Phil Lynott: an epitaph
The following article was Bill Graham's epitaph to Philip and first appeared in Hot Press Magazine on January 30 1986.
Bill Graham, 09 Aug 2006
His last date was standing room only. As three priests celebrated Philip Lynott's funeral Mass, Howth's Church of the Assumption, where he regularly brought his daughters Sara and Cathleen for Sunday Mass, was jammed by mourners numbed by the knowledge that there could be no more "Knowwarrimean"!.
And later, when he was buried in St.Fintan's cemetery, close to the Sutton shoreline, on this bright but bitingly blustery day, as many as 300 cars parked along the sides of the road slanting up to the Hill of Howth.
The stars were there, of course: Bob Geldof and Bono and Larry Mullen, whose groups had supported Thin Lizzy at Irish festivals and benefited from Philip Lynott's canny advice and ever-available encouragement, as well as others like Paul Brady and Maire Ni Bhraonain, Charles Haughey and his daughter, Eimear slipped quietly and self effacingly into a stall.
Yet perhaps Charles Mallen in the Sunday Independent had the best line when he wrote of 'the famous, the fans and the fishermen', for the tributes of those others - the vast majority in the church, the unmentioned non-celebrities, the quietly grieving fans and those who'd known him, around Howth - should not be forgotten either.
It is not a time to pry into the sorrow of his family. what I most recall is the visible distress of his earliest Dublin friends, colleagues, and contemporaries. You could see the pain etched on the faces of such as Brian Downey, photographer Tom Collins and those like publicist Terry O'Neill and Pogues manager Frank Murray, who'd worked with Phil from the beginning. Unable to approach the graveside throng, Brush Sheils mourned on the outskirts of the crowd. A week after the event, the death was still hitting many hard.
There were others like Ted Carroll, Lizzy's first manager, who later became the prototype for 'The Rocker' when he opened the Soho golden oldies "Rock On" stall and ex-Strangelys Tim Booth and Ivan Pawle, whose flat, actually named Orphanage, had been a crash pad for Phil in his earliest days. For one generation, there were still many golden memories left but also, not far beneath the surface, the sense that we shouldn't be meeting like this.
Then there were his international colleagues like Scott Gorham and John Sykes and wreaths from such as Rory Gallagher, Mama's Boys, Dire Straits and close friend Huey Lewis, whose own band Clover once supported Lizzy. But this was as lengthy a guest list as Lizzy ever had; mentioning everyone would be a near-endless litany. They knew who they were and why they were there.