THIN LIZZY — Jailbreak — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

THIN LIZZY - Jailbreak cover
4.20 | 43 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Jailbreak (4:04)
2. Angel From The Coast (3:06)
3. Running Back (3:16)
4. Romeo And The Lonely Girl (3:58)
5. Warriors (4:12)
6. The Boys Are Back In Town (4:30)
7. Fight Or Fall (3:48)
8. Cowboy Song (5:18)
9. Emerald (4:04)

Total Time 36:18


- Brian Downey / drums, percussion
- Scott Gorham / guitar
- Phil Lynott / bass guitar, vocals, guitar
- Brian Robertson / guitar, backing vocals

- Tim Hinkley / keyboards (track 3)

About this release

26 March 1976
Vertigo (UK)
Mercury (US)

Remastered and reissued in 2011 by Mercury, Universal and Vertigo with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. The Boys Are Back In Town (remixed version)
2. Jailbreak (remixed version)
3. The Boys Are Back in Town (alternate, remixed version)
4. Emerald (remixed version)
5. Jailbreak (BBC Session 12, 02, 1976)
6. Emerald (BBC Session 12, 02, 1976)
7. Cowboy Song (BBC Session 12, 02, 1976)
8. Warriors (BBC Session 12, 02, 1976)
9. Fight Or Fall (extended version) (rough mix)
10. Blues Boy
11. Derby Blues

Thanks to Pekka, Time Signature, Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I’ve never been a Thin Lizzy fan, and that may be surprising given my deep interest in seventies hard rock and metal. The song that was always on the radio was “The Boys Are Back in Town”, which for me was just another one of those classic rock songs that was played so many times that I became desensitized to it and basically ignored it. Classic rock radio tends to have that effect on music: it plays the same songs day in day out until they become as familiar and unnoticeable as the wallpaper in the staffroom at work. I can’t think of any other Thin Lizzy songs I might have known. But it’s often the case that I’ll become interested in a band, buy a couple of albums and discover that I’ve already heard a song or two countless times, I just didn’t know whose song it was.

The reason why I finally felt inclined to buy a Thin Lizzy album is thanks to 1977. I was listening to Judas Priest’s 1977 album “Sin After Sin” and began pondering the state of heavy metal in that year. It was just the first rumblings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and “heavy metal” as it was known in 1977 included mostly bands that we classify easily as hard rock today. So, as I checked out the year 1977 for hard rock and metal, I came to Thin Lizzy’s “Bad Reputation” but found the album to have too much non-hard stuff. “Jailbreak” sounded like it could be a little edgier.

Thin Lizzy is a band that I call “metal by association”. The band is often included in hard rock and heavy rock lists because of songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town” or “Jailbreak”. They are solid hard rockers with good riffs and cool solos. But Thin Lizzy didn’t start out very hard and if they even became a full-fledged hard rock outfit, I don’t know. What we have here is a typical hard rock album of the seventies, and that is one which includes a good balance of hard rock numbers and non-hard numbers. To be fair, the whole album is very well done. As an album to represent the band, my conclusion is that this is a prime example of what to expect. They even get close to a metal vibe in the darker and heavier tracks of “Warriors” and “Emerald”. “Running Back” has a simple hook but is quite catchy and easy to have running in your head, while “Romeo and the Lonely Girl” has a memorable and melodic chorus. “Cowboy Song” is mentioned in the liner notes as the style of song that appealed to rock and rollers who lead a lonely life on the road and inspired the concept of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”. I personally find this cowboy theme uninteresting and too obvious. It’s the one track I am tempted to skip when it comes on.

The remaster of this 1976 classic sounds great. The music is warm and clear, punches when it needs to, but doesn’t get over loud. Some remasters have all the levels pumped up and they sound like nothing you’d ever hear in the seventies while others keep everything flat. The turn-off point for me is that this album sounds very safe. The riffs and melodies are simple and repetitive. The four-piece band don’t challenge themselves beyond making a good album of hard rock riffs and catchy melodies. There’s no pushing of boundaries or envelopes, no going out on limbs, no daring attempts, no cunning stunts. It’s a very safe album that seems set to appeal to the lowest common denominator. As such, it’s an album to listen to when you need a break from ground-breaking, years-ahead-of-its-time, lost gem-type albums that strived to reach new territory or blow up old institutions. Nice, warm, comfortable rock and roll, this is.
Emerging just as punk was beginning to break through and hard rock and metal audiences were out for something louder and faster, Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak finds them capably adapting the early 1970s bluesy style of hard rock they'd made their own to changing times. The Boys Are Back In Town is, deservedly, the standout song from this, in part because it's the fastest and hardest song on the set; still, the rest of the album isn't outright bad, it just doesn't quite hit the sheer standards of joy as that track, though the title track does come close at points. A little calculated and polished, maybe, but still a hell of a lot of fun.

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