One of the defining rock groups of the 20th Century, Thin Lizzy began life in Dublin in 1969 when childhood friends Phil Lynott and Brian Downey were approached by two former members of Van Morrison's band 'Them', Eric Wrixon (keyboards) and Eric Bell (guitar). Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal. Rolling Stone magazine describes the band as distinctly hard rock, "far apart from the braying mid-70s metal pack"
Lynott, Thin Lizzy's de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band's songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy boasted some of the most critically acclaimed guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar.
Thin Lizzy's most successful songs, "Whiskey in the Jar" (a traditional Irish ballad), "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town", were all major international hits. After Lynott's death in 1986, various incarnations of the band have emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey.