The Irish Rover: Phil Lynott and the Search for Identity

Ohagan, Lauren (2021). The Irish Rover: Phil Lynott and the Search for Identity. Popular Music and Society, 44(1) pp. 26–48.



Phil Lynott, the lead singer of the rock band Thin Lizzy, was a complex character. An illegitimate black child who grew up in a working-class, Catholic district of Dublin, Ireland in the 1950s, Lynott spent his life searching for a sense of belonging, something which he explored through rock and roll. This study uses Lynott’s song lyrics to investigate his quest for identity. In particular, it identifies the many recurring themes and archetypes in his music that offered multifaceted self-portraits of his internal conflict between being black, Irish, illegitimate, a rockstar, a Lothario, a son, a father, and a husband, all at the same time.

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