Nightlife is the fourth studio album by Irish band Thin Lizzy, released in 1974, and produced by Ron Nevison and Phil Lynott. The album cover shows a panther-like creature in a city scene, and the panther was intended to represent Lynott. Some reissue CDs, and occasionally other sources, spell the album title as Night Life, the same as the song title. However the original album title is Nightlife.
The song “Philomena” was written for Lynott’s mother. “Its Only Money” was re-recorded 35 years later by guitarist Brian Robertson on his 2011 solo album Diamonds and Dirt.
Phil was such a charismatic person with such a unique one & only voice for Thin Lizzy.
Thin Lizzy Nightlife
Label: Vertigo 6360 116
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Hard Rock
A1 She Knows 5:13 Written-By Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham
A2 Night Life 3:35
A3 Its Only Money 2:47 The most underrated riff from one of the most underrated songs from maybe the most underrated rock band from all times. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey mentioned his 10 favourite Thin Lizzy songs and has this to say on It’s Only Money “It’s from the Nightlife album, the first one with Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham, and I love the groove on it. It was a spontaneous thing that came up in rehearsal: Phil came up with the tempo, and it’s one of those tunes that’s just great to play. I still love listening to it”.
A4 Still In Love With You 5:40
A5 Frankie Carroll 2:02
B1 Showdown 4:30
B2 Banshee 1:25
B3 Philomena 3:47
B4 Sha-La-La 3:47 Written-By Brian Downey, Phil Lynott
B5 Dear Heart 4:50
Bass, Vocals, Guitar, Producer, Written-By Phil Lynott
Design [Sleeve Design Back] Dave And Alan Field
Design [Sleeve Design Front] Jim Fitzpatrick
Drums, Percussion Brian Downey
Guitar Brian Robertson, Gary Moore (tracks: A4)
Guitar, Vocals Scott Gorham
Keyboards Jean Roussell* (tracks: A1, A5, B5)
Mastered By Arnie Acosta
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By Ron Nevinson
Recorded By Ted Sharp
Strings Jimmy Horrowitz* (tracks: A1, A5, B5)
Vocals Frankie Miller (tracks: A4)
Cut at the Mastering Lab, Los Angeles.
All selections published by R.S.O. Publishing Inc. (ASCAP).
Markted by Phonogram (p) 1974 Phonogram Ltd.
Made in England
American metal band Slough Feg covered “Sha La La” on a 2006 split with Bible of the Devil, and again on their 2011 live album Made in Poland.
Concrete Blonde covered “Its Only Money” on their 1989 album Free
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described Nightlife as an “underrated gem of a record”, but a “complete anomaly within their catalog”… “a subdued, soulful record, smooth in ways that Thin Lizzy never were before and rarely were afterwards”. He singles out “She Knows” as “gently propulsive, [and] utterly addictive”, but adds that there are “still moments of tough, primal rock ‘n’ roll”, such as “Its Only Money” and “Sha La La”
Still In Love With Lizzy
I personally like Lizzy (and Lynott’s solo stuff) most when they’re soulful and melodic. ‘Still In Love With You’ is an achingly beautiful ballad of lost love, with Gary Moore’s solos reaching lyrical peaks of incredible beauty (the chordal voicing of the rhythm guitar is completely sublime too), and Lynott dueting with the great blue eyed soul singer Frankie Miller to great effect. There’s even some congas on the fadeout, fantastic! Even if the rest of this album was rubbish (and of course it’s not, it’s superb!), this one song would easily justify the price of purchase.
With touches of Jazz, and buckets full of Soul, this is Lizzy (and Lynott) at their very best, proving that they were much more than just a brilliant Rock band.
The seeds of greatness are set
When I first bought this album back in 1974 I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. This was the first outing featuring the twin guitar sound of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham so I expected something different, but I was surprised at how mellow it was. Ok so the band had changed direction before. In the Eric Bell era they went from a folk sound on the first two albums, to a heavier raw sound on Vagabonds so I guess I was anticipating hard rock here, but although it does contain a couple of heavier songs in Sha-La-La and Its Only Money, the guitars are played down somewhat with strings featuring on the title track and Dear Heart. This may have been due to the production of Ron Nevison which the band was allegedly unhappy with. There are also, what appears to be, a couple of fillers in Frankie Carroll and the instrumental Banshee. Don’t let that put you off however, as there are still some great tracks with excellent guitar harmonies in She Knows, Philomena and Showdown. But what elevates this album to five stars for me is the beautiful Still in Love with You. The live version has received greater acclaim (this is also brilliant incidentally), but I still love the studio version. It features Gary Moore on guitar and Brian Robertson apparently refused to re-record it, as he thought it couldn’t be bettered. I have to say I’m inclined to agree.