Sunday, March 27, 2016

Try and Follow

Song 296: This week on the playlist you can hear that Wild One by Thin Lizzy, written by Phil Lynott. When the Irish band Thin Lizzy hit the radio and the charts in the summer of ’76 with their one and only major U.S. hit The Boys Are Back in Town, I found it a bit disappointing. While it wasn’t a bad song, it sounded to me like a step down from the quality of their previous album Fighting that had come along the year before. I had heard Wild One a few times on a Chicago-area radio station from the far suburbs that played a lot of cool stuff not heard on the major stations, and that convinced me to take a chance on the LP, which turned out to be a very good investment that I often listened to from the first cut on side one to the last groove on side two. I guarantee that if this list gets long enough, Spirit Slips Away will appear on it someday, and possibly one or two other tracks from the album. The band’s name, by the way, is a clever takeoff on the old school term Tin Lizzie, which was the nickname for the Ford Model T that I heard my grandparents mention quite a few times. Phil Lynott, who played bass, sang lead, acted as frontman and wrote most of the band’s songs, including this one, was the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in rock music, and sadly, he died in early 1986 at the age of 36. I sometimes wonder if the Wild One Phil sang about in this cut might have acted a bit like the Crazy Ones (Song 285) that John Mellencamp sang about, and maybe if Phil had lived a few years longer, rather than singing “So you go your way, wild one — I’ll try and follow” he might have ended up singing “So you go your way, wild one — there’s no way I could follow” instead.

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