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Phil Lynott, from Dublin teenager to rock'n'roll burnout

Graeme Thomson’s account of the musician’s all-too-short life spent struggling against the odds packs a real emotional punch

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

Cowboy Song: The Authorised Biography of Phil Lynott Graeme Thomson

Constable, pp.362, £20, ISBN: 9781472121042

It’s often said that there are only seven basic plots in literature. When it comes to biographies of rock stars who died young, by contrast, there’s usually just the one: somebody mysteriously talented emerges from an unlikely background to achieve stardom, before being destroyed by drink, drugs and fame. Yet, as the film Amy proved last year, it’s a plot still capable of packing a real emotional punch — and, as Cowboy Song proves now, the life of Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy embodies it more vividly than most.

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