The Boys Are Back in Town
|"The Boys Are Back in Town"|
1991 Re-release UK 7" single
|Single by Thin Lizzy|
|from the album Jailbreak|
|B-side||"Emerald", "Jailbreak" or "Sarah"|
April 17, 1976|
June 23, 1991 (re-release)
|Format||7", 12", CS, Picture disc|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock|
4:29 (Album version)|
4:53 (Full version)
3:11 (Single version)
|Thin Lizzy singles chronology|
"It was 1976 and we were touring America," recalled Scott Gorham. "Jailbreak wasn't shifting and we weren't selling any tickets – but there we were, gigging around… The manager came in and told us, 'Well guys, it looks like you have a hit record'… Our response was, 'Wow! Which song are you talking about?' When he replied, 'The Boys Are Back in Town', it was a case of "Really?" We'd demoed maybe 15 songs and 'The Boys Are Back in Town' wasn't among the ten that we chose for the album, which in some ways made it a double surprise. We owe it all to two DJs in Louisville, Kentucky. They fell in love with the fucking song and played it incessantly until other stations in the surrounding area picked up on it… Had that song not kickstarted the sales of the album, then the band was over."
It was given 499th position among the 2004 Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, though was not included in the 2010 update. Rolling Stone praised lead singer Phil Lynott's "Gaelic soul" and said the "twin-guitar lead by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson" was "crucial to the song's success". The song is played at most Irish Rugby matches, and has appeared in numerous commercials, television shows, feature films and television shows. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "The Boys Are Back in Town" at No. 38 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song won a 1976 NME Award for Best Single.
As 2017, the single has sold 200´000 copies in the UK and has been certified silver by BPI.
|Chart (1991 reissue)||Peak|
Single release information
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. One theory is that it is about the Quality Street Gang.
2012 RNC use
At the 2012 Republican National Convention, the song was used to introduce Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan on stage. This unauthorized use of the song caused controversy. Both Lynott's mother, Philomena Lynott, and Thin Lizzy lead guitarist Scott Gorham criticised its use, suggesting that Lynott would not have wanted his music used for any political use, including endorsing politicians, and furthermore would likely have objected to the policies of Ryan and his running mate Mitt Romney.
In other media
The song has been used in numerous feature films, TV shows and video games, including Wayne's World, Dazed and Confused, Josie and the Pussycats, Sid and Nancy, This Is Spinal Tap, Airheads, Spaceballs, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Dude, Where's My Car?, Empire Records, High Fidelity, Rock Star, The Rocker, The Full Monty, The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, Idiocracy, That '70s Show, Flushed Away, Chicken Little, Toy Story 3, American Dad, Rock Band 3, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
- Barton, Geoff, Dome, Malcolm, Kendall, Jo, Ling, Dave: "The night I set Phil Lynott's todger on fire and other stories"; Classic Rock #219, February 2016, p55
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500)". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009.
- "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Comic Relief does Fame Academy - Home". BBC. 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Irish Charts - Thin Lizzy". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "The Boys Are Back in Town (1991) Record details". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Bailie, Stuart – Jailbreak album sleeve notes
- "Phil Lynott's mother recalls exciting days in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- McDonald, Henry (3 September 2012). "Phil Lynott's mother objects to Mitt Romney using Thin Lizzy's music". The Guardian.
- "Scott Gorham hits out at Mitt Romney's use of 'The Boys Are Back In Town' | Music | News". Hot Press. Retrieved 2016-07-27.