brian Downey was not with them due to contracting pneumonia and preferring to spend time in Ireland. He was replaced with American drummer Mark Nauseef.
When they returned home, Downey rejoined and in the beginning of 1979, they recorded Black Rose: A Rock Legend in Paris. The sessions were marked by the increasing drug habits of Lynott and Gorham, and the general presence of drugs around the band.
The album produced 3 singles, Waiting For An Alibi, Do Anything You Want and Sarah. Alibi and Anything You Want were successful and the album reached #2 in the UK. Sarah was moderately successful and was an ode to Lynott’s newborn daughter.
In July 1979, Moore abruptly left the band in the middle of another US tour. Years later Moore said he had no regrets about leaving, “but maybe it was wrong the way I did it, but I just had to leave”. In February 2011, Moore died of a heart attack in Estepona, Spain. He was 58.
After Moore’s departure, the band continued to tour for a few shows as a trio before Lynott brought in Midge Ure to replace him on a temporary basis to help complete their touring commitments.
Before a tour of Japan, Lynott decided to bring in another guitarist, Dave Flett, who had played with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band to enable Ure to play keyboards when necessary.
The tour was completed successfully but the line up now consisted of 2 temporary members and Lynott was spending a lot of time on projects outside of Thin Lizzy, including his first solo album, Solo In Soho.
He also reactivated The Greedy Bastards with Lynott, Downey, Gorham with Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, who released a one-off Christmas single, A Merry Jingle, in December 1979. The single reached #28 in the UK.
While Lynott looked for a permanent guitarist, he and other members of Thin Lizzy, past and present, worked on his solo album, which was released in April 1980, and the next Thin Lizzy album, Chinatown.
Snowy White, who had played with Pink Floyd and Peter Green, was brought in as guitarist. Midge Ure was still acting as temporary keyboardist at gigs but was replaced by Darren Wharton shortly after White joined. This new line up completed the Chinatown album and it was finally released in October 1980.
Two singles, Chinatown reached #21 in the UK but the second, Killer On The Loose reached #10 amid adverse publicity due to the activities of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, known as The Yorkshire Ripper.
During 1981 Lynott worked on his second solo album, the band’s first “greatest hits” album, The Adventures Of Thin Lizzy, was released and reached #6 in the UK, although a stand alone single, Trouble Boys, only reached #53, the band’s worst chart position since 1975.
Trouble Boys was also the working title of the bands next album, but the song was dropped and the album became Renegade, released in November 1981. It was not successful and only reached #38 in the UK and #157 in the US.
With band members Downey and Gorham having to take breaks to recover from personal troubles, 1982 didn’t start off well. They were temporarily replaced to help with touring commitments. Eight shows were played while 6 others were postponed. Later in the year, Lynott went on a solo tour and released his second solo album, The Phillip Lynott Album.
Lynott wanted a replacement for White before starting the next album, which would be their last. In September of 1982 he recruited John Sykes, who had been a member of Tygers Of Pan Tang.
The new album, Thunder And Lightning, was released in March of 1983 and did much better than it’s predecessor, reaching #4 in the UK. The tour to support the album was to be a farewell tour. Sykes wanted to continue but Gorham had had enough. The tour was successful and some concerts were recorded for a live album. Partway into the tour, many of the band’s past guitarists were invited onstage to contribute to some of the songs they had originally recorded.
The album was released in October 1983 as Life. The tour continued while singles were released from the album.
The first, an older performance of Renegade, reached #29. The last, The Sun Goes Down, only reached #52 in August.
Lynott undertook another solo tour with Downey and Sykes under the name The Three Musketeers. After a difficult leg of the tour in Japan, where some members of band had difficulty obtaining heroin, they played their final UK show before their breakup at the Reading Festival on August 28th, 1983.
The band’s last show came in Nuremburg on the 4th of September at the Monsters Of Rock festival, after which the band went their separate ways.
Lynott tried to form a new band before the end of 1983 called Grand Slam, but they were never able to secure a contract and split by early 1985. He tried to focus on his solo career and enjoyed a #5 hit single, Out In The Fields with Gary Moore in May 1985.
Lynott tried to get Thin Lizzy back together as well as work on a 3rd solo album but unfortunately, he passed away on January 4th, 1986. He was 36.
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