DEF LEPPARD's RICK ALLEN Hopes PHIL LYNOTT Was Joking When He Said He Broke Up THIN LIZZY Because Of 'Pyromania'

February 2, 2023

In a new interview with Joe Rock of the WBAB 102.3 radio station, DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen was asked if there is any truth to the rumor that late THIN LIZZY leader Phil Lynott told DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott that he broke up THIN LIZZY because he "couldn't compete" with LEPPARD's third album, 1983's "Pyromania". Allen said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've heard Joe tell that story, and I don't know how serious Phil Lynott was. But if anybody knows anything about DEF LEPPARD, they know that THIN LIZZY were a massive, massive influence on this band. So for Phil Lynott to say that, like I say, I hope he was joking, because they were a massive influence on DEF LEPPARD."

Elliott previously recalled Lynott's words to him in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. Joe said: "I remember meeting Phil Lynott. We'd delivered 'Pyromania' and, with us sharing a label with LIZZY, he'd heard it. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'I heard your album — it's the reason I've split the band. I can't compete with that.' The crappiest backhand compliment I've ever had. I wish I had been brave enough to shove him up against the wall and say, 'Well, make a better album then!' But I just said, 'Oh,' and scuttled off."

Back in 2015, Elliott told "LIZZY were a big influence [on DEF LEPPARD]. Listen to our first album; you can hear elements of their music in what we were writing. There's a song on our first one called 'It Don't Matter' which is THIN LIZZY through and through. The beginning bit of 'Lady Strange'. The twin-harmony guitars is certainly more LIZZY than it was WISHBONE ASH or ALLMAN BROTHERS. It wasn't just the twin-guitar thing, it was the simplicity of their songs. I mean, God knows what the chord sequence is for 'The Boys Are Back In Town'; it's certainly not simple, but 'Jailbreak' is moronically simple. I mean that as a compliment. How come nobody had ever written that before? It was staring everybody in the face."

Regarding his first memory of THIN LIZZY, Joe said: "My first memory of LIZZY was 'Whiskey In The Jar', which was kind of a minor hit in the U.K. back in '73. I remember buying the single on Decca Records and thinking, 'Jimi Hendrix lookalike. Nice songs. We'll see where he goes from there' sort of thing because everybody gets excited when they're kids at new music. A band comes along — whether it's [David] Bowie or T.REX or whatever — and you're just wondering what's going to happen next. Is it going to be a sustained attack or something? Is it just going to be this one hit? And after that, there wasn't anything else for three years, and you kind of forgot all about them. This was me in Sheffield, of course. You talk to somebody in Dublin and they'll be, like, 'Oh, no, no, no. We heard them all the time.' But the next time I heard them was when the next time everybody heard it, which was when 'The Boys Are Back In Town' became a huge hit. And a huge hit for a rock band was Top 20 because you were fighting 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon' and the likes of. And anything from 'Radar Love' by GOLDEN EARRING, THIN LIZZY, ARGENT, 'God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You' infiltrated Top 40. But with LIZZY, it's almost like the singles are accidental. I don't think they ever set out to be a pop band; it was just something they just drifted into being one. By then, I was 16 and I was starting to go to gigs, so I saw the classic lineup — not on that particular tour, because I didn't see them until the 'Johnny The Fox' album, which would've been '77."

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