Johnny the Fox by Thin Lizzy

"Johnny the Fox" by Thin Lizzy

By John Saleeby
January 1, 2008

Most Rock Fans know Phil Lynott as the Lead Singer on Thin Lizzy’s Big Hit Song “The Boys Are Back”. Me, I’m such a Punk Rock Knucklehead the first thing that comes to my Knucklemind when I think of Phil Lynott is his Big Guest Appearance on Johnny Thunders’ “So Alone” album. On that Record’s Cover of “Daddy Rollin’ Stone” Phil delivers one of the coolest vocals in Music History - “I know a girl named Toni, She’s got a boy named Chris, I’m gonna steal that girl though he’s twice my size and . . . “ I dunno, I’ve never been able to figure out that last line. “So Alone” is that kinda like that. I’ve never heard Phil do anything quite that awesome on any Thin Lizzy Album but on “Johnny The Fox” he gets pretty damn close. Thin Lizzy is so Great that Teenage Rock Fans of the Seventies dug them as much as KISS, Aerosmith, and a few other Bands I can’t mention with the Smart Ass Creeps of 2016 being mean to me. Where’s your Bernie Sanders NOW, assholes!?! HA! But Phil Lynott never got to be an International Celebrity Big Shot like Gene Simmons or Steven Tyler. No, Phil had it TOUGH!

People think “Jailbreak”, the Thin Lizzy Album before “Johnny The Fox”, is the Best Thin Lizzy Album because “The Boys Are Back” is on it. Wrong, Bernie Bros, Wrong! “Jailbreak” is a terrific Album but it’s 2016 and when you hear “The Boys Are Back” it sounds like the Theme Song to “Sean Hannitty’s Super Bowl Tailgate Party”. That Record couldn’t have been more warped out of shape if your Sister had left it out in the Sun (The Seventies were a hazardous Time. Just ask Elvis). The Title Song is great but what is with those stupid Siren Sound Effects? I hear that and think I’m getting pulled over by the Cops. Wait a minute! I’m in my Apartment listening to Thin Lizzy! How can I pull over an Apartment? What the Hell is happening to Our Proud Nation? Was “Chips” Phil’s Favorite TV Show or something? Gosh, maybe I should have Written an Article about “Jailbreak” instead of “Johnny The Fox”, huh?

It won’t take much for me to explain what makes “Johnny The Fox” The Best - It ROCKS!!! That should be all it takes for any Rock And Roll Person to . . . Oh, Okay . . . “Johnny The Fox” ROCKS AND ROLLS!!! Geez, you must be one of those pain in the butt Springsteen people!

But, as usual, Recording “Johnny The Fox” was a real Headache for Poor Ol’ Phil Lynott. Making this Cockamamie Album was such a Nightmare it’s hard to believe Phil Spector wasn’t involved. But Phil Collins was! They brought in Future Eighties’ Pop Star Phil Collins into the Studio one day to . . . I have no idea. After all these years no one can remember what exactly Phil Collins does on “Johnny The Fox”. There is some really JAMMIN’ Drum Playin’ on this Album so be careful before you go “HEY! I really LIKE that Drum Part there!!” - You might be expressing Public Admiration for PHIL COLLINS!!! It’s a TRAP!!! A HIPSTER TRAP!!! NO FUN PARTY INVITATIONS FOR YOU!!! SNUBBED AT BURNING MAN!!! SNEEZED AT DURING SUNDANCE!!! Wow! Does Billy Joel play on any Cheap Trick Records? Don’t answer that! I don’t want to know!

Recording “Johnny The Fox” was like that from Beginning To End. Being a member of Thin Lizzy sounds like One Big Fight. These guys were so Combative they referred to Ted Nugent as “That really laid back cat”. But OF COURSE they couldn’t get along - One of them was English, one of them was Irish, one of them was Scottish, and the really Deplorable one in the Basket was American. Oh, and one of them was Black. But we can’t talk about that in 2016 because we have made such great Progress since the Seventies.

Lead Guitarist Brian Robertson wouldn’t BACK OFF, MAN!!! He called one of the Songs “Shite” and Phil disappeared for three days. If he had said “Shit” Phil would have disappeared into the Men’s Room for three minutes and everything would have been fine. Robertson’s boozing was a problem and it wouldn’t be long until Phil fired him. Which is too bad because Thin Lizzy with Brian Robertson is The Best Thin Lizzy. I don’t listen to Thin Lizzy Records than Brian Robertson doesn’t play Guitar on. Sorry. That is a decision I made in the Seventies and have stuck with ever since. That and Gabe Kaplan being The Funniest Comedian Of All Time. Yeah, he is. HE IS!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!! But is it with the Lead Guitarists and the Booze? “Ha Ha! I know how to play SOLOS!!! I can get as wasted as I want!!! They can’t do without me!!! YIPPEE!!!” That’s a bit of dialogue from a Movie Script I’m Working on called “What About Bob? - The Bob Stinson Story”.

“Johnny The Fox” was Produced by John Alcock who also did “Jailbreak”, a bunch of John Entwistle Solo Records, and the Final Runaways Album in which he was instrumental in kicking Joan Jett out of the Band. So I guess that Runaways Album was an Instrumental, huh? They should have thought of that while Cherie Currie was the Lead Singer!!! HA HA! I AM THE MOTHERFUCKING BEST!!! Anyway, they began Recording the Album in Germany for Tax reasons. Tax reasons? Obama wasn’t President yet, why would Taxes be a reason for anything? But then they went back to England because they hated the German Studio. No one liked the “Drum Sound”. “Drum Sound”? A Drum sounds one way in Germany and another way in England? Did they stop off in France long enough to see what the Drum sounded like there? “Drum Sound” - John Alcock was making that up! That’s what caused all that Runaways controversy. Joan Jett called him on that “Drum Sound” shit. “DRUM SOUND!?! AIN’T NO SUCH THING AS A DRUM SOUND!!! THAT IS A FATUOS CONCEPT!!!” John Alcock ain’t the only one that can make up crazy shit!

“Johnny The Fox” was not as big a seller as “Jailbreak” and Thin Lizzy was never as successful a Band as we all hoped it would be. Robertson left the Band and eventually the line up was so different they released a few albums as Foreigner which complicated their Taxes so badly IRS Agents quit to form Poison and Husker Du. Then everybody got into Heroin and one of them died of Pneumonia. And Phil was the one that died so it really was a problem. If anybody but Phil had died it wouldn’t have been a problem to anyone but Phil. No, wait, this was Thin Lizzy so if anybody but Phil had died it would have solved a few problems for Phil.

Yeah, Phil Lynott had it TOUGH! On “Johnny The Fox” he Sings “Tonight we’re playing Boston and I don’t even know what’s going on!” And THAT was before anybody ever heard “More Than A Feeling”! Whoa! Huh? That joke was “Shite”? Brian Robertson? You don’t have anything better to do these days than sit around reading Acid Logic? Oh, man! Do you know Gabe Kaplan?

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

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