Black Rose: A Rock Legend

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Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Cover art by Jim Fitzpatrick
Studio album by
Released13 April 1979
RecordedDecember 1978 – February 1979
StudioPathé Marconi EMI Studios, Paris, France,
Good Earth Studios and Morgan Studios, London, UK[1]
Mercury (Canada)
Warner Bros. (US)
ProducerTony Visconti and Thin Lizzy,
Tony Visconti and Phil Lynott (on "With Love")
Thin Lizzy chronology
Bad Reputation
Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Singles from Black Rose: A Rock Legend
  1. "Waiting for an Alibi"
    Released: 23 February 1979
  2. "Do Anything You Want To"
    Released: 8 June 1979
  3. "Got to Give It Up"
    Released: September 1979 (US)[2]
  4. "Sarah"
    Released: September 1979 (UK)[3]

Black Rose: A Rock Legend is the ninth studio album by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. Released in 1979, it has been described as one of the band's "greatest, most successful albums".[4] It was the first time that blues rock guitarist Gary Moore remained in Thin Lizzy long enough to record an album—after previous brief stints in 1974 and 1977 with the band. The album peaked at No. 2 on the UK charts--[5] making it the band's highest-charting album in the UK. It was their fourth consecutive album to be certified Gold by the BPI.


Black Rose included the second song Phil Lynott wrote about a member of his family titled "Sarah", the first song by this name having appeared on 1972's Shades of a Blue Orphanage, written about his grandmother, also named Sarah. The song on Black Rose is about his new-born daughter.

The last track "Róisín Dubh", consists of traditional songs, all arranged by Lynott and Moore, as well as many original parts. The song "Will You Go Lassie, Go" (also known as "Wild Mountain Thyme") is sometimes mistakenly credited as a traditional song but was in fact written by William McPeake and first recorded by Francis McPeake. It is credited on the album to "F. McPeak."

At least two of the songs - "Waiting for an Alibi" and "S & M" - were debuted on the early summer 1978 dates before Brian Robertson's departure from the band.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal10/10[7]
Smash Hits6/10[8]

In a contemporary favourable review for the Irish magazine Hot Press Dermot Stokes remarked: "Black Rose marks no major departure" from Thin Lizzy's "crystallised" imagery and sound, although "a poppier-feel insinuates itself here and there--seemingly by design". However, he was dubious about the rosy vision of Ireland offered in the title track and wondered whether the band had lost contact with the real life of their country.[9] Writing in Smash Hits Red Starr stated that the album: "lacked memorable melodies" and that "the blend of traditional tunes in the title track is an unholy mess." Starr acknowledged that fans of the band would be happy with "the reworking of their familiar hard rock style" but went on to note that there was: "nothing new for the rest of us."[8]

In a modern review Greg Prato of AllMusic described the album as: "Thin Lizzy's last true classic album" and "their most musically varied, accomplished, and successful studio album." He praised Moore's presence as: "a perfect fit" and singled out "Do Anything You Want To", "Waiting for an Alibi" and "Sarah" as stand-out tracks. He also praised the title track and its "amazing, complex guitar solo."[6] In his Collectors Guide to Heavy Metal, Martin Popoff defined the album as "a charmed release" where "Waiting for an Alibi" and "Got to Give It Up" emerge as "two Thin Lizzy classics" and the title track "is on a plane more in league with fine literature than anything as base as rock 'n' roll."[7]

Track listings[edit]

Side one
1."Do Anything You Want To"Phil Lynott3:53
2."Toughest Street in Town"Scott Gorham, Lynott, Gary Moore4:01
3."S & M"Brian Downey, Lynott4:05
4."Waiting for an Alibi"Lynott3:30
5."Sarah"Lynott, Moore3:33
Side two
6."Got to Give It Up"Gorham, Lynott4:24
7."Get Out of Here"Lynott, Midge Ure3:37
8."With Love"Lynott4:38
9."Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend" Lynott, Moore
  • Traditional, arranged by Lynott and Moore
  • Francis McPeake
  • Traditional, arranged by Lynott and Moore
  • Traditional, arranged by Lynott and Moore
  • 7:06

    Deluxe edition[edit]

    A new remastered and expanded edition of Black Rose was released on 27 June 2011. This new edition is a 2-CD set—with the original album on disc one and bonus material on disc two.

    Disc two
    1."Just the Two of Us" (B-side of "Do Anything You Want To")Lynott, Gorham2:47
    2."A Night in the Life of a Blues Singer" (longer version)Lynott5:44
    3."Rockula (Rock Your Love)"Jimmy Bain4:16
    4."Don't Believe a Word" (slow version with Lynott and Moore vocals)Lynott3:18
    5."Toughest Street in Town" (different version) 3:58
    6."S&M" (Nassau sessions, 1978) 3:18
    7."Got to Give It Up" (Nassau sessions, 1978) 3:25
    8."Cold Black Night" (Nassau sessions, 1978)Moore3:37
    9."With Love" (Nassau sessions, 1978) 4:33
    10."Black Rose" (Nassau sessions, 1978) 4:04
    Total length:39:00


    • Waiting For An Alibi/With Love – 7" (1979)
    • Do Anything You Want To/Just The Two Of Us – 7" (1979)
    • Do Anything You Want To/S & M – 7" (1979)
    • Got To Give It Up/With Love – 7" (1979)
    • Sarah/Got To Give It Up – 7" (1979)
    • Star Trax EP: Jailbreak/Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed/The Boys Are Back In Town/Waiting For An Alibi – 7" (1979)


    Thin Lizzy
    Additional musicians



    Region Certification Certified units/sales
    United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Gold 100,000^

    ^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


    1. ^ a b Byrne, Alan (2006). Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune. London, UK: SAF Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-0946719815. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
    2. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 829. ISBN 9780862415419.
    3. ^ "Thin Lizzy singles UK cat no".
    4. ^ Dave Simpson (7 February 2011). "Gary Moore: the guitarist as gunslinger". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
    5. ^ "Thin Lizzy Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
    6. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Thin Lizzy - Black Rose review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
    7. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 280. ISBN 978-1894959025.
    8. ^ a b Starr, Red (17 May 1979). "Albums". Smash Hits. Vol. 1, no. 12. p. 25.
    9. ^ Stokes, Dermot (3 May 1979). "Black Rose". Hot Press. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
    10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 19. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
    11. ^ " – Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
    12. ^ " – Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
    13. ^ " – Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
    14. ^ "Thin Lizzy | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
    15. ^ "Thin Lizzy Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
    16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Do Anything You Want To". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sarah". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
    22. ^ "British album certifications – Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend". British Phonographic Industry.