Live and Dangerous

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Live and Dangerous
Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous.jpg
Live album by Thin Lizzy
Released 2 June 1978
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 1:16:27
Label Vertigo (UK)
Mercury (Canada)
Warner Bros. (US)
Producer Thin Lizzy and Tony Visconti
Thin Lizzy chronology
Bad Reputation
Live and Dangerous
Black Rose: A Rock Legend

Live and Dangerous is a live double album by the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, released in June 1978. It was recorded in London in 1976, and Philadelphia and Toronto in 1977, with further production in Paris. It was also the last Thin Lizzy album to feature guitarist Brian Robertson,[a] who left the band shortly after its release.

The band decided to release a live album after their producer Tony Visconti did not have enough time to work on a full studio session. The group listened through various archive recordings from earlier tours and compiled the album from the best versions. Various studio overdubs were made to the live recordings during early 1978 in Paris; exactly how much of the album is overdubbed has been a contentious topic since its release. The album reached No. 2 in the UK album charts, ultimately selling over half a million copies. It has continued to attract critical acclaim and it has appeared in several lists of the greatest live albums of all time.


Thin Lizzy live on the Bad Reputation tour in 1977, during which concerts at Philadelphia and Toronto were recorded for the album.

By the mid-1970s, Thin Lizzy had stabilised around founding members, lead singer and bassist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey, alongside guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. The band had found commercial success with several hit singles and developed a strong live following, including headlining the Reading Festival. Robertson had briefly left the band in 1977 but subsequently returned.[2] The group had planned to make a new studio album at the start of 1978. Working with producer Tony Visconti, Thin Lizzy retained commercial success with the album Bad Reputation, and the group wanted to work with him again. However, Visconti had a very tight schedule and had committed to producing several albums for other artists, so Lynott suggested instead that they spend two weeks together compiling a live album from earlier recordings.[3]

The band and Visconti listened to over 30 hours of archive recordings, looking for the best performances to release.[3] The album sleeve notes credit two concerts as the source of the album – Hammersmith Odeon, London, England on 14 November 1976 (as part of the tour for Johnny the Fox, released earlier that year), and Seneca College Fieldhouse, Don Mills, Toronto, Canada on 28 October 1977 (as part of the tour for Bad Reputation).[1] Visconti later revealed that shows at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia on 20 and 21 October 1977, a week earlier than the Toronto gig, had also been recorded.[4] The band had listened back to the Hammersmith tapes shortly after recording and agreed that the performances sounded better than the studio versions.[5] Thin Lizzy biographer Mark Putterford believes the majority of recordings on the finished album are from the Hammersmith show.[6] Visconti later said the performance of "Southbound" came from a soundcheck before one of the Philadelphia gigs, with the audience reaction dubbed in from another song.[7]

On this album, the band segues immediately from "Cowboy Song" into "The Boys Are Back in Town", on the line "a cowboy's life is the life for me" – the last chord of the former was the first of the latter, although their studio versions were recorded as separate songs.[8] This segue between the two tracks remained a staple of the band's setlist for the rest of their career, and examples can be found on other live releases. The band had rearranged "Still in Love with You" to be slower and more emotional than the original studio version, and the version recorded on Live and Dangerous was considered by Putterford to be the highlight of Lynott's musical career.[6]

To promote the album, the group filmed a gig at the Rainbow Theatre, London on 29 March 1978 for a television broadcast. However, this was cancelled and the footage went unaired.[7]


"We are a very loud band ... how are you going to replace my guitar when it's so loud that it's going to bleed all over the bloody drum kit?"

Brian Robertson countering claims that the album is mostly overdubbed[9]

The album was mixed and overdubbed at Studio Des Dames, Paris in January 1978.[1][10] All sources agree that overdubbing took place on Live and Dangerous, although there is considerable disagreement about the extent of overdubs used. According to Visconti, the album was "75% recorded in the studio" with only the drums and audience noise remaining from the original live recordings.[3][11] Visconti later said the overdubs and production were essential in order that the listener could hear a professional sounding band.[6] He claims to have created some audience sounds from a keyboard-triggered tape loop in a similar manner to a Mellotron or sampling keyboard. Nevertheless, Visconti was happy with the production and believes the end result sounds authentic.[3]

