In late 1974, Thin Lizzy still had just the one hit single to their name in “Whisky In The Jar” and had yet to appear on the UK album chart. But they took a big step towards their later eminence with the November 8 release that year of their fourth album Nightlife — thanks in no small part to two prominent additions to the line-up.
After that singles success of 1973, Lizzy had released the album Vagabonds Of The Western World, which won good reviews and included the notable “The Rocker.” There then followed a period of great fluctuation in the band’s personnel, but with a positive resolution.
Early in 1974, after the departure of guitarist Eric Bell, Gary Moore joined, but stayed for only four months before moving on to Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum. With a tour of West Germany contracted for May, guitarists Andy Gee and John Cann were recruited, before the arrival in June of not one but two new guitar heroes to augment Phil Lynott’s helmsmanship.
New blood from Glasgow and Santa Monica
Glaswegian Brian Robertson joined the line-up at the same time as Santa Monica native Scott Gorham, the latter from the ranks of Fast Buck. The American auditioned for Lizzy at the suggestion of his brother-in-law, Bob Benberg of Supertramp.
By summer, the new quartet, with the constant presence of drummer Brian Downey, were cooking up a storm. They signed a new deal with Vertigo Records and debuted at the 1974 Reading Festival. Misspelt on the poster as Thin Lizzie, they shared the bill with Traffic, Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, and others. In October, Lizzy aired some of their new material on a UK club and college tour, before unveiling Nightlife.
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Moore did feature on lead guitar on one track, the album’s best-known song “Still In Love With You,” which featured redoubtable Scottish rock singer Frankie Miller sharing lead vocals with Lynott. The frontman, meanwhile, simultaneously enhanced his artistic credentials by publishing a book of poems, Songs For While I’m Away. The album still missed the UK chart, but the line-up had been established that would bring glory to Thin Lizzy soon enough.
Buy or stream Nightlife.