Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run was released a year before this and it was said to influence this album. The album was Jailbreak and was the bands sixth album. It was their breakthrough album.

The album peaked at #18 in the Billboard Album Charts, #5 in Canada, and #10 in the UK in 1976. The album had three well known Thin Lizzy songs…The Boys Are Back In Town, Cowboy Song, and the title track.

The title track didn’t chart in America but it did peak at #31 in the UK in 1976.

Thin Lizzy was founded in Dublin in 1969 when Lynott and drummer Brian Downey left their group Orphanage to form a new band with musicians formally from the last incarnation of Van Morrison’s Them.

Thin Lizzy’s sound was made of Phil Lynotts songwriting and voice…along with the dual-guitar interplay of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson.

Jailbreak

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in this town
See me and the boys we don’t like it
So were getting up and going down

Hiding low looking right to left
If you see us coming I think it’s best
To move away do you hear what I say
From under my breath

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in the town
Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
So don’t you be around

Don’t you be around

Tonight there’s gonna be trouble
Some of us won’t survive
See the boys and me mean business
Bustin’ out dead or alive

I can hear the hound dogs on my trail
All hell breaks loose, alarm and sirens wail
Like the game if you lose
Go to jail

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in the town
Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
So don’t you be around

Tonight there’s gonna trouble
I’m gonna find myself in
Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
So woman stay with a friend

You know it’s safer

Breakout!

Tonight there’s gonna be a breakout
Into the city zones
Don’t you dare to try and stop us
No one could for long

Searchlight on my trail
Tonight’s the night all systems fail
Hey you good lookin’ female
Come here!

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in the town
Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
So don’t you be around

Tonight there’s gonna be trouble
I’m gonna find myself in
Tonight there’s gonna be trouble
So woman stay with a friend

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town

I always liked the imagery of this song.

When Phil Lynott was a kid his mother Philomena ran an illegal drinking den in Manchester, England. Phil was often with his mother in this den. Some of her most frequent returning customers were members of the Quality Street Gang (a group of criminals operating in Manchester, England, in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s).

He would spend his time observing the gang, their mannerisms, the way they talk, and the way they fight. All of this observation eventually inspired him to write a song about them called “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

The song was on the Jailbreak album. The album peaked at #18 in the Billboard Album Charts, #10 in the UK, and #5 in Canada.

The Boys Are Back In Town peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100, #8 in Canada, #8 in the UK, and of course, #1 in Ireland where the band originated in 1976.

A big part of Thin Lizzy’s sound came from Phil Lynott’s vocals and the dual-lead guitar interplay of guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson.

 

From Songfacts

This gave Thin Lizzy worldwide exposure. They were popular in their native Ireland, but unknown elsewhere until this came out.

This was Thin Lizzy’s only Top 40 hit in the US, but they had several other hits in the UK.

Everclear covered this for the 1999 film Detroit Rock City. Their version was later used in the movie A Knight’s Tale. 

This was used in commercials for Wrangler. 

Thin Lizzy were surprised when this became their breakthrough hit – because they hadn’t wanted it on their Jailbreak album. Guitarist Scott Gorham recalled to Classic Rock: “We were playing in some club in the US when our manager came in and said, ‘Well, looks like we’ve got a hit.’ We were like, ‘Which song?’ Seriously, we didn’t have any idea at all which song it was that had taken off for us.”

“To tell you the truth, we weren’t initially going to put ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ on the Jailbreak album at all,” he continued. “Back then you picked 10 songs and went with those because of the time restrictions of vinyl.”

“We recorded 15 songs, and of the 10 we picked, that wasn’t one of them,” Gorham added. “But then the management heard it and said, ‘No, there’s something really good about this song.’ Although back then, it didn’t yet have the twin guitar parts on it.”

The Boys Are Back In Town

Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

They were askin’ if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
Told ’em you were livin’ downtown
Drivin’ all the old men crazy

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

You know that chick that used to dance a lot
Every night she’d be on the floor, shakin’ what she got
When I say she was cool she was red hot
I mean, she was steamin’

And that time over at Johnny’s place,
Well, this chick got up and she slapped Johnny’s face
Man, we just fell about the place
If that chick don’t want to know, forget her

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)
The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

Spread the word around
Guess who’s back in town

Just spread the word around

Friday night they’ll be dressed to kill
Down at Dino’s Bar ‘n’ Grill
The drink will flow and the blood will spill
And if the boys want to fight, you better let ’em

That jukebox in the corner blastin’ out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won’t be long
Won’t be long till the summer comes
Now that the boys are here again

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)
Spread the word around
The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

The boys are back in town again
Been hangin’ down at Dino’s
The boys are back in town again