The Boys Are Back in Town

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"The Boys Are Back in Town"
1991 Re-release UK 7" single
Single by Thin Lizzy
from the album Jailbreak
B-side"Emerald" or "Jailbreak"
ReleasedApril 17, 1976
June 23, 1991 (re-release)
Length4:29 (album version)
4:53 (full version)
3:11 (single version)
LabelVertigo (UK)
Mercury (US)
Songwriter(s)Phil Lynott
Producer(s)John Alcock
Thin Lizzy singles chronology
"Wild One"
"The Boys Are Back in Town"

"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.


"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."[1]

It was given 499th position among the 2004 Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,[2] though was not included in the 2010 update. Rolling Stone praised lead singer and bassist Phil Lynott's "Gaelic soul" and said the "twin-guitar lead by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson" was "crucial to the song's success".[3] The song is played at most Irish Rugby matches,[4] and has appeared in numerous commercials, most recently in a 2019 ad for Applebee's, television shows, and feature films. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "The Boys Are Back in Town" at No. 38 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[5] The song won a 1976 NME Award for Best Single.[6] The song was used on various trailers for the Disney Pixar films Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and Rick and Morty’s 4th season, and is also heard the 1999 comedy film Detroit Rock City.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Gold 400,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Single release information[edit]

The original 1976 UK single release featured the 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.[11] 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.[16] One theory is that it is about the Quality Street Gang.[17]

2012 RNC use[edit]

At the 2012 Republican National Convention, the song was used to introduce Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan on stage. This unauthorised use of the song caused controversy. Both Lynott's mother, Philomena Lynott, and Thin Lizzy lead guitarist Gorham criticised its use, suggesting that Lynott would not have wanted his music used for any political purpose, including endorsing politicians, and furthermore would likely have objected to the policies of Ryan and his running mate Mitt Romney.[18][19]


  1. ^ 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, p. 55
  2. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1–500)". Rolling Stone. 9 December 2004. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009.
  3. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Comic Relief does Fame Academy – Home". BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  5. ^ " Magazine Lists". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  6. ^ "1976 – NME". 28 February 1976.
  7. ^ "Forum – 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  8. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly".
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ "Irish Charts – Thin Lizzy". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The Boys Are Back in Town (1991) Record details". Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976".
  14. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1976". Archived from the original on 20 October 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  16. ^ Bailie, Stuart – Jailbreak album sleeve notes
  17. ^ "Phil Lynott's mother recalls exciting days in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  18. ^ McDonald, Henry (3 September 2012). "Phil Lynott's mother objects to Mitt Romney using Thin Lizzy's music". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "Scott Gorham hits out at Mitt Romney's use of 'The Boys Are Back In Town' | Music | News". Hot Press. Retrieved 27 July 2016.

External links[edit]