Author:Graeme Stroud/Nick Assirati
The next two books in this series cover Thin Lizzy and The Clash, and they follow the usual format of examining their albums track by track while simultaneously giving a potted history of what was happening within the bands along the way.
Thin Lizzy were for a while one of the best hard rock bands around with their trademark dual guitar sound, but they also managed to keep a commercial edge too, which saw regular appearances in the singles chart. I first became aware of them through Whiskey In The Jar, but then they disappeared off my radar until the Jailbreak album, actually their fifth release, by which time they’d well and truly paid their dues. A run of superb albums followed; Johnny The Fox, Bad Reputation and Black Rose, and of course the seminal Live and Dangerous set. Alas, Lynott and Gorham’s increasing drug problems predicated a gradual decline in the band’s fortunes and resulted in their latter work not living up to past glories. When they were at the top of their game though, there really was no one better.
The Clash produced not just one of the best debut albums of the punk era but of any era. Many are not fans of their Sandy Pearlman produced second set, but just listen to the opener Safe European Home and you may form a different opinion. Of course, London Calling, with its catalogue of wide ranging influences, was their landmark release and really established them worldwide. The sprawling triple set Sandanista left me cold apart from the odd track, but the final album covered in depth by this book, Combat Rock, saw them return to more solid ground – a single album of more mainstream straight ahead rock songs aimed at commercial success to get the band out of debt and on to a more stable financial footing. The story of their eventual splintering into different factions and their ultimate demise is well recounted at the book’s conclusion.
Both books are aimed at, and written by, fans of the bands – they’re comprehensive, interesting and well written, and usually turn up a nugget or two of information you weren’t previously aware of. The most important thing though is that they always inspire me to dig out the subject’s albums for another listen, and reacquaint myself with songs I’ve neglected for too long.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
The music of these two bands, other books in this series.
One thing you’ve learned
A Thin Lizzy box is imminent with lots of previously unreleased material.