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"|
|Released||April 17, 1976
|Format||7", 12", CS, Picture disc|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock|
|Length||4:29 (Album version)
4:53 (Full version)
3:11 (Single version)
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. 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". The song is played at most Irish Rugby matches. 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 Boys Are Back in Town" (1976)||8||12||1|
|"The Boys Are Back in Town" (1991 reissue)||63||16|
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.
||This section contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. (December 2012)|
- Bon Jovi have covered the song live during concerts and have used it as a B-Side. The studio recording appeared on the compilation album Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell which featured covers of songs by artists/groups who had been touched by drug or alcohol abuse a la Phil Lynott. Also featured were Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Skid Row, Cinderella, and Gorky Park. The album was released in 1989 by Mercury/PolyGram Records and is now hard to find.
- The Rumble Strips covered the song in 2007 as a B-side to "Girls and Boys in Love"
- The alternative rock band Everclear covered this song on the Detroit Rock City soundtrack.
- The Cardigans have covered the song as a B-side to "Hey! Get Out of My Way."
- Sweet Baboo has covered this song as part of his Marc Riley BBC Sessions album
- Michael Hayes, a member of the Fabulous Freebirds wrestling clique, had a brief rock career, during which he covered the song on his album Off The Streets
- Chinchilla covered that song on The Last Millennium album (2002)
- Metalcore band Atreyu covered this song on their EP Covers of the Damned, though it only featured certain members of the band along with members of the bands that they have toured with
- Happy Mondays covered the song for their 1999 Greatest Hits compilation.
- A cover by Belle & Sebastian is featured on The BBC Sessions.
- The song was covered by Funeral For A Friend on Kerrang's Higher Voltage!: Another Brief History of Rock in 2007.
- Reggie Watts covered the song on Conan on 1 November 2011.
- The Mountain Goats have covered the song live.
- Punk/Indie rock band Titus Andronicus have covered the song live; the band included one of these live covers on their mixtape, Titus Andronicus LLC Mixtape Vol 1.
- Huey Lewis and The News, who worked with and were close to Phil Lynott, have performed this track live on many occasions.
- Wilco opened their first "all request" concert at the 2013 Solid Sound Festival.
The lyrics follow a group of wild-eyed boys who have just returned to town 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.
The next Friday night the boys will be heading down to Dino's Bar and Grill, where drink will flow and blood will spill. If they want to fight, you better let them. 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.
Appearances in other media
- It is heard in the 1990 movie Navy SEALs with Charlie Sheen. While the SEAL Team was "misbehaving" at a golf course the song was used to refer to the unit having returned to Norfolk, VA from a foreign deployment.
- It was used in the trailer for the 1995 Disney/Pixar movie Toy Story and its two sequels. The tagline for the second film was a parody of the title: "The Toys are back in town!"
- A cover of the song used on the UK TV show Gladiators, as the entrance theme for the male Gladiators for the 'Powerball' event.
- It was used in promos for The Amazing Race: All-Stars and again for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business on CBS.
- Was used in a special episode of the ABC reality show Wife Swap in which husbands traded places.
- It is heard in a 2012 TV commercial for Chase's Sapphire credit card.
- It is played by a garage band in a 2015 TV commercial for Southwest Airlines.
- It is heard in Sylvester Stallone and David Callaham movie The Expendables in the credits scene.
- It is heard in the Heath Ledger film A Knight's Tale
- The playable song is featured in the 2009 music game Guitar Hero: Metallica.
- It is heard & sung by the cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in the second episode of the sixth season.
- 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.
- The song played at the London 2012 Olympics, after the final of the Men's Team Sprint.
- It is used at the King Power Stadium every matchday, as the Leicester City players emerge for their pre-match warm up
- The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone
- The Boys Are Back in Town : Rolling Stone
- BBC - Comic Relief does Fame Academy - Home
- Q lists - page3
- "The Boys Are Back in Town (1991) Record details". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Irish Charts - Thin Lizzy". www.irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Bailie, Stuart – Jailbreak album sleeve notes
- McDonald, Henry (3 September 2012). "Phil Lynott's mother objects to Mitt Romney using Thin Lizzy's music". The Guardian.