However, manager Chris O'Donnell said the album was 75% live, with overdubs restricted to backing vocals and a few guitar solos to "clean the sound up".[6] Lynott said that there were a few necessary overdubs, but "anything else would have ruined the atmosphere on those recordings and made a mockery of putting out a live album".[12] Robertson has been particularly critical over Visconti's view. He has said the album is almost all live, and the sound levels on stage would make overdubbing impossible due to the lack of acoustic separation between instruments. He claims a recording of "Still In Love With You", featuring a guitar solo he felt was better than the one at the gig that was eventually released, could not be used due to phaser noise on the bass. From this, he concluded that if the bass could not be overdubbed, nothing else could either.[13]

O'Donnell hired Chalkie Davies, a photographer for New Musical Express for two weeks to photograph the band on a US tour in early 1978 in order to capture enough pictures suitable for the album artwork. The front cover, featuring Lynott in the foreground, was originally supposed to be the back cover as the group wanted equal coverage of all members. O'Donnell disagreed and reversed the front and back photographs at the last minute. The album had a working title of Thin Lizzy Live but Lynott decided that Live and Dangerous was better.[14]

The record sleeve includes a montage photograph in the studio consisting of a mirror, straw, razor blade and a rolled up five pound note (as an overt reference to cocaine consumption). Lynott insisted on adding the picture over the rest of the band's objections.[15]


Live and Dangerous was released as a double album on 2 June 1978. In the UK, it was released on Vertigo Records and reached a high of No. 2 in the UK album charts, held from the top spot by the Grease soundtrack album. It remained in the charts for 62 weeks[16] and eventually sold 600,000 copies.[17] It was also the first album to be released by Warner Bros. Records in America after the band left Mercury Records in that area. A single from the album, "Rosalie / Cowgirl's Song" was released in April and reached No. 20 in the UK single charts.[18]

The band began touring to promote the album, but after a one-off gig in Ibiza, Lynott and Robertson had an acrimonious argument. Robertson subsequently quit Thin Lizzy permanently to form Wild Horses with former Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain. He was replaced by a returning Gary Moore, who had already been a band member in 1974 and 1977.[19]

The album was reissued on CD in 1989.[20] The March 1978 footage from the Rainbow was released as a 60-minute edit on video,[21] while complete footage was released on DVD in 2007, with other group performances including a show from their farewell tour on 26 January 1983, and four Top of the Pops clips from the 1970s.[22]

In 2009, the live album Still Dangerous was released, which features material from the 20 October 1977 gig at Philadelphia that was used for some of Live and Dangerous. There is some overlap of tracks between the two albums, though Still Dangerous is completely live with no overdubs.[23]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[24]
Classic Rock 10/10 stars[25]
Sputnikmusic 5.0/5 stars[26]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described the album as "one of the best double live LPs of the 70s", and "a true live classic", containing more energy and power than the original albums. He also praised the "expert song selection".[24] Stuart Bailie in his review for Classic Rock magazine praised the quality of the music and played down rumours of studio overdubbing.[25]

Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 50 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". Reviewer Tim Chester declared the album one of the best despite the alleged overdubs, which he dismissed as irrelevant.[27]

The album continues to attract critical praise. In 2010 Live and Dangerous was ranked number one in's The Greatest Live Album Top 40.[28] The following year, the British music magazine NME ranked Live and Dangerous at No. 1 in its 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.[29] In 2015, Rolling Stone put the album at No. 46 in its list of the greatest live albums.[9] The album is included in the 2011 revision of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[30]

Track listing[edit]

Side 1
  1. "Jailbreak" (Phil Lynott) – 4:31
  2. "Emerald" (Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, Lynott, Brian Robertson) – 4:18
  3. "Southbound" (Lynott) – 4:44
  4. "Rosalie / Cowgirl's Song" (Bob Seger/Downey, Lynott) – 4:00
Side 2
  1. "Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)" (Lynott) – 3:50
  2. "Massacre" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott) – 2:46
  3. "Still in Love with You" (Lynott) – 7:40
  4. "Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott) – 3:32
Side 3
  1. "Cowboy Song" (Downey, Lynott) – 4:40
  2. "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Lynott) – 4:30
  3. "Don't Believe a Word" (Lynott) – 2:05
  4. "Warriors" (Gorham, Lynott) – 3:52
  5. "Are You Ready" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott, Robertson) – 2:40
Side 4
  1. "Suicide" (Lynott) – 5:00
  2. "Sha La La" (Downey, Lynott) – 4:18
  3. "Baby Drives Me Crazy" (Downey, Gorham, Lynott, Robertson) – 6:36
  4. "The Rocker" (Eric Bell, Downey, Lynott) – 3:58


