- 17 Mar 23
The rock station that serves Dublin and surrounding counties carried out its “Shamrock Referendum” this week, with listeners and fan joining in to decide who are Ireland’s all-time legends. The Cranberries, Sinead O’Connor, Hozier and Aslan also featured prominently in the voting...
Thin Lizzy have been voted the best Irish band of all time in a St. Patrick’s Day poll of more than 10,000 music fans and listeners of Ireland’s Radio Nova. The Irish rock legends – whose charismatic lead singer Philip Lynott died in 1986 – beat off competition from numerous other acts, with U2 coming closest to claiming the top spot.
Others who featured prominently in Radio Nova’s ‘Shamrock Referendum’ included Dublin Northside heroes Aslan, Sinead O’Connor, The Cranberries, Ash, Snow Patrol and Hozier, amongst others.
Radio Nova is among the stations currently participating in Irish Music Month, a major partnership between Hot Press and 25 IBI stations, which guarantees a significant increase in the amount of Irish music being played on all 25 stations.
The "Shamrock Referendum" took place over four days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day 2023, with more than 10,000 Radio Nova listeners voting via text, WhatsApp and social media to choose the winner. Sixteen of the most famous artists and bands faced off in the tournament with heats and playoffs live on air over four days. The full list of artists that made it into the final 16 were The Boomtown Rats, Something Happens, Ash, The Coronas, U2, Horslips, Snow Patrol, Van Morrison. The Frames, Aslan, The Undertones, Hozier, The Pogues, Sinead O’Connor, The Coronas and Thin Lizzy. In the final run-off, Thin Lizzy claimed the top spot garnering 60.5% of votes compared to 39.5% voting for U2.
The winner was announced at 5pm on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.
Radio Nova is a rock station, focusing on guitar-based music, aiming to deliver a diet of "the greatest music of all-time" to listeners. It is one of the largest radio stations in the province of Leinster, broadcasting to Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow on FM and nationwide via smartphone, online and smart speaker. The station has 172,000 listeners as per the most recent JNLR Irish radio ratings.
“Competition was fierce, with so much passion for the various bands and artists across the week," presenter Matt Dempsey, who presided over the Grand Final live on-air on Radio Nova said after the result was announced, "and to have two monster bands like U2 and Thin Lizzy face off in the Grand Final today was nail-biting. We certainly felt the tension in the on-air studio, with literally hundreds of texts coming in in the last 10 minutes and more than 10,000 votes over the course of the week.”
Thin Lizzy were formed in Dublin and played their first gig in Cloghran School Hall early in 1970, playing to an audience of about 100 people and being paid £25. With a line-up of Philip Lynott (bass and vocals), Eric Bell (guitar) and Brian Downey, they scored their first big UK hit with the old Irish ballad ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ in 1973. The classic Lizzy line-up was the four-piece of Lynott and Downey with Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on twin-lead guitars – they recorded both the band's biggest ever single ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ and the legendary platinum-selling Live and Dangerous double live album, still widely regarded as one of the best live albums of all time.
For many, the band – in particular lead singer Philip Lynott – are the personification of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ireland. Their music continues to influence artists worldwide. Thin Lizzy's music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, poetry, soul music, psychedelic rock and Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal.
Thin Lizzy and, lead singer, Phil Lynott paved the way for Irish rock music in the 70’s, while still drawing from influences of Irish culture such as traditional Irish music. Philip Lynott’s lyrics, which drew heavily on his experiences in working-class Dublin were an essential element in the power of the band’s appeal. The band are strongly associated with the city of Dublin, with Phil Lynott himself immortalised in a bronze statue outside of the famous Dublin rock pub Bruxelles, just off Grafton Street in the centre of the city.
U2 have today released Songs of Surrender, their new album which revisits – and completely re-imagines – 40 classic U2 tracks spread across their hugely successful career of over 40 yers at the top of the rock 'n' roll game.
Main pic: Philip Lynott and Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy onstage at Slane Castle in 1981. Pic: Colm Henry / Hot Press Archive
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- 29 Dec 22