The Boys Are Back in Town

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This article is about the Thin Lizzy song. For other uses, see The Boys Are Back in Town (disambiguation).
"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"
Released April 17, 1976
1991 (re-release)
Format 7", 12", CS, Picture disc
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 4:29 (Album version)
4:53 (Full version)
3:11 (Single version)
Label Vertigo
Writer(s) Phil Lynott
Producer(s) John Alcock

"The Boys Are Back in Town" is a single from Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy. The song was originally released in 1976 on their album Jailbreak.


The lyrics follow a group of wild-eyed boys who have just returned to town[1] after having been away from town. The song begins with the boys having returned that very day to the place that they once were but hadn't been for some time. Upon returning to titular town, the eponymous boys ask the whereabouts of an unknown figure (possibly the audience) which the narrator designates as 'you'. Soon, the boys discover this 'you' has been busy downtown driving the old men crazy. The old men are an undefined group but are separated distinctly from the boys on account of being old, not boys, and presumably having stayed in town.

The narrator's interest then turns to a 'chick' remembered from an old party. This unnamed woman was apparently notable for her dancing. The narrator recounts an incident that occurred at Johnny's place where the woman who loved to dance slapped Johnny in his face, presumably for not appreciating her dancing or perhaps appreciating it too much. These verses seem unrelated to the return of the boys.[citation needed]

The next Friday night the boys will be heading down to Dino's Bar and Grill. The narrator is predicting heavy drinking and violence; but, cautions the listener against interfering.[2] The jukebox in the corner of the bar and grill will be playing the favorite song of the narrator.

The song ends with the narrator lamenting that the nights are getting warmer and soon summer will return, like the boys themselves have returned.[3]


It was given 499th position among the 2004 Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, though it was not included in the 2010 update.[4] Rolling Stone praised lead singer Phil Lynott's "Gaelic soul" and called the "twin-guitar lead by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson" used "crucial to the song's success".[5] The song is played at most Irish Rugby matches.[6] In March 2005, Q magazine placed "The Boys Are Back in Town" at No. 38 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[7]


Single UK US IRL
"The Boys Are Back in Town" (1976) 8[6] 12[5] 1[6]
"The Boys Are Back in Town" (1991 reissue) 63[8] 16[9]

Single release information[edit]

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.[8] 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.[10]

Cover versions[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]


External links[edit]