  • "Rosalie/Cowgirl's Song"/"Me and the Boys" – Released: 28 April 1978

Remastered edition[edit]

A new remastered and expanded version of Live And Dangerous was released in 2011. As well as the full album, remastered by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham, it featured two additional tracks that were not used, and a DVD with the Rainbow Theatre footage. The sleeve notes were written by Malcolm Dome and included a debate of exactly how much of the album was live, and what was overdubbed.[31][32]

CD extra tracks[edit]

  1. Opium Trail (Downey, Gorham, Lynott)
  2. Bad Reputation (Downey, Gorham, Lynott)


  1. "Introduction"/"Rosalie"
  2. "The Boys Are Back in Town"
  3. "Emerald"
  4. "Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)"
  5. "Massacre"
  6. "Still in Love with You"
  7. "Don't Believe a Word"
  8. "Are You Ready"
  9. "Sha La La"
  10. "Baby Drives Me Crazy"
  11. "Finale"/"Me and the Boys"



  • John Earle – saxophone on "Dancing in the Moonlight"
  • Huey Lewis (as "Bluesey Huey Lewis") – harmonica on "Baby Drives Me Crazy"[1][b]

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Tony Visconti - producer
  • Will Reid Dick, Rob O'Brien - engineering
  • Thin Lizzy, Chalkie Davies - cover design
  • Chalkie Davies - photography
  • Sutton Cooper - artwork
  • Recording in England - Maison Rouge Mobile
  • Recording in Toronto - Record Plany Mobile
  • Mixing - De Dames Studio, Paris



  1. ^ The live album Life, released in 1984, features Robertson as a guest artist.
  2. ^ At the time of the recording, John "Irish" Earle was in Graham Parker & the Rumour, and Huey Lewis was in Clover. Both of these groups were support acts for the tours that made up this album.


  1. ^ a b c d Live And Dangerous (Media notes). Thin Lizzy. Phonogram. 1978. 6641 807. 
  2. ^ Wright, Chris. The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 1073. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Live and Dangerous". Tony Visconti (official site). Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 120.
  5. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 150.
  6. ^ a b c d Putterford 1994, p. 151.
  7. ^ a b Byrne 2006, p. 121.
  8. ^ Putterford 1994, pp. 151–152.
  9. ^ a b "50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time : 46 Thin Lizzy, 'Live and Dangerous'". Rolling Stone. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 148.
  11. ^ "Mixing A Live Recording". Sound on Sound. July 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Thin Lizzy : Live and Dangerous". Metal Archives. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Blackett, Matt (7 February 2012). "Brian Robertson Puts the Live Back in Live and Dangerous". Guitar Player. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 152.
  15. ^ Bailie 1996, p. 131.
  16. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 122.
  17. ^ Dimery 2011, p. 1142.
  18. ^ Byrne 2006, pp. 122–3.
  19. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 123.
  20. ^ "Live and Dangerous : Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Byrne 2006, pp. 121–2.
  22. ^ "Live and Dangerous (DVD)". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  23. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Thin Lizzy : Still Dangerous: Live at Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Live and Dangerous review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Bailie, Stuart (February 2011). "Thin Lizzy – Reissues". Classic Rock. 154. London, UK: Future plc. p. 88. 
  26. ^ g, manos (23 July 2014). "Review: CD Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous Album". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  27. ^ Wall, Mick (21 January 1989). "Thin Lizzy 'Live and Dangerous'". Kerrang!. 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  28. ^ "The Greatest Live Album of All Time | Polls | Music". Planet Rock. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  29. ^ "The 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. 
  30. ^ Dimery 2011, p. 1141.
  31. ^ "Thin Lizzy Live & Dangerous [Bonus DVD] [Bonus Tracks]". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  32. ^ Live and Dangerous (Media notes). Universal / Mercury. 2011. 5332073. 


  • Bailie, Stuart (1996). Thin Lizzy : the authorised biography. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-0384-3. 
  • Byrne, Alan (2006). Thin Lizzy. SAF Publishing. ISBN 978-0-946719-81-5. 
  • Dimery, Robert (2011). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette. ISBN 978-1-84403-714-8. 
  • Putterford, Mark (1994). Philip Lynott: The Rocker. Castle Communications. ISBN 1-898141-50-9. 

External links[edit]