The original 1976 UK single release featured album track "Emerald" as a B-side, although in some territories "Jailbreak" was chosen. The single was remixed and re-released in several formats in March 1991, after the success of the "Dedication" single, reaching No. 63 in the UK. The 12" EP featured the extra tracks "Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed", "Black Boys on the Corner" and a live version of "Me and the Boys". There are many theories regarding the inspiration behind "The Boys Are Back in Town", although none has been verified.
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At the 2012 Republican National Convention the song was used to introduce Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan on stage. This caused controversy as the use was unauthorised, and both Lynott's mother, Philomena Lynott, and Thin Lizzy lead guitarist Scott Gorham criticised its use, citing that Lynott would have objected to Mitt Romney's anti-gay and pro-rich policies and would never have used his music to endorse politicians.
It is featured on the soundtrack for the 2013 video game Saints Row IV, and can be heard on the in-game radio station The Mix 107.77.