Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)

I love listening to Phil Lynott sing. Thin Lizzy could give you a lot of different-sounding songs. In this song, it sounds like Phil was listening to the Moondance album by Van Morrison.

The record company added the (It’s Caught Me In It’s Spotlight) so people would not confuse this with the old AM hit Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest that I’ll be going over this week!

It’s the way Lynott phrased his lyrics that added to the experience. Thin Lizzy also had some great twin harmony lead guitar parts that made their sound. They were unique, to say the least. You had a black Irish bass player fronting a rock band and singing like a cross between fellow Irishman Van Morrison and American Bruce Springsteen. They were not just a hard blues band. They mixed rock, country,  blues, Celtic, and a little jazz in the mix.

The band’s name is a play on Tin Lizzie (“Thin” being pronounced “Tin” in an Irish accent). Tin Lizzie is either a reference to a robot character from The Dandy Comic or a nickname for the Model T Ford…

This song was on the Bad Reputation album released in 1977 and was written by Phil Lynott. It peaked #14 in the UK, #84 in Canada, and #4 in Ireland.

The album peaked at #39 in the Billboard Album Charts, #44 in Canada, and #4 in the UK in 1977.

Phil Lynott was the principal songwriter, but he encouraged the rest of the band to contribute their own material.

Scott Gorham (lead guitarist…one of them): “He taught us how to do this thing called ‘song writing.’ And until we got better and better at it and we could actually bring our own songs in, we brought in songs that were either partly finished or just ideas to put on one of his songs. We might bring in a song that was half finished, or a whole song minus the lyrics. And it was always minus the lyrics, because that was Phil Lynott’s domain. We knew that we weren’t ever going to touch or top his lyrics. So you just let him get on with it.”

Later on The Smashing Pumpkins covered “Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)” for various live performances.

Phil Lynott’s short life has been memorialized by a life-size bronze statue erected in central Dublin, just outside one of the famed bass player’s favorite pubs.

Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy Lead Singer | Ireland Reaching Out

Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)

When I passed you in the doorway
You took me with a glance
I should have took that last bus home
But I asked you for a dance

Now we go steady to the pictures
I always get chocolate stains on my pants
My father he’s going crazy
Say’s I’m living in a trance

But I’m dancing in the moonlight
It’s caught me in its spotlight
It’s alright, alright
Dancing in the moonlight
On the long hot summer night

It’s three o’clock in the morning
And I’m on the streets again
I disobeyed another warning
I should have been in by ten

Now I won’t get out until Sunday
I’ll have to say I stayed with friends
But it’s a habit worth forming
If it means to justify the end


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

23 thoughts on “Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)”

  1. I too like Phil Lynott’s voice. I wasn’t familiar with this song, and yes wow, very Van Morrison. If the voice weren’t distinctly Phil’s in spots, I could swear it’s a Van Morrison recording.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that one also….but this one has that Van Morrison thing to it…I do like it. My favorite by them is probably Whiskey in a Jar and Boys are back in Town…but they should really good.


  2. Nice tune, Max. And you’re right, it totally has a Van Morrison vibe!

    When I think of Thin Lizzy, two things come to mind first: A black bassist and great vocalist leading a rock group, which was pretty cool, and their seductive twin harmony lead guitars in tunes like “Whiskey in the Jar”, which I seem to recall Phil Lynott wasn’t fond of, and “The Boys Are Back in Town.”

    Like with most other bands I know, when it comes to Thin Lizzy, I’m mostly familiar with specific songs rather than entire albums. From “Bad Reputation” I knew “Soldier of Fortune,” which is another nice example of their twin harmony guitar action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were different from other bands…no doubt just for the reasons you mentioned…and they weren’t just a hard rock band…they came at you in different ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love Thin Lizzy… Such a good singles band. ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’, ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Chinatown’, ‘Killer on the Loose’… This one is not my favourite, a bit light, but it shows how versatile they were as a band.

    Liked by 2 people

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